Richie grew up in Co Fermanagh, Northern Ireland, before emigrating to Liverpool, where he went on to become the central Merseyside organiser of the socialists who led a mass movement that defeated Maggie Thatcher’s brutal Tory government.
Through regional general strikes, mass demos and mass politicization of the population around a defiant socialist city council – which Richie describes in a podcast as the very first posting on his blog – they won the funds to build 5,000 new council houses for rent; create thousands of new jobs; freeze rents for 8 years; vastly improve services; introduce a 35-hour week… and lit a beacon of struggle far beyond Liverpool’s city limits.
For the success of his socialist sins, Richie (along with eight other ‘ringleaders’) was expelled from Labour by Neil Kinnock’s leadership. Tony Benn asked Richie to promise to publish his defence speech at the expulsion hearing… a promise he’s yet to get round to fulfilling!
After later moving to Glasgow, Richie was a founding organiser of the Scottish Socialist Party, and is it’s national workplace & trade union organiser. He is also the elected union convener in a major retail multinational.
A lifelong socialist and trade union activist, he’s been involved in spearheading numerous campaigns, including against school closures; a victorious factory sit-in; against the poll tax and latterly the bedroom tax; building solidarity with workers in struggle (throughout Scotland, the UK and abroad); for an immediate £10 minimum wage; railway nationalisation… the list becomes exhausting!
He was a prominent activist, organiser, writer and speaker for an independent socialist Scotland throughout the Scottish referendum.
Richie writes a blog; contributes regular columns in the Scottish Socialist Voice; has started footering round the foothills of Facebook; and is the author of a widely-praised book, aimed primarily at workers and their allies, Break the Chains – which we know he’d urge all Ungagged listeners to buy, enjoy and use in their struggles for justice!