A tragic death, yes. But in the name of sanity why are so many sanctifying Bob Crow?
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Last year, two days after Baroness Thatcher died, Crow expressed a fervent hope that she would 'rot in hell'. There seems no reason why others should not now judge him as he once judged others.
Crow was a Marxist, Trotskyite, socialist — call him what you will, he was never sure himself — who saw class war as an ongoing smash-and-grab raid, in which his own function was to blackmail and bludgeon the keepers of the public purse to give his members whatever he could get for them, at whatever cost to innocent bystanders and taxpayers.
Here was a man who told a TUC conference: 'If you spit on your own, you can't do anything, but if you all spit together, you can drown the b******s.' When asked one day his view of an opinion poll which showed that the public was disgusted and enraged by his use of strikes as a weapon of first resort, Crow shrugged contemptuously: 'The only poll I’m concerned about is that of our members.'
He kept in his office a bust of Lenin, one of the 20th-century's major mass murderers. He called his dog Castro, in honour of the Cuban leader who has made his island a byword for poverty and repression. When told that some London businesses were threatened with bankruptcy as a result of transport strikes, he dismissed them as 'casualties of war'.
Crow played a role in British life similar to that which Arthur Scargill occupied in the Eighties, but much more successfully.
A friend who sometimes met Crow in TV studios told me yesterday that he found the man amazingly pleasant, and I am sure he was. Like Gilbert and Sullivan's off-duty burglar, 'he loved to hear the little brook a gurgling, and listen to the merry village chime'.
But Crow also did untold harm to the interests of the travelling public, and was shameless in admitting that he did not care a fig about the pain and financial damage he caused.
We need not now express such hopes as Crow did about Thatcher, for an afterlife of misery. May he rest in peace.
But none of us, save his fellow-comrades beneath the Red Flag, should have to pretend that Britain is a worse place without him.