The piece from Shiraz that I’ve re-blogged below is a good take on the rather sad fall of Arthur Scargill.
Although, like Hugo Chavez, far from perfect, his was an essentially honourable career in the Labour movement and time has vindicated him over the miners strike and the Tory government’s agenda-destroying a powerful battalion of organised workers who stood against them.
How sad then that he has been reduced to clinging on to an expensive grace and favour flat funded by a union who can no longer afford it. Whatever he may have done in years gone by gives him no justification in behaving like this. His ego consumed him long ago, as his lamentable record in the now largely defunct Socialist Labour Party amply demonstrates. He comes across now as a rather embarrassing, deluded figure living off past glories. In part it his age I’m sure (it will happen to us all eventually, no doubt) but his potential character flaws have been in evidence for a very long time, and his mushy, pro-Soviet, vehemently anti-democratic, socialism-from-above politics won’t have helped either.
It worries me greatly when I hear about union bureaucrats having huge salaries and ‘perks’ like flats. There is no justification for £100k+salaries. I would have thought there must be huge mileage for the left in the labour movement campaigning on issues like this and committing to only taking the average salary of the workers they represent, and refusing any perks. Seeing union bureaucrats behaving like corrupt politicians, especially as with a few honourable exceptions they have a pretty poor track recent record of looking after their members jobs and conditions, is I’m sure one of the many reasons why many people are so turned off joining a union.
Sadly the demonstration outside the Tory Party conference in Birmingham mentioned by the piece was missed by the Mambo, who normally likes to toddle along to these affairs if he has time. However, a 14 mile run this morning was a bigger priority with The Great Birmingham Run onlky two weeks away now, and demos in Birmingham are terribly disillusioning. Evidence of my decadent, petty-bourgeois dilettantism, I’m sure you’ll agree.
And I also had to test one of my old bikes out that I’d spend yesterday afternoon making roadworthy after being the victim of the heinous crime I alluded to yesterday. You’ll be all terribly relieved to here that it I am now back in business.