Sir Winston Churchill fashioned a memorable phrase or two in his time – and one sprang to mind this week as the rhetoric began bursting forth from the TUC conference.
‘Those who do not learn from history,’ the old boy once observed, ‘are destined to repeat it.’
But this wise advice will be lost on the likes of Bob Crow and Steve Gillan.
These two are supposed to be responsible for the health and welfare of transport workers and prison staff respectively.
But like so many of the big-mouthed, bombastic union barons before them, they seem intent upon abusing their power to bring down a democratically-elected government.
It didn’t work in the ’70s and ’80s and it won’t work this time, because the British people are not keen on being pushed around by union bully-boys who have even less in common with their membership than the Tories they so despise.
Crow, for example, is said to enjoy a salary in excess of £135,000 a year, and has been photographed in the past enjoying the finer things in life.
He told the brothers: ‘If you spit on your own, you can’t do anything.’ But if you spit together, he went on, you can drown your opponents.
The target of his ire (and, presumably, his orchestrated salvo of saliva) was the government.
And Gillan’s contribution? ‘There are real cracks in the coalition at this time, and I think we should stick the boot in and finish them off.’
The irony is that the majority of working people are sick and tired of being made to fund the desperate repairs to the economy required after the damage inflicted upon it by bankers and other corporate fat-cats.
They feel put-upon and exploited, but they are damned if their lives are going to be made even more uncomfortable by union blowhards trying to take advantage of their resentment and disillusionment.
Miners’ leader, Arthur Scargill, thought he could follow this anarchic path almost 30 years ago – and the union movement has never really recovered from his hubristic crusade.
Crow, Gillan, McCluskey and the other rabble-rousers should heed Churchill and learn the lesson from history.