Clive Fairweather: An appreciation by Stuart Crawford
I FIRST met Clive when we became near neighbours in Haddington in 1998. Despite having both been soldiers we had never met in uniform, but we quickly became firm friends.
Over many bottles of red wine through the years we put the world in general, and Scotland in particular, to rights.
Notwithstanding his career in the SAS and later as HM Inspector for Prisons, which many folk thought meant he was a hard man of the old school, he was in fact the complete opposite: urbane, liberal, broad-minded and with a strong empathy with the underdog and disenfranchised.
He was also great company and extraordinarily funny in conversation, with a huge repertoire of stories from his time in the army and in the employment of the Scottish Executive. My abiding memories of our times together in our little office in Hanover Street are of laughter, causes to be championed, and MPs turning up unannounced seeking some explanation of the intricacies of military or justice matters.
Clive was also the master of the media soundbite, and I used to listen and wonder why I couldn’t comment as well as he did. My favourite related to when he was doorstepped by the BBC after a riot, and serious damage, at Low Moss prison following a televised international football match. When asked by the young reporter for comment, he paused and then said: “It only goes to prove one thing: at least in Scotland all our football hooligans are already in prison!” The then Secretary of State, Michael Forsyth, was by all accounts not amused.
Despite much pressing by me and others, he never wrote his memoirs, but he did write at least a couple of chapters which had me rolling with laughter and tears running down my cheeks. Clive was just a great chap – kind, opinionated, humorous and full of life. Like everyone who knew him well, I will miss him terribly.
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