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Losers

Ross McKibbin, 23 October 1986

The Politics of the UCS Work-In: Class Alliances and the Right to Work 
by John Foster and Charles Woolfson.
Lawrence and Wishart, 446 pp., £9.95, July 1986, 0 85315 663 8
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A Lost Left: Three Studies in Socialism and Nationalism 
by David Howell.
Manchester, 351 pp., £29.95, July 1986, 0 7190 1959 1
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The Miners’ Strike 1984-5: Loss without Limit 
by Martin Adeney and John Lloyd.
Routledge, 319 pp., £14.95, October 1986, 0 7102 0694 1
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Red Hill: A Mining Community 
by Tony Parker.
Heinemann, 196 pp., £9.95, October 1986, 0 434 57771 5
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Strike Free: New Industrial Relations in Britain 
by Philip Bassett.
Macmillan, 197 pp., £10.95, August 1986, 9780333418000
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... disaster that it is probably no longer even part of the folk memory. It is hard now to associate Jimmy Reid the benign television guide to the inhabited ruins of industrial Glasgow with the compelling CP shop-steward of 1971. Yet as Foster and Woolfson argue, the work-in was a definite moment in Scottish history and not just a symbol. The strength of ...

Wolves in the Drawing Room

Neal Ascherson: The SNP, 2 June 2011

... is about wasted lives, the strangled destinies of ordinary people. Last summer, I went to Jimmy Reid’s funeral in Govan. Billy Connolly, once an apprentice in the same shipyard, told a story about going for walks with Reid in Glasgow. ‘He’d point to a tower block and say: “Behind that window is a guy ...

Post-Bourgeois Man

Peter Jenkins, 1 October 1981

Arguments for Democracy 
by Tony Benn, edited by Chris Mullin.
Cape, 257 pp., £6.95, September 1981, 0 224 01878 7
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Manifesto 
by Francis Cripps, John Griffith, Frances Morrell, Jimmy Reid and Peter Townsend.
Pan, 224 pp., £1.95, September 1981, 0 330 26402 8
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... He has come a long way. Born the Hon. Anthony Wedgwood Benn, he inevitably became by public-school nickname ‘Wedgie’ and later, by his own socialist deed-poll, plain ‘Tony Benn’. Today he is more often referred to simply as Benn – a hard word spat out like ‘Lenin’. Benn puzzles and alarms people because he is at the same time frightfully English and frighteningly un-English ...

Pop your own abscess

Rory Scothorne: Definitions of Poverty, 22 February 2018

The New Poverty 
by Stephen Armstrong.
Verso, 242 pp., £12.99, October 2017, 978 1 78663 463 4
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Poverty Safari 
by Darren McGarvey.
Luath, 244 pp., £7.99, November 2017, 978 1 912147 03 8
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... so gay in public.’ Generations of working-class orators – McGarvey even quotes the late Jimmy Reid – would disagree. He also worries that the left conflates ‘legitimate concerns’ about immigration with racism. This is odd, given that the prevailing attitude of the left towards anti-immigration sentiment is, if anything, frighteningly ...

Show People

Hugh Barnes, 21 February 1985

So Much Love 
by Beryl Reid.
Hutchinson, 195 pp., £8.95, October 1984, 0 09 155730 5
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Knock wood 
by Candice Bergen.
Hamish Hamilton, 223 pp., £9.95, October 1984, 9780241113585
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... the time, they act out fictional lives. It’s nice work and reasonably well-paid. Also, if Beryl Reid and Candice Bergen are to be believed, they get to meet a regular mixture of super-rotters and superstars in far-flung corners of the world. But it must be devilishly frustrating. There are chat-shows, of course, and autobiographies (often complementary) to ...

Off with her head

John Lloyd, 24 November 1988

Office without Power: Diaries 1968-72 
by Tony Benn.
Hutchinson, 562 pp., £16.95, October 1988, 0 09 173647 1
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... as they occupied their yard in protest against redundancies, led by the charismatic Communist Jimmy Reid (now a columnist for the Sun). On a visit to Glasgow, in spite of a few reservations about supporting an illegal occupation, he told the workers that ‘I supported them 100 per cent, it was the stuff of which great events were made and I gave ...

He knew he was right

John Lloyd, 10 March 1994

Scargill: The Unauthorised Biography 
by Paul Routledge.
HarperCollins, 296 pp., £16.99, September 1993, 0 300 05365 7
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... for the Daily Worker, remembers him as ‘very bright, always articulate’. Others, like Jimmy Reid, the Clydeside shipworkers’ leader, a hostile colleague on the YCL executive, could see no ‘great potential, politically’. Later, Scargill boasted that he had increased the YCL’s membership tenfold. During the strike itself, he would claim ...

Big Man Walking

Neal Ascherson: Gorbachev’s Dispensation, 14 December 2017

Gorbachev: His Life and Times 
by William Taubman.
Simon and Schuster, 880 pp., £25, September 2017, 978 1 4711 4796 8
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... in the third person. (I grew anxious about one of my own heroes when he started saying: ‘Jimmy Reid would never agree to this or that.’ And why is it men, almost never women, who do this?) Gorbachev has – or had then – a hot affection for the public image that walked at the head of his procession. Not many people change the world. Fewer ...

At the White House’s Whim

Tom Bingham: The Power of Pardon, 26 March 2009

... period from January 20, 1969 through August 9, 1974. Nixon himself had controversially pardoned Jimmy Hoffa, the former president of the Teamsters Union, who had been convicted of jury tampering, on condition that he stay out of union politics; and Ford was succeeded by Jimmy Carter, who commuted the 20-year sentence on ...

Diary

David Bromwich: The Establishment President, 13 May 2010

... on him the melting look of a senior sponsor for the protégé who has fulfilled every hope. Harry Reid, the Senate majority leader – who is widely blamed for the mismanagement of healthcare but likely took the hit for many wrong calls by the White House – was another early admirer. He noticed how bored Obama was in the Senate, and told him to run for ...

His Bonnet Akimbo

Patrick Wright: Hamish Henderson, 3 November 2011

Hamish Henderson: A Biography. Vol. I: The Making of the Poet (1919-53) 
by Timothy Neat.
Polygon, 416 pp., £14.99, May 2009, 978 1 84697 132 7
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Hamish Henderson: A Biography. Vol. II: Poetry Becomes People (1954-2002) 
by Timothy Neat.
Polygon, 395 pp., £25, November 2009, 978 1 84697 063 4
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... stone-breakers and mendicant old soldiers, where a small boy could take lessons from ‘Dancy Reid, one of the last travelling Highland dance teachers’. Eventually, Henderson’s mother took a position as a cook-housekeeper in a large house near Yeovil: a part of Somerset still rich in traditional song. She managed to send Hamish to board at a small ...

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