Jimmy Reid Dies, Aged 78

The Scots journalist and former trade union leader, Jimmy Reid, has died, at the age of 78.

Reid, who contributed opinion columns to several newspapers, including The Herald and The Scotsman, passed away in hospital last night.

As an union activist, he became renowned in the early 1970s for leading efforts to stave off closure of Glasgow’s shipyards on the River Clyde. During a 'work-in' at Upper Clyde Shipbuilders, Reid famously urged workers to remain disciplined, saying that there should be “no hooliganism, no vandalism and no bevvying”.

Reid, who turned journalist and broadcaster after standing for the Labour Party in 1979 General Election, went on to host a chat show called the Reid Report, for Grampian TV, as well as writing and presenting a series of BAFTA award-winning documentaries during the mid-1980s.

Says Bob Thomson, associate editor at the Scottish Left Review, which Reid helped establish ten years ago: “Jimmy Reid was a courageous and steadfast fighter for working people and their families. At The UCS work-in he proved that organised workers could defeat an unthinking government and uncaring big business.

“A self-taught intellectual and philosopher, he did not curry favour or seek self-advancement. He told the truth, often at great cost to himself.

“A lifelong socialist, he argued eloquently and passionately against the insanity of the capitalist system which once again has caused a major recession where the many will pay for the greed of a few.

“In 1972, in his inaugural speech as Rector of Glasgow University, he famously said: 'The rat race is for rats'. He believed humankind could create a fairer, more compassionate and better society.

“We have lost a great Scot and a true internationalist”.

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