If I ruled the world: Bob Crow

Prospect Magazine

If I ruled the world: Bob Crow


My two guiding examples—Cuba and Millwall football club

© Roslyn Gaunt

The elevation from general secretary of the RMT to World Leader is a transition that could only be allowed to take place with popular consent and with a democratic mandate. Obviously, those Tory MPs who constantly attempt to interfere in internal union business, and who are elected to their seats with only a fraction of their total electorate endorsing them, would also want to stick their oar in on the thresholds and procedures required to secure world governance.

But once the mechanism is out the way, what to do?

First up, listen to people. Cut through the army of pundits, opinion-formers and self-appointed experts and talk to real people.

I would bring back the concept of the public meeting, the soapbox on the street corner and the gathering in the works car park and force out into the daylight those who get away with making decisions behind closed doors that affect ordinary lives.

Restore local democracy. A generation ago local council leaders were household names and had real power and public support. But as local government has been slashed to ribbons, turnout in elections has dropped like a stone and our town halls are full of party hacks, bureaucrats and tenth-raters.

As local democracy has reduced, central power has increased with councils little more than a local arm of national government, charged with doling out cuts to our services. I would turn the tide the other way, restoring local power and regenerating local politics and communities.

While we are at it, I would bring in local democracy in the health service. Who are the people lurking in the shadows, taking decisions to smash up local hospitals and services, without ever having to stand up to scrutiny, let alone stand for election? If the National Health Service was publicly and locally accountable, would we have had the cuts-led scandal of the Stafford Hospital? I don’t think so.

And where’s the industrial democracy? The hoops and hurdles that trade unions are forced to jump through and over to comply with Thatcher-era laws are ludicrous. I would do what the last Labour government should have done, but didn’t have the guts to do in the face of big business and media opposition, and that is sweep away the whole raft of anti-union legislation designed to shackle the working class. And I would complete one other important act that Labour ducked for 13 years: the renationalisation of Britain’s railways. That one popular move alone should ensure my mandate in the highest office for many years to come.

And I would end this idea of nations being run by a wealthy, expensively-educated elite with little or no experience of the real world. Tony Blair, Nick Clegg, David Cameron? Interchangeable posh kids who think they’re doing us a favour. I would bust apart that political mould and open up the opportunities to the very people who have suffered the most from the self-serving government that has become the norm in so many corners of the world.

And while we are on elites, I would move in on the cartel of big football clubs with their Murdoch millions who conspire to maintain the status quo at the expense of genuine, community clubs like Millwall who don’t get a sniff of a televised fixture even when they are rolling over Premier League clubs in the FA cup. That nonsense would stop.

That would be Britain dealt with, but around the globe we need exactly this kind of transfer of powers, out of the hands of the people rich enough to buy it and into the arms of communities and those who create the wealth.

On my watch, peace and understanding would come through prioritising health, education and the redistribution of resources. My model would be the extraordinary achievements of the Cuban people over the past 50 years in the teeth of imperialist aggression from the US.

But I can tell you, ruling the world or not, the level of vested interest you’d smash up against in the fight for equality and justice would be on an epic scale.

Would the troika of the IMF, the ECB and the EU—unelected, unaccountable and used to imposing their will, and even imposing puppet-governments—simply roll over and give up power, money and complete control without fighting back?

Of course they wouldn’t—and nor would Murdoch and the rest of the global right-wing press. From Fox News to the Sun they would see any threat to their empires as the green light for an unprecedented offensive.

But with enough indignados on our side, and with the same spirit as the Palestinian people, we would have the strength to come out on top.

We might even be able to break the monopoly of the rich and the powerful when it comes to live televised football on the box.

  1. February 23, 2013

    John in Newfoundland

    What is an RMT and why would I care about it? The writer assumed that everyone whou would receive the article is familiar with his world.

    I guess it’s time to get off this mailing list.

  2. February 23, 2013

    Tom N

    Local democracy. Sounds great until you remember that 50% of people are of below average intelligence and many of the rest are not very bright.

    It doesn’t take much thought to realise democracy isn’t quite as good as it sounds.

    After all, Crow was elected on a democratic vote, and he’s a …..

  3. February 24, 2013


    As parodies go this is pretty poor fare. If I’d of written it, it would of course been funnier and a lot more sarcastic.

  4. February 25, 2013

    Marcus How

    Is this supposed to be satire?

  5. February 26, 2013

    Cameron Riddle

    “My model would be the extraordinary achievements of the Cuban people over the past 50 years in the teeth of imperialist aggression from the US.”

    Cuba to me does not sound like a sensible model, from what I’ve heard. I was relieved that the writer stopped short of praising Cristina Kirchner. Thanks…

  6. March 11, 2013

    Harvey Headbanger

    If Bob Crow is such a fan of the regime in Cuba, perhaps he should move there. I have no doubt that there are many in this country who would not miss him.

  7. April 16, 2013


    Not a single positive comment on here for a man who is interested in working people. He’s right about the media-it’s made zombies of all of us and most people do not even question the status quo-look at the Thatcher stuff-apparently she is a working class hero now!!Well done Bob and George for having some guts.

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