BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: UK: Politics  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
England
N Ireland
Scotland
Wales
Politics
Education
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
EDITIONS
Monday, 9 September, 2002, 15:45 GMT 16:45 UK
Churchill eyes working class movement

The face of Winston Churchill looked down benevolently over the first ever Morning Star rally at the Trade Union Congress in Blackpool.

As a succession of left-wingers stood up to hail the rebirth of the "working class movement", the great wartime Conservative leader seemed strangely out of place.


The working class movement is behind the British public's wish that there is no war,

Mick Rix
Aslef
But then so did old blue eyes - yes, Frank Sinatra was there too.

Well their portraits were. It is not entirely clear why.

The realisation caused no small amount of annoyance to train drivers' leader Mick Rix, who apologised to his comrades for the venue - the Joe Longthorne Music Hall no less.

Then the heady business of politics could get underway - to a background of Louis Armstrong singing Mack the Knife.

Simpson on show

Rix chaired the meeting which was addressed by Fire Brigades Union president elect Ruth Winters, Judy McKnight of the National Association of Probation Officers and Morning Star Editor John Haylett.

But the man they had all come to see was the general secretary elect of Amicus Derek Simpson.

Mick Rix, from train drivers movement Aslef
Rix apologised for the venue
Simpson, you may recall, was the man who was reported as saying he would give Prime Minister Tony Blair a "f****ing migraine".

But the self-proclaimed unknown former communist insisted he had been misquoted.

He had employed the term "flipping", he said to much chortling.

Simpson may be newly noticed in the press as the latest hardliner to take control of a union but he has a clear view on media relations.

Democratic union

Say something you mean, deny it and then you've got your message across. That, he says, is spin.

There was a lot of levity during Simpson's speech but he had some serious messages for his people.

He wanted his members to decide their future and he would carry out their wishes when it came to pay and conditions.

The AEEU/Amicus would be the most democratic in the UK, he said.

And he insisted that those that had told the Left they should "modernise or die" during the years the Conservatives held power for nearly two decades had got it wrong.

"It's modernise and die," he said to rapturous applause.

'No' to war

Referring back to a BBC interview in which he said he did not want to meet the prime minister, Simpson joked: "I don't have anything to say to Tony Blair and I don't want to take his time when he's busy preparing to go to war with Iraq."

He added: "None of us want to see a war of any description at any time if we can help it."

That echoed the views of Mick Rix at the beginning of the meeting.

"The working class movement is behind the British public's wish that there is no war," he said.


Key stories

Analysis

Union voices

Background

FORUM

TALKING POINT
See also:

09 Sep 02 | Politics
08 Sep 02 | Politics
18 Jul 02 | Politics

E-mail this story to a friend



© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes