JUST weeks after the last elected communist official in the UK stepped down a Scottish man is campaigning to keep the red flag flying.
Communist Willie Clarke, 80, retired in June after more than 40 years as an elected official of Fife County Council.
It was thought that Mr Clarke’s retirement signalled the official end of the communist movement in Britain – with no more elected politicians identifying with the ideology.
But now, Thomas Kirby, from Methil, Fife is attempting to take the seat that Mr Clarke vacated earlier this year for the communist cause.
He will be one of five candidates trying to take the seat in the Lochs by-election to replace Mr Clarke on August 25.
Mr Kirby, 33, said: “Due to the historic link with the Benarty area and the Communist Party since the 1920’s, we felt we had to stand a candidate in this by-election.
“I was born and bred in this area and have campaigned on a large number of issues affecting the poor and working class.
“Willie Clarke has campaigned all his life as a communist and it is that ethos that he has continually shown, where he has always put the needs of his constituents first and foremost.
“His are huge boots to fill. He has respect from everyone in the area no matter the political persuasion.
“That is what I hope to emulate and bring into this campaign and will continue in that vein.”
Mr Kirby feels that communism is still strong in the area due to its industrial past.
He continued: “I think it is because of the large industries that were here, mining, shipbuilding and engineering.
“I think that legacy of all the good work that communists did within their communities and workplaces is still remembered and appreciated.
“Willie’s tireless work for the area and all he has achieved, has a huge bearing on this as well.”
In the election on August 25, Mr Kirby will be up against candidates from the SNP, Labour, Conservative Party and the Scottish Greens.
Mr Clarke joined the communists soon after he began working in a local mining pit at the age of 14.