Not the news I was expecting this morning, I can think of a number of other people that I should think were clearly on borrowed time, but not the Crow. The man seemed full of life and vigour, fire in the belly and plenty to do.
A number of people won’t feel entirely unhappy about the news. He was an animal in terms of how he fought for the salaries and rights of his union members, controversial, definitely. His look and his manner was that of an EDL, BNP member – if I was muslin, black, gay or a feeble privately schooled politician, this would be the kind of man I would fear – big, bald white man who said ‘at the end of the day’ a great deal in the true fashion of your typical, Sun reading, menacing white van driving political philosopher.
Apparently the people of London all hated him because he was forever interfering with the operation of one of the city’s major public transport networks, actually I don’t think this is true, the people that hated him would be the bosses of those companies who made some sort of loss on the days their workforce couldn’t get in or were late; the politicians, mayors and millionaires who were either confounded by his lack of compromise or simply hated his Shadwell working class roots.
It seems to me that there has been a media driven campaign to direct a lot of hatred at Bob, a character that it is easy to dislike with a little help, yet I think Londoners on some level recognise what he was doing, and had if not complete admiration, a begrudging respect.
He was one of those types whom you felt massively annoying and self-righteous to be around, permanently in an argumentative mood with a giant chip on his shoulder and hatred of all wealthy people. Hopefully the good London folk were able to see through this negative campaigning, all Bob really represented was one of the last genuinely powerful unions that could lock horns with the imposing and suffocating capitalist bullies and force them to debate and concede.
If when asked why it was a tube driver should be earning £40,000 a year while a nurse earns significantly less, his response was that he wished that the nurses, the firemen, the police, ambulance drivers and any public worker generally had a stronger union to represent them. When asked why it was that a man of his wealth should still be living in a council property when he could afford a more salubrious home, he said he liked where he lived, that it was his home. He refused to be shamed on such matters.
His role, was always to do the best job he could for his union, other unions should have followed his lead.
In terms of if a tube driver was over paid – I don’t believe so myself and Bob clearly did not. Hard working people, in positions of great responsibility, do not get the recognition or salaries they deserve. The Underground employees only stand out because they actually have some degree of competitiveness in an environment that pays all its other public sector workers a phenomenally crap salary.
Bob Crow and his union have kept alive the hope that the working man deserves a good standard of living and if that means a few less bonuses for the Hedge Fund managers, then all the better. He has been a complete thorn in the side for those capitalists and conservatives who believe the future is Union-less, it does not take a genius to figure out why and what they would do if they could eliminate the stranglehold London Underground can exercise over the city’s economy.
The idea that such power could belong to one so coarse, truly bothers our political classes, it would seem that in their opinion only they should be allowed to wedge their foot against our necks and rinse us dry.
It has therefore been encouraged that Bob be seen as an enemy of the people, a man of self interest with lack of compassion for his brothers and sisters in other lines of public service, this deflects the real truth which is that of how the largest economical crises since the start of the 20th century came about via the greed and unlimited arseholeness of the financial sectors. This is the crime of our century and one that entirely highlighted the relationship between tax payers and those classes that flex power and influence policy. We learned that day that financial industries do not take any real risk, that it is the British taxpayer who guarantors all those mortgages and we learn that when the shit hits the fan, bankers get to retire on un-believably comfortable redundancy packages.
The abuse in this sector lead to people losing their jobs, becoming homeless and hopeless while the rich evacuated the UK for tax havens in Malta, or else looked to exploit the emerging Asian or South American economies.
Bob Crow regularly pointed this out and commented that it was not up to the working class to suffer austerity when the richest of its population hoarded so much wealth they could single handedly eliminate our debt.
I don’t think Bob was calling for that, I think he was really suggesting that if the theater of capitalism is to be played out, then let it be played on a level field, he may have been a shrewd leader who had to disregard the inconvenience he caused, but he was doing no more damage than his opposite numbers, actually he was just a fly in the ointment, or perhaps an annoying wasp causing havoc whenever the wealthy wanted to sit down and gorge themselves. He crawled across their jam scones and swam in their champagne, always the threat of an unpleasant sting hanging in the air.
For that I thank him.