The myriad of articles in the papers today, which report the death of former union boss Jack Jones, seem to have built him up into an almost God-like figure. For those of a younger age, he was leader of the Transport & General Workers' Union from 1969 to 1978 and later became a spokesman for the elderly (a role in which he was very effective).
I hold a very different view of Jack Jones. He was part of a group of union leaders in the 1970s who exercised their power in truly disgusting manner, calling strikes on a whim (and without a proper ballot) and intimidating those who didn't agree with them. It was Jack Jones and his ilk who brought Britain to its knees and rendered much of our manufacturing sector totally uncompetitive. Because of people like him that Britain became known as the sick man of Europe.
It was Jack Jones who signed the Aldington-Jones agreement in 1971 which guaranteed dockers a job for life and enshrined restrictive practices into law, thereby blighting ports like London and Liverpool for nearly two decades.
No, Jack Jones was not a hero. But I guess we do owe him a debt of gratitude. For it was the behaviour of people like him who made Margaret Thatcher's election inevitable.
Spot on Iain. I too remember him and his like.
What was it that Calvin quipped? Something about even Satan serving as God's lackey?
There does seem to be a rule these days that obituaries have to be gushing with praise for the recently deceased.
We should be careful when exercising this though. When the day comes that Mrs Thatcher passes away, the lefties will be out at their most revolting.
"No, Jack Jones was not a hero. But I guess we do owe him a debt of gratitude. For it was the behaviour of people like him who made Margaret Thatcher's election inevitable.". . . and in her turn, Thatcher ensured that we would never ever return to that doctrinaire and cynical brand of Conservative politics which she so personified.
So we totally agree Iain! :)
Maybe I'm old fashioned, but this post strikes me as in poor taste, given his recent passing.
We can be grateful that if it was not for Jones and his moronic union friends we would not have the wonderful Tory union legislation that is still on the books and keeps the unions in line.
It is perhaps the most significant difference between this recession and the last one under Labour that the unions are firmly in their coral having to weigh any potential strike action against possible court sequestration of their assets.
I agree with you absolutely, Iain, but I think a couple of the reasons Jack Jones has had a better obituary press than he might in other circumstances are a)his championing of pensioners; and b) the fact that he does not seem to have been concerned for personal wealth or luxury in his life - wrecking the country sufficient recompense for him!
Mark, if we slagged off Castro after his death, would that be in bad taste? Jones and Castro are of the same ilk, both wanted to bring their countries under communist rule, and one suceeded.
My reaction was that he was wounded while assisting with raping nuns and murdering priests in Spain. He returned to Britain as a Communist and undermined the war effort until his orders from Moscow changed. In the cold war he did everything possible to wreck the British economy. The fact that he lived so long makes me, almost, become and atheist.
In poor taste?
Jones and his union thugs prevented dead bodies from being cremated in the '70s, thanks to their stranglehold over their union members.
THAT is poor taste.
"Maybe I'm old fashioned, but this post strikes me as in poor taste, given his recent passing."
The timing is questionable, the content is spot on.
I agree with Mark: de mortuis nil nisi bonum dicendum est or words to that effect.
I too remember the bully boy tactics of the 70s union bosses.
I was beginning to wonder if it was just me - good to read that my recall isn't completely faulty.
I'm all for speaking no ill for the dead - however airbrushing out the bits that don't suit isn't what an obit is about.
Mark: the truth is often uncomfortable, but it needs to be said!
Labour do have a tendency to go over the top with the claims for any who die. Just wait for Michael Foot to go when we will probably be told he was the Greatest Prime Minister We Never Had. I hate to think what they will say of T BLiar and G Broon when they go.
Totally agree Iain. Age does not mean forgetting even if we choose to forgive.
And as to Mrs Thatcher's passing, I've warned all the bitter types I know that if they gloat, celebrate or look even vaguely cheery I will...how can I put it...remonstrate with them.
Mark 3.01 If you were prepared to do things when you are living, then you should be prepared for the rest of us to remember them when you are dead.
Your description is spot on indeed. It was he and his ilk who did enormous damage to this country (almost as much as the present shower).
Since when has telling the truth been in poor taste?
Seems a shame some in the present government can't tell the truth!
