A Broken Reid
After twenty-five years Mr. Jimmy Reid, the doyen of Left Clydeside, has left the Communist Party where he was an Executive Committee member. His reasons for leaving the Party are obscure, as this institution of meddle and muddle has not altered either in its reformist leadership case, or in its slavish acquiescence to the foreign policy of the Soviet Union. (How could it, when the Morning Star, the Party organ, depends on Russian finance? Russia, and the Iron Curtain countries take nearly 14,000 copies of the Morning Star out of the daily number sold of 41,000 copies: Sunday Telegraph, 15th February 1976). According to the Sunday Telegraph, this amounts to a subsidy of 250,000 a year out of a total of 500,000 a year which is required to keep the paper alive.
This fact must have been known to Mr. Reid as a member of the Executive Committee. The British Road to Socialism, the Party statement upon which Mr. Reid bases his faith, has certainly made a large detour through Eastern Europe.
Unfortunately for the working class of Clydeside, Jimmy Reid did not leave his ideas, so we can expect the usual windy dialogues and mis-information about Socialism when his conscience has settled down, or his career has got the better of it. In an interview given to Ian Smith in the Daily Telegraph 13th February 1976, “Mr. Reid said that if a political party emerged which showed it supported Socialism and democracy he would consider joining it”. Where has Mr. Reid been during his twenty-six years in politics if he does not know that such a Party has existed for over 70 years — the SPGB? Not that we are waiting on the doorstep to welcome Mr. Jimmy Reid into our ranks. Fortunately we have a choice over those who may decide to join us, and in his present state of muddle we could not permit an individual as ignorant on the fundamental aspects of Socialism to enter our organisation.
By Socialism Mr. Reid, in common with all left-wing parties, means freedom to worship reforms, State capitalism, a touch of Scots Nationalism, and anything else which will provide a peg for opportunist propaganda. It’s all in the pamphlet The British Road to Socialism of which he was co-author.
In an interview given to Peter McHugh of the Daily Mail (13th February 1976) he expresses interest in the newly-founded Scottish Labour Party of Mr. Jim Sillars, MP, who apparently is a personal friend and who also is the same type of modern Labour fakir. Both men have in common their rejection of the organisations which brought them to political prominence. It is people like Reid and Sillars who hold back Socialist propaganda, and expect prestige for doing it, as does every professional left-wing politician.
It has taken twenty-six years in politics to convince Reid he backed the wrong horse in the Communist Party. Instead of making public confessions of his ignorance of politics he should gracefully retire to develop a few real Socialist principles. For his and others’ information, Socialism means a social system based on the common ownership and democratic control of the means of living, and its achievement depends on understanding.