Showing posts with label glasgow branch. Show all posts
Showing posts with label glasgow branch. Show all posts

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Glasgow Branch History

Letter to the Editors from the March 1995 issue of the Socialist Standard

Dear Comrades,

I was born in 1900 and am four years older than the party. I became a socialist after hearing Alec Shaw destroy Peter Kerrigan [of the Communist Party] at an outdoor debate in Clydebank in 1928. Since then I have voted by writing Socialism across my ballot paper, although in recent years through old age I have not bothered. But recently I was able to vote for a socialist for the first time in my life. Although I had to be taken in a wheelchair and the effort may well have killed me, I feel as if I have finally hammered a nail into the coffin of Capitalism. I feel as if the ice age is over and the next century will be ours.

By voting and reading a comment in the Standard by Steve Coleman "we are a movement not a monument" I feel rejuvenated. Some time ago I was given a book called The Monument which claims to be a history of the SPGB. The author says this is not an official history as he did not have access to the party's records. The book is therefore anecdotal and relies heavily on the writer's memory (or imagination). An example of the dubious nature of this information is the tale of Glasgow branch voting to expel John Higgins for bringing a gas mask to a branch meeting during the war.

This statement caricatures the men and women who were stalwarts in the struggle for socialism in those days. There is no other comment in the book about Glasgow comrades which leads me to think that Mr Barltrop has never been there.

Jimmy Brodie was a joiner, like myself, and he used to give history and economics classes during the lunch hour on whichever boat we were working on. The steel bulkhead was the blackboard (the location was changed daily to avoid the gestapo) and the socialist message remained on the walls for weeks. These classes were attended by hundreds of workers and the debates engendered carried on into worktime much to the consternation of foremen and managers. Not to speak of the Commie second fronters.

It took a lot of guts to advocate the socialist case in the emotional climate of the 1940s. Tommy Mulheron was prominent in the dock strike. Alec Shaw in Howdens. Joe Richmond an apprentice where I worked organised a strike in 1943 which brought the firm to its knees. In spite of Union opposition the apprentices won.

My branch of the union had lots of socialists, Willie Travers, Joe Richmond, Jimmy Craig, Eddie Hughes, John Fitton, Jimmy McGowan, Willie Henderson, so that it became known as the Socialist Sixth. These men were indefatigable exponents of the Socialist case, some of them were speakers for the party, but all of them were influential in the Union. The Socialist Party has never had leaders, it has no need of them. But it has had its heroes and been all the stronger and richer for them. This book, The Monument, diminishes these men whose worth is greater than all the Maxtons, Bevans, Pollitts and Gallachers, whose names are still revered by many workers today.

The present Socialist Party stands on the shoulders of those who have gone before and should give credit to the breadth and depth of those shoulders. Surely, approaching its centenary, the party can write an official history, not only of the party but the whole world wide Socialist movement.

Do not leave it to the Barltrops of this world. Do not let our heroes die without trace if left to word of mouth they will become as myth and legend, more fantasy than fact, and spawn books like The Monument which does the Movement a disservice.

I am now 94 years old and must be one of the last of my generation. I grieve that my old comrades have died unsung although they were heroes all.

Yours for the Revolution,
Paddy Small, Glasgow

Thanks for your comments. And thanks also to all the other Socialists - supporters and sympathisers as well as Socialist Party members - who contributed the money (£22,286, to be precise) that enabled us to put up a Socialist candidate in Glasgow and three other seats in last year's Euro-elections and to get a socialist leaflet distributed to one million households.

Monday, January 28, 2013

The Rid, Rid Rotten Revue show

This legendary show put on by the Glasgow branch of the Socialist Party back in the early/mid 1980s, has now been transferred from tape cassette to digital and can be accessed following the links below. The venue was The Admiral Bar. It was a 'revue' show, described as "An evening of music, songs, sketches and humour, and just a wee bit of social comment." It's all very skilfully joined together by the Master of Ceremonies, Richard Donnelly.

Peter Ross, a contemporary of a young Billy Connolly and worked with him in his pre-comedy days, plays guitar and sings.

The files have been uploaded to a site called 'DropBox', but you don't have to be a member to access them - they are publicly available to anyone with the correct web address:

The MP3 digital file for Side A can be played or downloaded from Side B is at

Alternatively, there's a link for each individual song/sketch etc.

If you click on:
this opens up all 23 tracks and a note file with track info on it. You can choose to download each one individually, or do the whole lot in one download as a 'zip' file.

Here's the track listings
01 Introduction Dick Donnelly
02 The Red, Red, Rotten Revue Peter Ross
03 That's Why the Worker is a Slave Hughie Armstrong
04 The News at Ten Terry Ross
05 Survivors Terry and Ken
06 Knocking at Heaven's Door Hughie and Dick
07 Going up to Heaven Peter Ross
08 Pie in the Sky Peter Ross
09 Flash Harry Vic Vanni
10 What a Swell Party Hughie Armstrong
11 Introduction Dick Donnelly
12 Ah Wis Like That... Ken, Hughie, Ian, Campbell & Terry
13 Tra-la-la, twiddle-dee dee-dee Peter Ross
14 Drinking Doubles Peter Ross
15 The Craven Vic Vanni
16 You're a Worker... Peter Ross
17 Unemployment Blues Peter Ross
18 The Ultimate Nationalist Hughie Armstrong
19 Home Rule for Govan Peter Ross
20 A Lass in Plunderland Terry
21 Boring Employment Hughie Armstrong
22 The Red, Red, Rotten Revue (Reprise) Peter Ross
23 Closing Comments Dick Donnelly