HARRY McShane, the last of the Red Clydesiders, was feted in Glasgow City Chambers in December 1984, when at the age of 93 (second left, above)he received the freedom of the city, in recognition of his services to the Labour and trade union movements. Given, however. the “noncomformist ambience” of the event,”traditional expressions of loyalty to Queen and country,” noted the Glasgow Herald, “might have been inappropriate, and were thus discreetly omitted.”

The Labour firebrand, Eric Heffer MP, once described how the “legendary” McShane became a “close and wonderful friend” of his. McShane died in 1988, aged 96. An Early Day Motion lodged in the House of Commons by a group of Scottish MPs noted that he had been born into hardship, one of nine children in a Gorbals family. Through his “deep understanding of Marxism” he “represented a “major strand of socialist thinking in Europe”. He had worked tirelessly on behalf of the unemployed and led hunger marches in the 1920s and 1930s. The motion also noted that McShane had been one of the main architects of Red Clydeside, and mourned “the passing of one of Scotland’s most distinguished representatives whose commitment to social justice and the relief of poverty we share.”

William Hunter, writing in these pages, said McShane had been a worker, “a scholar, philosopher, orator, journalist, pamphleteer, protest marcher, rebel. He was the most dapper of revolutionaries.”