Wednesday 12 March 2014

The Crow Road

When Margaret Thatcher died the obituaries written years beforehand were taken down, dusted off and liberally published across the globe. World leaders lined up to pay glowing tribute and she was afforded what amounted to a de-facto state funeral. Bob Crow got Twitter. At only 52 and on his usual ebullient form, nobody expected the burly communist bear of the RMT Union to go out with a whisper. A lone voice called for a state funeral via an e-Petition, which was rejected out of hand; some would say a fitting response from the establishment he fought hard to oppose.

I missed the Twitterfest, but I gather it was mostly good-humoured variations on the themes of Buster Bloodvessel comparisons and suppositions that at least a London council house would shortly be available. One I did see and retweet was to the effect that finally, like many unfortunate Tube passengers suffering the numerous strikes he orchestrated, he was now ‘The Late’ Mr Crow. There certainly wasn’t the visceral, seething hatred that was spat out when the great lady passed, in fact many on the right showed grudging respect for his formidable and indefatigable devotion to the cause. There was no murder of Crows.

Of course, wee Owen Jones was bereft, but later the fragile boy got all teary when Toby Young challenged the way he and his ilk eulogised the big man. Given that, by all accounts, Bob liked a laugh and despised the modern diversity-driven milksop version of the world he would probably not have given the drippy little tosspot the time of day. Anyway, he must have had a sense of humour if his ideal world was a Socialist Workers’ paradise – like Cuba, perhaps? Or Venezuela.

Many sought to lionise his stalwart championing of his own workers’ rights, holding the capital to ransom, making travelling across London more than three times the cost of an equivalent journey across Paris and inflating tube drivers’ wages to over twice that of a nurse. Odd then, that having pushed his members’ salaries into the 40% tax bracket, he didn’t then lobby for tax cuts for higher wage earners? It’s a tricky business, this socialism, isn’t it? And then of course there’s the oft-mentioned matter of his own remuneration.

One of twitter’s Reds made the point that he was paid entirely out of the willing contributions of his union members and didn’t take money directly from the state like, for instance, every MP in the land. But then that surely made him an exemplar for capitalism and free market pay bargaining; how could he then complain about banks doing the very same thing? As this Spectatorblog suggests, he was very nearly a Conservative.

Whether you saw him as the scourge of the ruling class or a heroic warrior for social justice; whether you believe his brand of communism was lunacy or utopia; love him or loathe him he’s gone now. If he ruffled your feathers there’s no need to Crow about it. No reason to get in a flap, the pecking order is clear. He fell off his perch and squawks no more. Maybe after that Brazilian holiday he just came back too orangey for Crows.

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