I think that there is a distinction between "de mortuis nil nisi bonum" and anticipating the re-writing of history. Iain's comments are not about Jack Jones's personal characteristics, but the wholly regrettable outcomes of his deeds. For example, Liverpool's population had been declining since the 1930s, but the loss peaked at 104,000 people between 1971 and 1981; just 24,000 left in the next (Thatcherite) decade.
You're old fashioned, as well as being a humourless Labour troll.
Good riddance to the golden days of Jones, Scanlon, Scargill and Jack Dash.
Before Thatcher, they were herded into factory yards in their donkey jackets to to vote on wildcat strikes.
God help the poor sap who didn't put his hand up.
I cannot agree with Mark. Why should we re-write an individuals personal history when they die? There is nothing remotely personal in Iain's remarks. We are all a mixture of the good the bad and the ugly. Shuffling off the mortal coil doesn't change that. It's sad for Mr Jones family but let's not forget what he and his fellow Union Barons represented. I remember. Working with paraffin lamps on the desk as an apprentice (yes they existed) surveyor. RIP!
As a member of the International Brigade he literally fought for what he believed, lived a pretty simple life and served the millions of people who elected him rather than those who would do them ill.
Yeah, it's tough for Tories to deal with people like Jack Jones because when they don't roll over to have their tummies tickled they can only resort to smear and abuse.
...and some of your posters have the gall to complain that people are going to speak ill of Thatcher when she pops her clogs.
Mark - perhaps perhaps - but if I get to 96, people can say what the chuff they like. The people who will be affected by this are his family & chums and no-one can dispute the fact that for a bloke to get to 96 kinda reduces the grief a bit - bloody good innings etc etc.
I'm only 34 so have no personal opinion of the dude but he sounds like a bit of a ejeet.
If he brought the country to his knees by fighting for the rights of the worker, than what Thatcher did - well I suspect it's like the Black Knight Sketch in Monty Python.
The old style ways of the Unions lopped an arm off - thatcher went at the working communties and lopped off the other limbs leaving us a bedraggled country.
Thanks for that. I thought it was just me.
Nil nisi bonum? Bollox. Pol Pot and Hitler, anyone? And Madoff can't go a moment too soon, either.
Iain, when Margaret Thatcher dies, God willing if I am still blogging away the chances are that whilst I would not be above criticising her and pointing out her faults, I would also point out where I believe she had virtues and this is a woman who I strongly disagree with politically and who I feel damaged some of the social and cultural framework of this country.
Am saddened then, that whilst I appreciate you felt the need to criticise Jack Jones you did not mention his virtues either!
Hilarious, Huge Embarrassment for Brown as sleaze watchdog rejects daily rate plan for MPs in new blow for Brown's expenses reform.
Gordon Brown's plan to give MPs a 'clocking-in' allowance was in doubt today after Britain's anti-sleaze boss warned that the public would not tolerate it.
Sir Christopher Kelly, chairman of the Committee on Standards in Public Life, said voters would not back a system where politicians were paid without receipts.
What is Brown thinking?
One of the problems we all (those not involved with unions that is), had to put up with when Jones, Scanlon etc. were in control of UK plc, was that the grip they had on the country was proven as belonging to an unelected leadership, intent on inward looking self preservation.
Sounds familiar today that...
I met him once.He was a nice bloke.
He was in fact one of the more responsible trade union leaders hence his popularity.
Yes, Labour always take things too far and ruin the country. The present circumstance is not an exception...........
Mark: I don't think this post is in poor taste. I am not one who says something about a person when they are alive and then say something different when they have died. Neither does Iain by the sound of it.
Jack Jones was largely responsible for the chaos of industrial strife in the 70s. At one point the nation asked the question if he was running the country. I have no time for him or his kind, either in life or death.
Forlonehope: "assisting with raping nuns and murdering priests in Spain"
Would it be too much expect a little proof for this?
I guess by putting in the word "assistance" you mean "was on the same side as some people who did bad things in war", which pretty much covers every soldier who has ever fought in any conflict.
Still at least you were brave enough to wait until he was dead to write these libels.
He was a great working class hero.
I would have thought many readers would like him because he was always so anti-EEC.
Philc....you may not like it but raping and killing is what the side HE supported actually did. There is well documented proof and you dont have to look far to find it...
