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This review is from: On the Rails (Hardcover)
His second book, this one deals mostly with his time as General Secretary of the NUR, and his many tribulations. Firstly, whist reading this I thought that his job would really only appeal to a sadist due to the sheer hard negotiating taking place and the times that required banging his head against a brick wall. His views are well put forward and the most of them make complete common sense. The back story is a complete triumph over sense and democracy, but what did it bring? These posturings lead to the defeat of Labour in 1979, making them unelectable again until a much paler metamorphosis appeared. Candidates of the cloth of Dennis Skinner and the late Bessie Braddock are unlikely ever to be Labour politicians again. No more " of the people " candidates will ever get a look in. Like most of the UK, politics is all about image not abilities. The big mistake post 1979 was not learning from the previous errors, but to compound them. To get Labour re-elected meant the party and the unions fighting together, unity is strength after all. This never happened. The NUR is no more, now part of the combined RMT, with a fraction of the membership of the former. These very damaging times for working people led to the emasculation of the union movement, the devastating loss of jobs and the destruction of communities, which is still with us today almost forty years on. If any of these disruptives are with us today are they proud of what they did? To borrow a very salient phrase from somewhere else, the membership generally, were " lions led by donkeys". Today the word union appears to mean enemy of the country and anachronism. How sad, but their glory days are over and will not return. Governments aren't willing to be seen negotiating with them, their voices are not listened to and by definition neither are the people at the bottom of "society" ( not my words ). This is a country only for the affluent middle class, just look at the benches in the House of Commons. This book is a very good read, an example of how to throw everything away and a great footnote to troubled times for students of politics or recent history. A great and good man has left his mark. Be sure to read his other book first.