A rare case of a man deceased who needs no whitewashing. Whenever his “lover, comrade and friend”, his beloved “Feminist Avenger”, has to sit down and talk to someone about the ‘arrangements’ there will be no awkwardness, no embarrassment as imaginations are deployed; desperately searching for something nice, something worthwhile, to say. We need only tell the truth. A blunt – like him – plain recounting of the facts will be all the tribute required.
The integrity in the face of adversity; the wisdom to watch this Island’s most successful left project rise and then burn at the hands of… well… someone unfit to share his oxygen and yet not succumb to despair and an abandonment of the class he loved and for which he tirelessly fought.
The crabbit irascibility; the rapier-like humour that would often leave you gasping; the sheer force of character that saw him navigate foul, dangerous and treacherous waters with dignity and resolve.
And, for me, the enduring memory of that lanky frame, which dwarfed my own considerably smaller form and yes; considerably smaller character. Memories of texts swapped after a Hibs win or a H*ns defeat; of arranging hurried catch-ups in coffee shops and retail parks on the outskirts of Auld Reekie; all cobbled around which granddaughter was being picked up, dropped off or otherwise placed right at the centre of his universe.
Christ, he schooled me on the national question, Islamophobia waaaay before it was a thing and how to accurately assess the balance of class forces. But he saved his greatest gift till near the end. After near twenty-five years as friends and comrades, he welcomed me as a fellow grandfather. And that was undoubtedly an area where his expertise was unsurpassed. A flash of humour here, a seemingly off-hand remark there, all that wisdom, humanity and love distilled. I only had to reach out and take it. And I did.
As is always the case, he was different things to all of us. But this was the Eddie Truman I knew. And loved.
See you on the barricades, pal. I miss you.