ANALYSIS I have often thought that when I am at the gates of the hereafter, negotiating an admission into Paradise, that there would be only one man I would call on to argue my case – Bob Crow, the RMT leader, whose sudden and completely unexpected death, was announced at 11:02 today. Bob Crow was a larger than life figure, the kind of man that was made for the Trade Union movement, a man who cut his cloth under that other great and formidable champion of the working man Arthur Scargill. Quite, what the NUM leader would think of his protégé’s six figure pay salary and expensive dining and holidaying habits is of course another matter. But Bob, unlike his mentor, was admired by most – his legions of supporters in the RMT union, as well as his many opponents and political adversaries such as the London Mayor Boris Johnson who was one of the first people to offer his sincere condolences. Except to those national newspapers to whom he was a left wing radical, a member of the Ken Livingstone club, it was rare to hear a bad word said about him – even from London’s long suffering commuters who were at the sharp end of the many RMT strikes to hit the capital. For his opponents respected and understood that at the end of the day, his stand however formidable and trenchant in appearance was only reflecting the wishes and aspirations of his members whose numbers swelled in the decade or so that he became their leader.
So, perhaps the most fitting tribute to come so far, has been from the London Mayor who observes that when it came to settling a dispute he found his ideological opponent to be most the most practical and least extreme of the union leaders that he has crossed swords with.