This nasty little commie, one of the original cloth cap colonels, who tried hard to bring Britain to its knees simply wont be missed....
Forlornehope was spot-on
The Communists were responsible for murdering large numbers of Catholic clergy and religious.
Imagine a Soviet-controlled Spain had they won; a Soviet Russia and Scandinavia allied with Hitler's continental Europe. Or a victorious Stalin taking the lot. Or a victorious Hitler....
At least El Caudillo stayed neutral.
"I agree with you absolutely, Iain, but I think a couple of the reasons Jack Jones has had a better obituary press than he might in other circumstances are a)his championing of pensioners; and b) the fact that he does not seem to have been concerned for personal wealth or luxury in his life..."
In marked contrast to today's crop of politically-motivated, scheming, greedy union 'leaders'...
Working class hero? He helped destroy Britain's manufacturing base. He and his ilk never outgrew the 1930s.
Sir Oleg Gordievsky, as the DT obit reminds us, averred that Jones was a long-term KGB asset for pay and out of ideological commitment. In short he was a traitor who gave information useful to a potential enemy.
Jones denied this, as well he might, but never sued Sir Oleg for defamation. This is unsurprising since Mr. Gordievsky knew, because of his work here in the UK as a KGB officer, about such things and has, in his turn, been of some service to The State. I would rather take his word for it than that of Mr. Jones who spent much of his life doing his level best to bring about the fall of this country into the hands of his ideological soulmates.
I am glad he lived till he was 95: he therefore had some thirty years of contemplating how he and his ilk brought about the Thatcher government and the subsequent vasectomising of the Trades Unions. Having every day of that time to swallow the bitter pill that he had done as much as anyone to bring her time must have made his retirement a wretched one.
Blessed Rita Dolores Pujalte Sanchez, aged 83, & Companions, died July 20, 1936.
In 1888, she entered the Sisters of Charity. In 1928, she retired to devote herself to prayer at Saint Susanna's College in Madrid.
On July 20, 1936, armed revolutionaries attacked Saint Susanna's College, firing shots.
The superior asked the soldiers to allow the blind, 83-year-old Mother Rita and the sick Sister Francisca to leave. The two took refuge in a nearby apartment. Two hours later a group of armed revolutionaries dragged the two elderly sisters down the stairs and took them to a Madrid suburb, near the town of Canillejas. There the soldiers forced the two sisters out of the car and shot them.
The religious persecution intensified in early 1936. Realizing the danger of remaining in Madrid, the Visitation community moved to Oronoz, leaving behind a group of six nuns in the charge of Sister Maria Gabriela do Hinojosa. They were confined to their apartment. An antireligious neighbor reported them to the authorities.
A patrol of the Iberian Anarchist Federation broke into the apartment. The sisters were taken by van to a vacant area. As they held hands a barrage of gunfire shattered their bodies, except for the 26-year- old Maria Cecilia, who had unwittingly started to run when she felt the sister next to her fall. Moments afterwards she surrendered. Five days later she was shot at the cemetery wall in Vallecas on the outskirts of Madrid.
From here but all in the public domain.
Hell hath no fury like a Leftie scorned (and his pals).
Was the video sponsored by Total Politics magazine or were you practicing your magazine balancing skills earlier today? :-)
I must admit I hadn't realised how popular the late Caudillo was amongst you lot.
Just don't get upset then when half the country is p******* on Thatcher's grave before she's cold.
As a true socialist he sent one, maybe both of this sons to grammar school in Coventry.
Nothing is too good for the workers'(representatatives).
Too Right. His is hardly a legacy to be proud of.
Yes, he was a nice bloke. He was also a most interesting man but in retrospect could not have been more wrong. One day someone will write a book about the influence he and his barons had and what the consequences were. Not Seumas Milne but someone objective who lived through the seventies.
Might even do it myself.
Very fair piece, Iain.
This man caused an enormous amount of damage to our way of life. Also cost the nation billions.
Just seen your update Iain...well said and both accurate and timely.
Forlornehope: I like the way you've moved from insinuating that Jones raped nuns to condemning him for supporting a side which carried out such atrocities. At this rate of u-turns you'll be a Stalinst in a couple of hours.
