Lavery portrayed James Maxton, a man of charm and integrity, before a view reminiscent of the Clydeside docks. Working in the shipyards had strongly influenced Maxton's politics. He had been a teacher, but was dismissed, after his imprisonment during the First World War, for encouraging Glasgow munitions workers to strike. In 1922, while working on the Clyde, he became the socialist candidate for Bridgeton. Maxton was a prominent figure in the Independent Labour Party and actively encouraged the rise of the socialist movement in Scotland. During the Second World War he formed the 'Clydeside Trio' with John McGovern and Campbell Stephen.