I courteously waited for their customer to leave and then barged in with my spiel:
“So are you proud of the fact that your lot murdered 80 million of our fellow human beings?”It never is with these people.
”Surely you know about that?” is my response.
"Well, maybe it didn't all go quite right all of the time, but what about capitalism then? How many have been killed by capitalism? Got you there!"
"Please explain the exact process by which capitalistic acts between consenting adults can lead to murder?" I reply.
Stunned silence, but then one of them manages to come out with this masterpiece of Marxist repartee:
"The Private Finance Initiative!"
My turn to be silenced. How does one respond to that without laughing? Then I am informed that no one has been murdered by the commies since the demise of Comrade Trotsky.
"But that was over 60 years ago," I point out. "What about the 1940s, the 50s, the 60s and so on?"
"Where?" they reply.
"Russia, China, Korea, Cambodia, Cuba..." I go on.
"Ah, but it wasn't real communism in China, was it?"
At this point I become aware of a strange trembling sensation in my left leg. Perhaps I am getting the Trotsky ice-axe treatment? But no, fortunately it's my new mobile phone, vibrating, glowing and chiming in the pocket of my distinctly bourgeois Barbour jacket. Mrs F & W is calling to tell me that a fight has broken out in the car park near our flat over in Edinburgh. Well, Hearts had just beaten Partick Thistle and Scotland were getting ready to send England homewards to think again, so I'm not too surprised by this news. Maybe some of the fans had become confused through drink and she was witnessing a historically unique Partick v England event.
Meanwhile, back in Glasgow, the Comrades had become downhearted. One of them claimed to have read the Black Book of Communism, but when I challenged him on this he turned quite sheepish for he was unable to tell me whether the book had "around 200 pages" or "around 1,000 pages". That damned capitalist logic. So unfair, isn't it? The demoralised duo started to pack up their wares and didn't seem too happy when I suggested continuing the discussion on my next visit to Red Clydeside.