Jonathan Fryer

Writer, Lecturer, Broadcaster and Liberal Democrat Politician

Posts Tagged ‘Bob Crow’

Labour Lurches Left

Posted by jonathanfryer on Saturday, 25th September, 2010

Hot on the heels of Ken “let’s raise the top level of income tax to 80 per cent” Livingstone being chosen as Labour’s London Mayoral candidate (again!), the party has elected union-backed Ed Miliband — already dubbed ‘Red Ed’ by the more conservative tabloids — to be its new leader. This will doubtless warm the cockles of the Left and the Miriam Karlin “everybody out!” branch of trade unionism, but it is a disaster for Labour in its hopes of forming the next government. In his acceptance speech in Manchester this afternoon, Ed Miliband said that he will oppose the Coalition when he needs to but he will support it when he arees with it. But I don’t think those who backed him will let him. Meanwhile, it was interesting to see how many people in the hall at the Labour Party conference sat on their hands at key points in his speech, not just because they believe that the wrong Miliband won, but more importantly because they know that actually the party has fatally gone into the comfort zone of longterm opposition. Moreover, some of the more militant trade unions — such as Bob Crow’s RMT — will be calling for mass strike action — not something that is likely to endear Labour to the general public in the prevailing political climate of 2010.

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So What Has Bob Crow Achieved?

Posted by jonathanfryer on Wednesday, 10th June, 2009

RMT logoHundreds of thousands of Londoners are struggling home tonight, as a result of the RMT’s unilateral tube strike. Doubtless many of these people, like me, have had meetings or appointments cancelled, turned up late for work or lost business. Indeed, it is said that each day there is such a public transport strike in London, the capital’s economy loses tens of millions of pounds. People miss planes and tourists get pissed off, vowing never to return to such a shambolic city. Tomorrow, unless there is some miraculous resolution of the dispute, or else more underground train drivers defy the union’s diktat (as some did today), there will be yet more misery and chaos. Things are unlikely to get back to normal until Friday morning.

Underground signSo what, exactly, has RMT chief Bob Crow achieved, other than further alienating the long-suffering traveling public (something he seems to delight in doing), snarling up the capital’s traffic and causing overstretched bus drivers great stress? There he was on the picket line at Seven Sisters this morning, looking like a superanuated bovver-boy, being paid more per year than most of us will ever be, but proclaiming to be the champion of the ‘workers’. It’s interesting to note that the train drivers themselves earn considerably more than the average wage. Moreover, at a time when so many people are seeing their busineses fail or fear for their own jobs, the last thing Londoners needed was  a kick in the shins from Crow and Co. However, in 2009 he and his ilk do look like dinosaurs, so maybe they should be kept out of harm’s way in the Natural History Museum in South Kensington along with the others.

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More Victoria Line Misery. Thanks, Bob Crow!

Posted by jonathanfryer on Wednesday, 20th May, 2009

Bob CrowThe Victoria Line, which provides a particularly invaluable service for people living at either end — Wathamstow and Brixton — has been subject to repeated weekend closures over the past couple of years, because of engineering work. But from late this evening (unless long-suffering passengers are given a last-minute reprieve), the line will shut down again — this time because of a strike by the Rail, Maritime and Transport Union (RMT). The RMT union’s chief, Bow Crow, has been aptly described by the BBC as the man his critics love to hate and I confess he sets my teeth on edge — with rage. As someone who relies 100 per cent on public transport, I am sick to death of being victimised by trade unionists who say they are defending their members’ rights. Sometimes the strikes are about issues of safety, which in principle is a worthy cause. But such matters should be settled through discussion between unions and management, not by inflicting inconvenience and financial losses on passengers who depend on public transport to get to work.

So, you can imagine how pleased I was to get a leaflet through my door this morning with Bob Crow’s picture on it — as the Number 1 on the list of the ‘No2EU’ group standing in the European elections, on a so-called ‘progressive alliance’ ticket against EU  policies. The leaflet asks whether recipients are concerned that EU economic policies do not benefit ordinary people, to which the obvious response is ‘Mr Crow, are you not concerned that your strikes do not benefit ordinary people?’ I shall carry Mr Crow’s leaflet in my pocket, and if I run into him or any RMT official tomorrow, will tell him where he can stuff it.

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