Siol nan Gaidheal

David Leadbetter

David Leadbetter

David Leadbetter, born 19 November 1934, passed away in Edinburgh’s Western Hospital on Wednesday morning, 15th March 2006, after a long illness.

Born in London, Dave embraced Scottish culture enthusiastically when attending Stirling University between 1969 and 1972. After taking law at Newcastle University, Dave became politically active in the Scottish republican demonstrations at ‘Red Stirling’, against the Queen’s visit there. From student political activities he joined the International Marxist Group and the John MacLean Society. Like his hero, John Maclean, he had a great intellect but spurned conventional careers and despised career politicians.

Dave was a founder member of the cross party ‘Scottish Republican Socialist Clubs’, with John Maclean’s daughter, Nan Milton, Hugh MacDiarmid, Morris Blytheman and others. The Republican Clubs became the Scottish Republican Socialist Party in 1982 and reverted to a cross party Scottish Republican Socialist Movement to join the newly formed Scottish Socialist Party in 1998, although Dave chose not to join the SSP. Dave was a passionate believer in every stage towards his final goal of a Scottish workers republic and supported the campaign for a Scottish Convention from the early 70s. Dave will be missed for his debating and writing skills, as well as his vast knowledge of all things Scottish. He will be missed by his friends not least because of his gourmet knowledge of the Scottish grape.

Half of his ashes will be scattered at the spot where he regularly spoke, the annual Declaration of Arbroath rally, on Sunday 9th April 2006, at 1pm. The other half of his ashes will be scattered at next year’s Glencoe rally. Dave lived in the glen and ran a local radical campaigning paper, the Lochaber Free Press, which successfully opposed nuclear dumping in Glen Etive. He was also an enthusiastic participant in Siol's campaign there in the 1980's.

Thanks to Donald Anderson of the SRSM for this tribute.

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