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.
Nice hair, Boris.
When Tony Blair, the then British PM, put forward the idea of having a London mayor, it didn’t sound like a great idea.
Today, as the present incumbent at City Hall faced questions over the shocking number of cycling deaths over the last two weeks – six in total – the less convincing this American-style role appeared to be.
Boris Johnson brings a floppy hairstyle, colourful comments and language, as well as a buffoon-like manner to this role, all this no doubt helps to distract away from the central question about the London Mayor and the very expensive general assembly where he was being ‘grilled’, namely – ‘What is the point?’
Apart from being a talking shop – and at a time when ordinary Londoners and not the supper rich who Boris openly champions, are being squeezed like never before – a criminally over-priced one, there is little to be said for the glorified councilors who gather in the most grandiose surroundings to score points against each other.
Those who for so long despaired at Parliament and MPs may want to turn their attention to the capital and the motley crew of elected representatives that reside in a building that can only rival Athens for modern-day European-nostalgic hubris.
George Galloway’s announcement that he may be considering running for the role of London Mayor just highlights the utter pointlessness of this role.
For Boris Johnson of course, this is all a prep-school for bigger and better things, namely number 10 and being leader of the country.
As for the people he will leave behind – well, they will have to grin and bare another London Mayor and the promise of more council tax, higher car parking charges, VAT etc to pay for the dubious privilege.
After 14 of 14 constituencies declared,
Boris Johnson has been re-elected as Mayor of London with 971 931 on first vote (1, 054 811) beating Labour’s Ken Livingstone who got 889, 918. (992, 273).