Eddie was a long-time socialist activist from Leith. After a troubled time as a teenager, he helped himself out of a hole by getting involved with Militant. Cutting his teeth on the miners' strike and who-knows-how-many paper sales, Eddie later threw himself into the fight against the Poll Tax. Readers will remember that Thatcher "piloted" it in Scotland before unleashing this attack on England and Wales, and you can more or less date the divergence between Scottish and rest-of-the-UK politics from about this time. He was an activist with Scottish Militant Labour, as this part of Militant came to be known after decamping from Labour, and fully supported it becoming the nucleus of the Scottish Socialist Party, which was founded in 1999. As the party's press officer, Eddie was responsible for this famous (and much copied) image.
It was around this time that I got to know Eddie via the infamous UK Left Network discussion list. As I was an earnest Weekly Worker supporter and Eddie was, in the parlance, a "left nationalist" we had a few ding-dongs over the first couple of years. At times his baiting would drive me up the wall, as I'm sure mine and others' contributions did him. But in the end, we became more friendly and less adversarial, which was the lot of all who fought in the UKLN's gladiatorial pit. I also came to respect his activity as the anti-Iraq war movement took off as well as the SSP itself. I recall one protest stunt he had a hand in arranging whereby oil barrels were assembled, unplugged, and torrents of blood coloured water coursed down the road until they were empty. If only YouTube was around then.
Unfortunately with the ups came the downs. Anyone on the UKLN between late 2004 and 2006 had a ringside seat as Tommy Sheridan tore apart the most successful extra-Labour left party since the old Communist Party's hay day. The good-natured banter about Hibs' footballing prowess and the like took a backseat as Eddie participated in the blood-letting. For those of us south of the border (then) committed to building an alternative to Blair's Labour, it was a depressing spectacle indeed.
As the SSP spiraled downwards after losing all its MSPs in 2007, Eddie found things other than politics to concentrate on - not that it stopped him from working in the Yes campaign around the Scottish independence referendum. Latterly he was a doting grandad to his four beautiful granddaughters and enthusiastic parent to the late Missy Dug, but I'd still occasionally get a message from him denouncing something I'd written as "fucking shit". There was the odd tip off about top new tunes too. Eddie, apart from being a fine human being, also shared with me an exquisite taste in music. And, I have to mention it now, the reason why I run occasional April Fools here - and on the UKLN previously - was because I knew he found them intensely irritating. Yes, it was that kind of relationship.
Getting used to writing and thinking about Eddie in the past tense will be hard, and our comrade will be much missed by everyone who knew him. All my love and sympathies to his partner Cat, his daughter Holly, and his grandkids Pippa, Daisy, Poppy, and Ella.