Trade Unionism and Labour – the grip on West Central Scotland

13
621

Unidentified contributor

I was born in Glasgow, inner Bearsden as I prefer to call it but it is more widely known as Maryhill.

My father was a City Corporation worker and we lived in a cooncil hoose….

Unidentified contributor

I was born in Glasgow, inner Bearsden as I prefer to call it but it is more widely known as Maryhill.

My father was a City Corporation worker and we lived in a cooncil hoose.

My father, who had been in the War, in Europe and Africa as a skilled artisan engineer in the RAF (lied about his age to volunteer and ended off scrambling out of France at the start of the War), hated the politicians, with whom he rubbed shoulders but, with his job came the hoose and, his criticism was restricted to within the hoose.

He was born in Govan or to be more precise Plantation in the Docks area. He knew Benny Lynch and Jimmy Logan!! A number of his friends went to Spain to fight against Franco but he was too young. The primary school he attended fed the kids bananas and oranges looted from ships by the Dockers. I believe the school was also that of John McLean but, I am not sure.

During the War he was in a troopship torpedoed off N Africa and found that the emergency rations had been looted, he said, by the same people who gave him the oranges and bananas.

He later told me that the Dockers and the politicians were the same self-serving thieving bastards and the romance about Red Clydeside was keich.

There was a need for real Trade Unionism in his youth but, he told me, never to conflate that with socialism. The TUs, especially the shop Stewards were always thieving out of the poor box. Not a lot changes.

Here you have it.

The TU movement in WC Scotland is inexorably linked with the Labour Party as a bulwark against the worst excesses of capitalism; tanks in George Square etc. It is in the blood.

In Ireland they still talk of Oliver Cromwell as though he had been laying waste to the Bogside last week.

My Dad never ventured into the TU movement except to pay his dues and attend the meetings. The hoose depended on it.

He gave me the chance to be educated and flit the place he equally loved, yet hated. He hated really not the place but the vermin, his words, who infested it.

The SNP have a snowball’s chance in Hell of making any real sustainable inroads in WC Scotland, despite the fact of really first class local grafters (in the working sense). The SNP is just not set up to understand that mindset and really address it.

What Bellgrove Belle and John Mason et al do is advance the cause one vote at a time. Each person they help could stay with the SNP but it is a bit like the evolution of humanity, from Mesopotamia though Greece into the Balkans, then lower Northern Europe, back into N Spain during the Ice Age (not this one, the last one) and then by boat to Scotland, maybe via Ireland.

Step by step, but not in my lifetime, unless the Labour mould in WC Scotland can be broken from within?

It is about time this debate was opened up and the SNP gingered up.

Any volunteers?