Jimmy Reid

I didn’t go out expecting to meet Jimmy Reid, after all he’s been dead for over a year, maybe longer. It was a cold but sunny day and I walked down the canal path into Dalmuir. My mind was on the next thing that I’d write and I’d already decided on a title ‘God Made Me Ugly for a Reason,’ an autobiographical look at my early upbringing. I’d already begun jotting down memories. I went into William Hills to put a football line on. I’m still not sure whether I’ve nothing in my pocket or £98, but will find out later. Dalmuir Library is a two minute walk from the bookies. I moseyed about and selected a few books. Before I left I wandered into a little side room that is usually used for local exhibitions. The door is always open, but there’s nobody ever in attendance and today was no exception. The pictures on the wall were photographs of kids that had made what looked like a polystyrene bust of Jimmy Reid. It was little more than a head, but the contours of his stocky body, moustache and lamb-chop sideburns were evident. There were also headphones and a projection onto the wall of things people has said about Jimmy Reid. He was famous of course, for leading, the UCS worker’s work-in when the Heath Government sent an axe-man to shut the yards, even though the order book was full. The image that is always played back is of Jimmy Reid speaking to the workers and telling them ‘There’ll be nae bevying,’ when the work-in starts. It was a short-term success. Most of the yards are closed now, but at the time they stayed open and Heath was succeeded by Thatcher. Oh dear. Oh dear. The ex-Communist Jimmy Reid went onto write a column for The Sun. Oh dear. Oh dear. Oh dear. I never met the man, but my mum’s sister Aunty Phyllis moved from a damp hovel in Kimberly Street into an altogether better class of Council house in Perth Crescent, the kind of house that local politicians and apparatchiks allocate themselves. She died in that house, but she never forgave Jimmy Reid for trying to charge her –with a family of six- for an old hall carpet he’d left behind and she’d flung onto the dump. So when I hear Jimmy Reid’s name now I just shake my head. The class of a man is what he does when the cameras are no longer rolling.

Comments

Was that the Shipyards Celtic? They closed our last shipyard last year. It's pretty sad. Though I know this was about Jimmy Reid-that's pretty sad too! We have a leading politician here who was a secretary in the Danish Communist Party - there has been a lot of polemics (can you say that?) a lot of talk since it was dissolved some years ago and he changed political parties. I believe he is a minister in the new Government now. The Sovjets paid him a fortune way back when. Of course there has been arguments in parliament spurred by the right wingers. Interesting stuff. But it is the past isn't it?

Hi Pia, Jimmy Reid was an early member of the communist party, and a trade union representative and activist during the Upper Clyde Shipbuilding sites during the early 70s. If you go on youtube you'll probably be able to spot him. His most famous war-cry was 'there'll be no bevvying'. I heard he was a bit of a drinker himself. Maybe I'm wrong. Doesn't really matter. He was a figurehead for that time. You'd have thought there was only one trade union rep and that was Jimmy Reid. The Sun which he wrote for is a right wing scab paper run by Murdoch. I'm not sure how he squared that with being an ex Sociailist/ Labour Party Supporter, SNP supporter. Don't get me wrong. I'd have sold out too...but nobody wants to buy me!

 

I used to be a member of the Communist party but swapped it for another left-wing which is now Gov. support party. I had no idea what I was doing most of the time-but I would never sell out- shame on you Celtic! Yeah I gathered the Sun was like that. yeah I know of a few politicians who have moved from left to right. I don't know why they do it? I couldn't even if I was active nowadays. I just couldn't. There's something about these conservative /rightwing politicians I just can't take but which they take very seriously- like their creamy smiles and there attitude of how cosy everything is. They're so damned self-righteous and well-groomed- they all wear matching skirts and jackets or dresses or ties and suits.They don't express themselves very intelligently. I like a good ,deep, intellectual bit of marxism/socialism dialectic discussion. What am I saying? I like politics to have fibre not to be wishy washy soup and easy solutions. But I definitely think our Labour Government has been making so many drastic cuts that I am not at all very enthusiastic about them. Essentially I don't know what I am talking about. Some Tradeunion leaders are the real stuff- otherwise it can be quite disconcerting. Some of them are Trade union carreerists. I like Lech Walesa from Poland. He's a bit of a hero from my time.

I have no shame Pia. but I do think it's a crying shame that taking money from poor people and giving it to rich people is a conservative philosophy of madness. Trickle down economics has been proved again and again to be so much bunkum it wouldn't even burn if you soaked it in parafin, yet...I have no shame, but am ashamed of such ignorance and blatant greed, sugar coated in a hateful philosophy of the common good.

 

That's what our Labour Gov is doing. Cutting unemployment benefits, not taxing the rich, cutting social services. Over 40,000 jobs in the public sector have been cut away the past few years. It is hard to see what good they have been doing lately. Nothing effective to ease the troubles of the poor and unemployed, only make them worse and harder. There has never been so many rich people in the world as there is now. In the middle of a recession. It's abomnible and perverted. You can really see the cleft between rich and poor nowadays. I can feel it personally, being poor with a very wealthy sister who is not willing to help out just once but refers me and my son to the social services who can't help us only loan us a small amount which we would never be able to pay back.

I don't like the sound of your sister. Scapegoating is as old as mankind. The idea of the feckless poor is probably older than that. Since the 1970s there has been a distinct right wing turn. With global warning, a growing world population and increased tribalism I'm thinking apocalypse now. But then again, that might just be writing Lonie. Your prospects aren't good Pia. It's no consolation that neither are mine.

 

I recall the Thatcher years, when I was a steelworker. She, with the help of American, McGregor decimated the steel industry after privatising them. I remember striking for I think, about three months. Luckily I was young then and living with my parents. We were in dispute with Scargill and the miners, as they would not back us up, but expected us to when they went on strike. Yes, the Tories have certainly ruined our industry and our nation. I agree, Pia about Lech Walesa. A true leader who should be immortalised. Shipbuilding also used to be rife on Teesside, Jack, and even though I have not heard of Jimmy Reid, he deserves praise, or does he? Shame on him. I suppose that I am fortunate that I retired at an early age with a healthy pension and redundancy pay out. I really do feel for the people struggling today, as this government is ruthless, only concerned about lining the pockets of the rich.

A certain irony there Hulsey. McGregor moved from steel to coal. Thatcher set a trend. We don't need industries. We're a service economy. Cue the growth of the banking sector selling products that only existed on spreadsheets. It's not as simple as that, but I fucking hate her anyway. I like that you've got a pension that you can live on and you're not blaze about it, but are thinking of others.

 

You educate me, C .. thanks xx

No you educate yourself. but you flatter me. thanks.