CND leader Kate Hudson describes the life of Alan Mackinnon who inspired and lead thousands with his insightful criticism of imperialism, tireless campaigning for peace and  commitment to the health and welfare of workers.

Alan Mackinnon was born in Glasgow on August 4 1946. His father Duncan was a pharmacist, originally from Hussabost on Skye, with whose Gaelic culture the family retained close links.
Alan attended Hillhead High School and then Glasgow University as a medical student from 1965, graduated in 1971 with a MBChB and worked for 35 years as a family doctor in a practice in Baillieston.
At university he became a member of the Communist Party and was deeply influenced by its commitment to anti-imperialism and to peaceful coexistence for the rest of his life.
In 1973 he married Karin, an artist and teacher. The same year they moved to Tanzania, where Alan worked as a doctor and Karin taught. Back in Glasgow from 1974, Alan took up his work as a general practitioner and became an active campaigner for better health services for Glasgow’s East End.
Alan played a key role in the Scottish Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) over several decades. He was chair of the organisation between 1989 and 1992. During this period he worked with a wide range of groups to co-ordinate vigils and protests against the Gulf war.
He resumed the position of chair of Scottish CND in 2000 and continued in the post until 2011.
Shortly after the attack on the twin towers in New York in September 2001, Alan established the Scottish Coalition for Justice not War.
Through the coalition, he brought together representatives of political parties, trade unions, religious organisations and peace groups to mobilise public opposition to military action in Afghanistan and Iraq.
He played an important role in the campaign against Trident and Trident renewal in Scotland and across Britain. He co-ordinated protests, emphasising the breadth of opposition to nuclear weapons, and he presented powerful arguments against Trident through his writing.
He represented CND at international conferences including at the United Nations in New York in 2012.
As well as being an effective political organiser, Alan was always willing to quietly help fellow peace activists whenever they were in need of support.
He assumed a central role in analysing the consequences of Trident cancellation for employment in Scotland and in producing the authoritative report, co-sponsored by the STUC in 2007, which demonstrated that very few, if any, jobs would be lost and that an active policy of arms conversion would open major opportunities for new areas of employment and industry.
With backing from leading figures in the SNP and the Labour Party, this became the basis for policy discussion at Scottish government level. In subsequent years he co-authored further studies on Trident and arms diversification for British CND.
At the same time as bringing up a family — daughter Maeve and son Ian — Alan found time for involvement in the many political campaigns of the 1980s and ’90s, from support for the miners’ strike to refusal to pay the poll tax, and maintained a weekly delivery of the Morning Star across Partick where the family lived.
He served for two terms on the executive of the Communist Party of Britain and helped lead its work on peace and disarmament.
In the difficult years of the ’80s he was among those who defended the Morning Star and was a central figure in the re-establishment of the party in Scotland in ’88.
After being diagnosed with cancer in 2009 he retired as a GP but trained in tropical medicine at Liverpool University and then worked as a doctor in Sierra Leone with Medicins Sans Frontiers.
This experience stimulated him to begin writing features and pamphlets for the Morning Star, the Communist Party and CND, on modern imperialism and the links to the arms race and the expanded remit of Nato across Asia and Africa.
He contributed to the Red Paper on Scotland in 2005 and again in 2014 and was a leading figure in bringing together a left-wing alliance during the referendum to campaign for a federal Britain that would maintain the principles of solidarity and redistribution together with a Scottish parliament with real powers of economic democracy and public ownership.
He freely contributed his skills as graphic designer to many causes and campaigns — including, most recently, to the People’s Assembly against Austerity.
Karin taught him all she knew about graphic design, which she had studied at Glasgow School of Art. He then went on to surpass her — especially when the age of the computer arrived.
A talented musician, Alan played the drums in the House of Lords band in the early 1970s. His daughter Maeve went on to become a celebrated Gaelic singer.
In his final years, despite the ravages of cancer and the amputation of a leg, Alan maintained his output of articles and his production of Scottish CND’s Nuclear-Free Scotland.
During this year’s election campaign he played an active role in CND’s “Vote out Trident” roadshow and continued to help at street stalls over the summer.
He lived to welcome Jeremy Corbyn’s election to the leadership of the Labour Party, a family friend and co-campaigner equally committed to the end of Trident and nuclear weapons.
“ If you want the strongest, clearest position on any issue of peace or war – from Trident and jobs, to Nato and global politics, Western intervention and illegal war – just ask Alan Mackinnon ”
– CND general secretary KATE HUDSON