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Alan Mackinnon

It is with great sadness that we announce the death of Alan Mackinnon. 

Alan played a central role in Scottish CND and the wider peace movement in Scotland over three decades. He was Chair of Scottish CND from most of the years between 1990 and 2011 and Secretary from 2013. In 1990 and 1991 he coordinated protests against the Gulf War. In 2001, within days of the attack on the Twin Towers in New York, Alan took the initiative of pulling together representatives of civic society in Scotland to challenge the anticipated American response. He chaired the Scottish Coalition for Justice Not War which organised Scottish opposition to the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, including the massive demonstration outside the SECC in February 2003. While his own political affiliation was to the Communist Party of Britain, he was always keen to draw together representatives of a range of political parties, trade unions and religious groups to work together for peace and nuclear disarmament.

In his leadership of Scottish CND he constantly strived to build opposition to Trident.  As well as mobilising public opposition in a series of rallies, he was a key member of the Scottish Government’s Working Group on Scotland Without Nuclear Weapons and contributed to their report, published in 2009.  

Alan worked with the STUC and trade union representatives to present a detailed case on the economic and employment implications of scrapping Trident, arguing that more jobs could be sustained if the money spent on nuclear weapons was diverted to other projects and exploring how to diversify away from defence work. As well as contributing to a substantial study of this issue by Scottish CND and the STUC in 2007, Alan was one of the authors of a new report, “Trident and Jobs”, published by the two organisations in April 2015.

Alan wrote extensively on peace issues, particularly the dangers of America’s aggressive foreign policy and NATO.

Below are a selection of some of the pamphlets he wrote:

He was for many years the editor of Scottish CND’s magazine, “Nuclear Free Scotland”. He wrote regularly in this magazine and elsewhere, articulating our concerns about nuclear weapons and wider threats to peace.

As well as effectively leading Scottish CND over many years, Alan also gave practical help to many of our members when it was most needed. For example, his medical skills were put to use when he inspected tired feet and treated blisters on the 2014 peace walk from the Scottish Parliament to Faslane.

He showed a determination to make a positive contribution to the world, despite his own health problems. This was shown when, after retiring as a GP and undergoing treatment for cancer, he went to Sierra Leone to work for Medicin san Frontier.  In recent months, disabled and confronting a terminal illness, he persisted in helping with Scottish CND street stalls throughout the general election.  On 6 August he chaired and spoke at Glasgow’s commemoration of the bombing of Hiroshima, reminding his audience of the medical effects of nuclear weapons. When Jeremy Corbyn visited Glasgow during his campaign to become Labour leader, he chose to stay with the Mackinnon’s and made a point of commending Alan's work when he spoke at a rally in the Fruitmarket. 

Alan’s dedication to peace and nuclear disarmament has been an inspiration to us all and his loss will be greatly missed. Our thoughts are with his wife Karin and his children, Maeve and Ian, at this time.


Tributes to Alan can be left in the comments below, or by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


#1 John Miller 2015-09-18 23:49
Alan was a true star...In an age of apathy and cynicism he never gave up and never stopped beleiving
#2 Fiona Montgomery 2015-09-19 06:46
Alan's leading role in and enormous contribution to Scottish CND and the wider peace movement was inspirational. I am lucky enough to have known him for more than 30 years. He was a lovely, kind, principled, astute and decent man who gave so much of himself to the causes that mattered to him. He expertly, of course, chaired the recent excellent Hiroshima anniversary event in the City Chambers in Glasgow and, as the tribute above records, he kept on campaigning through his illness and disability, always a friendly and welcoming face at so many events as well as doing a huge amount of work behind the scenes. My heart goes out to his family. An exceptional man, much loved and deeply missed. So sorry you couldn't be with us for many more years to come Alan.
#3 Peter Middleman 2015-09-19 10:01
I never met Alan but would eagerly anticipate his various features reproduced in the Morning Star - especially the meticulously researched pieces on the malign role of Nato.

His loss will be felt by the whole movement.

Condolences to his family, comrades and friends.

Peter Middleman
#4 Kevin Paterson 2015-09-19 10:41
Alan was a real champion of the cause of nuclear disarmament strong, firm, provocative but never argumentative. His clear concise arguments and faultless research will be sorely missed, Salute Comrade...
#5 Bert MacKenzie 2015-09-19 11:07
Shocked & saddened on hearing the news of Alan's passing. I enjoyed his talks at CPB meetings, and all that he campaigned for. My sincere condolences to his family, and comrades. X
#6 Muir Houston 2015-09-19 13:44
Sad to hear this news - a great loss to the peace movement - hasta la siempre victoria
#7 Elaine McDougall 2015-09-19 19:35
Sorry to hear of this sad news. Sympathy to the family.
#8 Mary Lockhart 2015-09-19 20:13
Desperately sorry to read of the death of a man so brave, so generous, and so knowlegeable in the cause of peace. In global terms, the Peace Movement has lost one of its most influential and loved luminaries. And many individuals have lost a great support and resource. In researching for my own academic study, first on the factors and influences which shaped the UK's defence policy since the end of the Cold War, and more recently on the entrenchment of UK's retention and renewal of Trident,he was extremely helpful, and I will miss his continued input.
#9 Billy Moncrieff 2015-09-19 22:47
So sad to hear of Alan's death . He will always be remembered for all his dedication and tireless work to spread the word of the evils of nuclear weapons . This has been such tragic sad news and we have lost a great fighter for the peace movement . Rest in peace comrade . Billy and Louisa .
#10 Marlene MacKinnon 2015-09-19 23:38
Alan 's death is a terrible loss to Scotland, socialism and the peace movement. He gave generously of his time to make this world a better place even when he knew his time was limited. He was an inspiration to me and to countless others. I am honoured and proud to have known him as a friend. My thoughts are with Karin, Maeve and Ian.
#11 Gwen Sinclair 2015-09-20 09:52
I heard yesterday at the CND stall at The Hope Over Free rally in freedom sq glasgow the very sad news of Alan's passing. I spent many days over the past year with Alan at Cnd stalls all over Scotland and it was a pleasure to talk with him. He was funny, knowledge, cheerful and kind; he is an inspiration; just getting on with it as usual with his illness. I feel very sad we have lost such a great person who was tirelessly committed to peace.
#12 Linda McGregor 2015-09-20 13:01
I'm sooo sad after hearing this news...what a wonderful, caring doctor, I am so grateful and priviledged to have had him as my doctor since I was 11 years old (I'm now 51). I can't be more thankful for the help, support and encouragement he gave to me over the years. A remarkable man and an inspiration for many Xx RIP Doctor MacKinnon Xx
#13 Nick Mayes 2015-09-20 14:13
I was very sad to hear of Alan's death. Most of my interactions with him over the last few years were in the steam room at the Western Baths, where he often joined and usually won debates on foreign and domestic policy. He was greatly liked and respected, including by those who strongly disagreed with him, and the club will be far duller without him. I will also remember him as an exceptionally kind and decent neighbour and family friend to have had in my childhood. Please pass on my deepest sympathies to Karin, Maeve and Ian.
#14 Mike Arnott 2015-09-21 06:16
Alan's death was announced at the commemoration at La Pasionaria in Glasgow on Saturday morning. It was a shock. A pleasure and honour to have worked with him over the years. Thoughts are with his family. Irreplaceable, but the struggle goes on.
#15 Lennox Horn 2015-09-21 18:34
I was sad to hear this news, I was fortunate to play alongside Alan in the late 60's in the Glasgow band The House of Lords. Many good times on the road with him, he also sold me a rare guitar for a song if I remember.
great drummer and nice guy.Does anybody know re funeral arrangements?

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