Did atrocities take place on both sides? Yes. Were they a deliberate war policy of the International Brigades? No. In fact the anti-Franco forces were a diverse bunch - Russian agents were closer to killing George Orwell than anyone else.
Jones seemed very open about what he stood for and where his loyalties lay.
And unlike your hero Franco he had a mandate through the ballot box to represent his members.
Maybe its the thought that he had that mass of organised working people behind him that brings out the fear and loathing in your posts.
"Millions of people who elected him"? What millions? How many actually voted for him, how many had the choice of anyone more moderate, and how many of those seriously thought he should have the power to do the damage he did? What about the far greater numbers who he held to ransom for the spurious "rights" of the people he claimed to represent?
As for the Spanish civil war, atrocities against the church were a matter of policy from the communists who took over the Republican side and made war on behalf of a foreign power, the Soviet Union. That makes it completely different to fight for them that to fight for an army which has a small number of individuals who commit offences and are prosecuted for them. Of course atrocities were a matter of policy on both sides, but that does not excuse fighting for one.
Was the video sponsored by Total Politics magazine or were you practicing your magazine balancing skills earlier today? :-)Sorry Iain but that is quite a funny comment. How long did it take to get that balancing act set up? The word precarious springs to mind.
Looking forward to the new issue.
Agree with several posters, don't say we didn't warn you when Thatch goes.
The Germans apologised for Nazism, paid reperations etc and had the leaders put on trial, occasional individuals are still put on trial even today.
Russia has never even apologised for the obscenity that was communism, a system that made the Nazis look like amateurs. Even in the UK spies & fellow travellers were often let off lightly e.g. Blunt
For Spain, also see The Black Book of Communism, chapter 17.
You paint a strange view of docker history. Before the likes of Jack Jones, dockers were often wholly marginalised workers who were subject to "day at a time" hiring, taken on or fired with no rights whatever. It was union struggle that changed that. There is an argument that the unions went too far, but at the time when that agreement was negotiated, the docks were not in decline, nor did they decline because of the agreement - it was higher investment in places like Rotterdam and a transfer of trade to containers. Holland by the way had very similar labour rules for dockers to those negotiated by the TGWU.
I could say something about cheap point scoring and smug managerialist Tory triumphalism but I won't.
The TGWU did go too far, as did other unions in the 70s, but you have to look at the background to see why.
iain, you should deffinitly do more vlogging.
To help contradict Iain Dale's trite, simplistic character assasination of Jack Jones (motivated by Thatcherite feelings), I thought I would post excerpts from his Wikipedia entry (Jones's).
Jones was born in Garston, Liverpool. He left school at 14 and worked as an engineering apprentice. After the Wall Street Crash, Jones lost his job, eventually finding employment with a firm of signmakers and painters. He then joined his father as a Liverpool docker.
Jack Jones was converted to socialism by reading The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists by Robert Tressell, and he later explained how the book "was passed from hand to hand among people in the Labour movement and had a remarkable effect on our thinking." He became a member of the Transport and General Workers Union, and was elected shop steward, then a delegate on the National Docks Group Committee.
Spanish Civil War
Strongly opposed to the British Union of Fascists and their leader Oswald Mosley, Jones organized protest-meetings against the fascists in Liverpool, and was beaten up by a group of Blackshirts armed with knuckle-dusters. In 1936 at the start of the Spanish Civil War, Jones joined and served with the British Battalion of the XV International Brigade, and was seriously wounded at the Battle of Ebro in 1938. In the 1960s this led him to demand that British people -- including the members of his own Union - should be forbidden from taking holidays in Spain (Franco being then still alive), which was not generally popular.
World War II
On his return to England, Jones became a full-time official of the TGWU in Coventry. During World War II he helped to keep the city's munitions industry working through the Blitz. Jones played a key role in organising the workforce of the West Midlands motor industry in the postwar period as Regional Secretary of the TGWU. During this time he was a strong supporter of the shop steward movement aimed at promoting trade union and industrial democracy. He was an early supporter of the Institute for Workers' Control. While Assistant General Secretary of the union and a member of the National Executive Committee of the Labour Party, he chaired the Labour Party policy group on Industrial Democracy.
