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Jimmy ReidA Clyde-built man$
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W.W.J. Knox and Alan McKinlay

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781789620832

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781789620832.001.0001

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(p.139) 5 Transitions
Jimmy Reid

W.W.J. Knox

A. McKinlay

Liverpool University Press

Chapter five focusses mainly on two events: the rectorial campaign of 1971 and the general election of 1974. Because of his leadership of the UCS work-in, Reid became the poster boy of the CPGB, the human face of British communism. He was probably the only communist that most people in Britain had ever heard of. Recognition came with his installation as Rector of Glasgow University in late 1971. As part of the process the Rector gave an Address. Reid chose the subject of alienation and his speech not only electrified the audience but reverberated round the world. Although publicly popular doubts were beginning to surface regarding his membership of the CPGB. The Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968 played a part but a much more important event we argue was the general election of 1974. Reid stood as candidate for Central Dunbartonshire which had at its heart Clydebank – the centre of shipbuilding in Scotland. Although considered a shoo-in by the press Reid was defeated by the Labour candidate in the first and the second elections of 1974. He was the victim of a largely sectarian campaign run by the Labour party, but it was clear that he would never be elected as a communist. We now are reaching the moment of the unmaking of a communist.

Keywords:   Rector, Media, Communism, Elections, Transition

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