Born in 1932 in Govan, Reid joined the Young Communist League aged 16 and later became its national secretary. Later, he was a
His most prominent claim to fame arose from his joint leadership of the
Reid was also one of three Communist councillors in
He stood three times as a Communist candidate in General Elections for Dunbartonshire Central in 1970, 1974 (twice). In February 1974 he tripled the Communist vote to just short of six thousand, beating the Scottish Nationalist.
Reid left the Communist Party in February 1976. John Kay, who worked with Jimmy Reid as a full-time organiser, when Jimmy was Scottish secretary of the Communist Party – and before that national secretary of the Young Communist League – felt that his resignation was a real surprise. Kay’s view is that Reid felt Party membership was “an encumbrance to the use of his undoubted talents in a higher sphere of responsibility”. Interestingly, he published a memoir in 1976 – “Jimmy Reid: Reflections of a Clyde-built Man”. For all his earlier idealism, it is hard to avoid the conclusion that Reid’s rightwards march was motivated by career prospects.
He was a candidate for Labour in
Reid continued to support Labour up until the 1997 General Election, but became disillusioned with New Labour and urged people to support either the SNP or the Scottish Socialist Party (
Widespread tributes were paid to his talent, especially in the Scottish media, when Jimmy Reid died on August 11th 2010 at the age of 78.
Sources: Guardian 16 August 2010 and miscellaneous pieces