Rowland was born in Durham in 1945. He went to school in Montrose and eventually came to Stirling in 1961 where he spent the rest of his life. He became an employee of the United Glass factory in Bridge of Allan and worked there for 35 years until his retirement. Even as a teenager, his left wing leanings soon turned him towards Marxism and he became an admirer of both Trotsky and Lenin. Being a natural activist he joined the Labour Party and the Young Socialists and promptly set about organising their various branches in the Stirling area.

In the 1970s came what was a defining moment in his life. He joined the International Marxist Group and the Fourth International and became a convert to the ideas of Ernst Mandel. It was a philosophy that he retained throughout his life. He never wavered. At his work place he established its ACTS union and remained a branch official for many years. He eventually became the chair of the Stirling District Trades Council and was always in the thick of every industrial dispute or left-wing campaign in Central Scotland. He took great delight in organising May Day rallies, marches and demonstrations.

His refusal to compromise on his political beliefs forced him to change his party allegiances with great regularity. At one time or another he was a member of the International Socialist Group, the Labour Party, the Scottish Socialist Movement, the SNP, the Scottish Socialist Party and Solidarity – and I am sure I have missed a few. He was an assiduous canvasser for all of them.

Nationally he always argued for an independent Scotland and his dream was the creation of a Scottish Workers Republic. John Maclean was one of his heroes. Internationally he was always involved in campaigns against oppression and injustice whether in Nicaragua or Palestine. In the case of Chile he was instrumental in the creation of a local Solidarity Committee and was heavily involved in helping Chilean refugees settle in Scotland. He also helped the International Ecomemoria organisation commemorate the victims of Pinochet’s Chilean junta though the planting of trees in both Stirling and Falkirk.

He was also always ready to fight against racism or discrimination in any form and took part in many anti-apartheid boycotts and campaigns. He was anti-violence and pro-women’s rights.
From Vietnam to the Falklands right through to Iraq, he was against all wars which he rightly perceived as unjust and was at the forefront of any direct action required.

Like most of his friends I rarely thought of Rowland without thinking of politics. But I think we all did him an injustice. There was a lot more to him than that. He was an assiduous reader with a penchant for both science and philosophy and was as likely to argue with you about Darwinism or the importance of the structure of DNA as the shortcomings of a recently elected councillor. Good at Chess, excellent at Bridge, a slow raconteur with a great sense of humour and a cutting turn of phrase. His multiple letters to the editors of the local and national press were always worth a close read.

He was generous with both time and money to his family and his friends, and was always at hand when required. He died on the 30th March 2008. No more politics – I will miss him. He will always remain my friend.