Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Jack Jones 1913-2009

Jack Jones, one of the most influential trade-union leaders of our times has died aged 96.

Once voted the most powerful man in Britain, he had a very good innings by any standard. Under his leadership the Transport and General Workers Union reached a membership of 2.2 million. He saw it all; the General Strike, The Spanish Civil War when he fought with the International Brigades and Beer 'n' Sandwiches at No 10.

He had strong views on the way to do things, once saying, "I regarded every trade unionist as my brother or sister, unless they acted in an unco-operative way."

Obituaries of Jack Jones here, here, here and here.

Former KGB colonel, Oleg Gordievsky has popped up claiming that he paid Jones the princely sum of £200 for information. Jack Jones vigorously denied such charges in his lifetime, calling them a "slur and an outrage". I'm not sure that he needed to bother, those who spent time in the KGB's employ were notoriously prone to poor mental health outcomes; among other things Gordievsky has described the BBC as "The Red Service", arguing perhaps more optimistically than factually thus:

"Just listen with attention to the ideological nuances on Radio 4, BBC Television and the BBC World Service and you will realise that communism is not a dying creed."

Bonkers but a good note to end it on nonetheless. Let's raise the red flag to Jack Jones.

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