To tell the truth in times like this is little short of a revolutionary act. Vive La Dale!
wv - unianker !! who writes the algo for these?
Franco had a simple and refreshing policy towards communists, he shot them on principle.
You should try and do more videos like this, Iain. It seems to work extremely well.
wv: broken. I kid you not.
wow you put all the weight back on.
Well said - Iain, it echoes my own view.
Who the hell cares what Wikipedia says. Anyone can write those entries. Those of us who lived through the seventies know the kind of bullying, ignorant, backward-looking clique people like Jones created. Who do you think voted for Thatcher? Many of her supporters were working class folk who were sick of being told how they should think by carthorses like Jones. People like him handed Britain to Thatcher on a plate.
Yes; I remember in 1973 walking past Manchester docks & being dragged into a Union meeting - it was made abundantly clear that I would be beaten up if I didn't put my hand up in answer to the 'Those in favour'
No; I wasn't a docker; had no wish to attend & no right to vote - as the enforcers knew damned well.
The Union leaders of the 70's were NOT working for workers' rights; they were working for the imposition of a communist state. They were traitors.
Every war has its individuals who are despicable and it goes without saying I am disgusted and deplore the persecution of the Catholic Church during the Spanish Civil War, but let us also not forget that Franco was a Fascist who had a fairly cosy relationship with the likes of Hitler and Mussolini, I wonder just how okay some of the Franco apologists who have posted here are with that!
This may have been pointed out, but you do realise that you have lost any moral high ground when Thatcher dies? Also, don't I remember some faux outrage about when Alex Hilton posted the his Thatcher's dead story by 'mistake'? You're usually reasonable consistent and fair (for a partisan blogger), but you will lose respect out of this.
@ Paul Burgin said...
"...but let us also not forget that Franco was a Fascist who had a fairly cosy relationship with the likes of Hitler and Mussolini,..."
So did Stalin have a cosy relationship with Hitler up to Barbarossa.
Btw, I'm not an apologist for Franco, merely like his attitude and method for dealing with communists.
below the belt ian to kick a dead man shame on you
I wonder if Iain Dale shares your love of faschists Jabba? Maybe you're in the wrong blog? It's notable though that toadying to Nazis was a common theme of Tories in the 30s, with of course the honorable exception of WS Churchill and his devoted but smallish band of supporters.
and a transfer of trade to containers.Which reminds me of a pay rise demand from dockers at this time, the reason given that containers made it difficult to steal from cargos so they needed an increase to make up for that !
@ DespairingLiberal said...
"I wonder if Iain Dale shares your love of faschists Jabba? Maybe you're in the wrong blog?"I have no love for fascism or communism coming from a culture that has direct experience of both forms of totalitarianism. However, that does not mean that I can't like Franco's solution for dealing with communists. It is a perfectly logical solution to a particular problem.
"he literally fought for what he believed"
So what! So do Islamist terrorists.
When the economic history books are written they will say that the power of the trade unions was in fact exaggerated by the press and many others during that period.
Poor management accounted for much of Britain's economic decline during the last century.
I'm reminded of when Robert Maxwell died. I think it might have been John Major who said that since you shouldn't speak ill of the dead he wasn't going to say anything at all!
Iain, you are right to be frank about this.
Maybe those pensioners that Jack defended would not have needed so much defending had our country not been hobbled, impoverished, denuded of competitive industry and undermined by the Union leaders who, lets face it, were using mob rule for their own undemocratic, arrogant political ends. All those people who crap on about Mrs T wrecking or destroying are just in denial. The likes of JJ were the true destroyers of wealth and jobs.
As for those who moan about your stance, well, wait until the day Mrs T is no longer with us. Keep those names today. Iain, and when they get all foaming and frothy, call them what they are - hypocrites. Not only that, they will still be wrong, no matter how many times they repeat a lie, it remains a lie.
"If he brought the country to his knees by fighting for the rights of the worker, than what Thatcher did - well I suspect it's like the Black Knight Sketch in Monty Python."
Which worker are you talking about? All right, so I realise that the amount of work that actually went on in Britain throughout the 1970s could probably have been handled comfortably by one person, but I suspect that wasn't quite what you meant. Why do the left so often refer to workers in the singular? Could it be that you believe they're all really the same, just a bunch of faceless grunts to be directed according to the whims of the centre? On the right we think of people as individuals, each of equal intrinsic value to the next, but in all other respects totally unique. There are workers. There are people. Outside of the imagination, there is no mass.
