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Bob Purdie

“Tariq’s office at Pentonville Road… had a large psychedelic collage on one wall. I suggested to him that we put a photo of it in the next issue and accuse the Black Dwarf of breaking in and committing an act of vandalism.”

Bob Purdie did much to develop the IMG and Red Mole’s line on Ireland in the early 1970s.

He is the taller one in the picture to the right- the comrade in front is Pat Jordan.

His pamphlet ‘Ireland Unfree’ can be found on the Cedar Lounge Blog:

This is his account of his dealings with the Official IRA: REMEMBERING THE OFFICIALS

and his 1990 book Politics In The Streets can be found here:

Bob was to move away from revolutionary politics and now describes his politics as Scottish Nationalism and Christian Socialism.

14 Comments leave one →
  1. PhilW permalink
    March 25, 2011 8:42 pm

    Bob’s holding a placard about the Soviet Union’s invasion of Czechoslovakia, so I suggest the photo is from 1968…..

  2. David Walsh permalink
    June 9, 2011 11:52 am

    I was told that the fellow in front of Bob is Pat Jordan. Might someone confirm or identify? It would be sooo helpful to drop the habit of not identifying photos! Thanks, great site.

  3. June 9, 2011 12:13 pm

    Yes, it is Pat Jordan.
    Photo was supplied by Keith Sinclair and was scanned from the cover of a Healyite pamphlet.

    • Bob Purdie permalink
      June 23, 2011 4:39 pm

      I can confirm that it is my old friend Pat Jordan, in fact I pointed this out to Rob when he posted the photo.

  4. Bob Purdie permalink
    June 23, 2011 4:45 pm

    PS it is a very rare photo, I only had that moustache for a few weeks, it was a transitional phase between being bearded and clean shaven. It was probably the onset of reformism, I remember (Lord) Gus MacDonald being moustached when all the other Young Socialists in Glasgow wore beards (except some of the women). He also wore a hairy Italian suit instead of jeans & combat jacket – a clear breach with the principles taught us by Comrades Fidel and Che. At least I adopted a kilt, reflecting my Jacobite sympathies.

  5. David Walsh permalink
    June 23, 2011 6:55 pm

    Thanks everyone! LOL

  6. The Keelie permalink
    May 31, 2013 4:13 pm

    I was really astonished to find that Bob went over to Christianity. I’m certain this did not involve any rightwingery but to find Bob of all people signing up for irrationality is breathtaking.

    As for the kilt, Bob will know that this is a Highland garment most often seen in Edinburgh at the Festival. As he knows, the Gael was only allowed his clothing back when he signed up in the army of those who banned it. Is Bob a Gael? I don’t think so. It’s now a bourgeois garment and slightly musichall.

    Still, best wishes to Bob and his excellent work at Ruskin, now become a shadow of its former self, and sliding into nothing.

    The Keelie.

  7. David Walsh permalink
    May 31, 2013 4:45 pm

    Well, never knowing Bob other than hearing of him thru G Foley and within the USSWP I was not much on his political wavelength. However, it seems to me that taking shots against a person trying to follow a road that we may disagree strongly with is very unfair. I’m glad Keelie mentioned “best wishes”, but it seems a contradiction to end with “become a shadow of its former self, and sliding into nothing.” I have been a trotskyist since late ’68 at the age of 12 and hope all the former comrades try to stay on the road of a vision of peace, justice and equality.

  8. The Keelie permalink
    August 2, 2013 7:46 pm

    Nobody is taking shots at anyone. Don’t be daft. And the comment on Ruskin ‘sliding into nothing’ was a comment on the previously excellent Ruskin, not Bob. He was a great asset there.

    You’ll need to read more closely if you want to comment coherently.

  9. Political Tourist permalink
    January 6, 2014 9:42 pm

    Trying not to laugh at the thought of a trot (IMG) chatting away to the leadership of one of the most Stalinist (official Sinn Fein, SFWP) groups in Western Europe.
    Forward 45 years, did Bob join the Freemasons before or after the SNP, yes or no?

  10. David Walsh permalink
    January 10, 2014 11:27 am

    To “Keelie”, I read the line ‘but it seems a contradiction to end with “become a shadow of its former self, and sliding into nothing.” and you quite right and I do apologize to you for that.

  11. John permalink
    September 20, 2014 3:25 pm

    I’d love to read Bob’s comments on arriving at Christian Socialism, because the man is so interesting. That was a long and unexpected road. Yes, it’s a surprise but life’s full of them.

    Whatever the reason, I’m certain that it’s honorable. As Bob is. I wonder what he feels about the neutering of Ruskin on which I could weep.

  12. Dave Purdie permalink
    November 18, 2014 3:16 pm

    I am Bob’s twin brother. Though our lives took very different paths, I love him and can vouch for his utter honesty and sincerity. He has never been a Freemason, the idea is ridiculous. I am sorry to tell you that Bob now has terminal cancer and has been given 6 months until the end.

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