I have been reading some comments which made me sad while at the same time they cheered me up. They concerned a man who used to be Jimmy Reid.
It seems that he was seen out canvassing for the SNP in Glasgow East, how far can someone fall ? how low can someone get ? I hear you ask, do you remember the guy who used to be Jimmy Reid ? I remember him well I was there at the time and I did all the marching and chanting along with the others. We had several people who were stars of the movement and Reid was the big star, Jimmy Airlie, was his superior but quieter. Reid was good, he could “talk with Kings and not lose the common touch” a product of the Scottish Communist Party and many of it’s fine members and working class educators and organisers, the right man at the right time.
He seemed to be never off the radio and television, never out of the papers but, somewhere along the line the shift took place, ever so slowly at first, so slowly in fact that even he would not have seen it, some did, quite simply he was beginning to become the story and the end was inevitable. He wasn’t the first and he won’t be the last to be seduced by fame and adulation, in 'jig time' he had left the CP and narrowly missed a seat in the commons standing in Dundee under the Labour ticket, by this time he was already despised by many former comrades. Seeing him on Parkinson left me with mixed feelings, the first time we cheered, after that his appearances brought embarrassment, he became show biz.
His deterioration was such that most people thought he was no longer with us, he didn’t get to the top and like many others he turned on former allies in his bitterness and now finds himself in the SNP, a party and a philosophy which was and should have remained anathema to him, he still loves the cameras and the interviews but the crowds behind are now looking at a curiosity and sniggering, from Internationalism to the narrowest nationalism is a demeaning journey but he was unable to stop the decline.
My first sentence stated how his appearance cheered me up so I must explain, it’s not because I revel in his present plight it’s because the SNP are clutching at straws by allowing him into the limelight, I take no joy in seeing him like this, a shell of a man who makes former comrades cross the road, he is more to be pitied than despised.
I remember the great Joe Luis the 'Brown Bomber' he finished up opening doors as a 'greeter' for visitors at Ceasars Palace Hotel.