So it’s farewell to Jimmy Reid (1932–2010): socialist, trade unionist and self-taught, working-class intellectual. In 1971 Reid led the disciplined Upper Clyde Shipbuilders work-in which resulted in Ted Heath’s Tory government abandoning its plans to close the shipyards.
“There will be no hooliganism, no vandalism and no bevvying.”
A one-time member of the Communist Party who in 1979 left to join Labour, and subsequently the Scottish National Party in 2005, Jimmy Reid was a man of passion and integrity who rose through the ranks of the labour and trade union movement without compromising his principles for the sake of personal advancement. He never succeeded in entering the UK Parliament, but so what? Reid achieved more in his distinguished career than many left-wing MPs of whatever party.