Meanwhile, Anonymous @ 9.56 (and others who wrote similarly), which planet are you on, exactly? You guys seem to think that because Iain Dale has written a critical obituary of a trade unionist, that suddenly gives you the green light to slag off Thatcher when she dies; I like and respect Iain, but never imagined he had the godlike power to affect the appropriateness of other people's behaviour under circumstances only tenuously related to those of anything he does.
In the 1970s the TGWU had a membership of 2 million individuals.
Jack Jones was no hero, but a hard left despot who didn't give a flying you know what for democracy and democratically elected governments. I well remember the power cuts of the mid 70s, as I was doing my researcxh then and would find my long term experiments sabotaged by a sudden cut off of electricity. Fortunately we were then able to tap into the hospital generator and use that power so we were able to withstand this problem, but only after about 2 months of interruptions. OK, this affected me personally and I well remember how angry I was with these unions sabotaging me and the entire country. As you say, they paved the way for Maggie's move to downing street. God bless her. I mean that too.
If anybody thinks Trade Unions did not contribute to the relatively poor economic performance of the UK in the 1970's they are deluding themselves.
Note how the Japanese companies that set up in 1970s in NE England had good labour relations.
You are right of course, except about the date. Nissan set up its car factory in Sunderland in 1986.
The first Japanese company to set up in England in the 1970s was a zip company.I remember seeing the factories displaying Japanese names in the NE from the train as I was on the way to Scotland.In fact on one train ride I remember watching people talking to a group of Japanese executives who were in the same carriage as me.
Of course the Japanese set up plants in Britain to access the EEC (EU) market.
Japanese companies in the NE
Dainippon Ink 1977
YKK-Fasteners was in fact in 1981.
How can you make so many mistakes in such a short post?
For a start the attacks on the Catholic Church were not by a few. They were a matter of policy for the Republicans once the hard left had got a strong influence. There were many other crimes, icluding killing hundreds of the International Brigade, supposedly on the same side (but presumably not as supportve as Jack Jones was).
Yes Franco got a lot of support from Hotler and Mussolini, but he really rather used them. Apart from helping to develop the tactics they then used in the war, the Germans and Italians got remarkably little in return. I am not arguing that Franco was a good person in any way, but he was not as bad as often assumed and certainly nowhere near as bad as any Communist government I can currently think of.
Franco was also not a fascist, although he did associate with fascists. He tended to be right-wing, whereas fascists are left-wing.
I also don't see a single post by a Franco apologist. People have argued that fighting in Spain is not to Jones's credit. Part of that argument is to show how Franco and the Nationalists were no worse than the Republicans, so fighting against him was no excuse for siding with different murderous totalitarianists.
I had not noticed before this video, but you sound just like Rick Stein - do you cook fish and have a jack russell too?
Blackacre, I hate fish, but I do have a Jack Russell. Whenever I am on the radio I get emails saying the same thing. Him or Simon Schama.
In the words of a taxi driver in Gibraltar,"Franco 'e no good".
Franco was the leader of the Falangists and the economy of Spain was run on syndicalist lines until it almost went bankrupt.
Notwithstanding the economic reforms, Franco took Spain to edge of bankrupcy a second time.This time the Americans bailed him out in return for allowing American bases on Spanish soil.
No reason you shouldn't criticise him. The left should also be asking searching questions about his activities in Spain before canonising him.
And your right, I wouldn't hold back from criticing the 'auld whore from No 10' as Christy Moore called her just because she was no longer alive.
Absolutely Spot On Iain.
Jack Jones and his Red Robbo militants did more than anything to bring about the demise of great British motor manufacturers - it's a miracle that Thatcher managed to turn around things sufficiently in Britain that foreign manufacturers started to come here - but it was too late, alas, to prevent the demise of several great companies.
Of all of Thatcher's legacies, it's her turnaround of Britain's decades-long industrial anarchy, as meted out by Jack Jones and his ilk, that she will be remembered.
Its worth noting that his brand of socialism nearly destroyed the labour party too, there are labour members who disliked him too,
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