I have just presided over a minute's silence in respect of Bob Crow and Tony Benn with BA labour and trade union students who are here at Ruskin this weekend. We are fortunate to have Steve Skelly with us as part of the 2010 cohort, and who sits on the NEC of the RMT, to provide a personal perspective on the leadership and personality of Bob Crow.
Many thanks to Andy Danforth of UWE for forwarding the two pictures below, taken by Robert Byford a PhD student at UWE and researching the last dispute at BA.
This has been an incredibly difficult week for the British labour movement, and I don't feel I have much to add amongst the massive outpouring of commentary and retrospectives, so I'll just comment from a personal perspective, and leave you with some of my favourite quotes of Crow and Benn.
Before I do though, I should add that the title for the posting draws on the chapter from the book by Richard Lewis, Teachers and Leaders. The book examines the impact of miners on the development of worker education in the UK, and in particular the impact of the South Wales Miners Federation (SWMF) in sending miners as trade union activists to Ruskin College, and thereafter what happened to workers' education through the rise of the Pleb's League and the creation of the labour colleges movement.
For me, the link with Bob Crow and Tony Benn was firstly their very proud association with Ruskin College, and secondly their acknowledgement that movements for social justice typically rest of the acquisition of a layer of knowledge on the part of working class women and men.