Jones was a giant of trade unionism and born in Liverpool long ago enough to be a walking talking record of most of the historic movement in the UK. Originally a docker, he rose through the ranks of the Transport and General Workers Union and became a spokesman for the TUC.
He fought in the Spanish Civil War – which is an experience so far from the vast majority of most people’s experience and imagination these days it almost sounds absurd.
He was principled and undoubtedly tough, giving both Labour and Conservative governments a hard time in the 70s. Agree with him or not, he represented an old-fashioned style of politics that doesn’t really exist any more.
It would be easy to draw parallels between the likes of Jones and Liverpool’s current politicians, seemingly locked in an endless bout of tit-for-tat power struggles and point-scoring, but I think that would miss the point.
I decry the behaviour of Liverpool’s politicians and wish they’d sort themselves out – the empire-building, personality cults and ego trips are all too obvious to everyone – but politics should always have an element of the knockabout and the passionate.
If every name called in the Jack Jones era of politics had resulted in a resignation, there wouldn’t be anyone left to run the tiniest and most obscure worker council, student body or pressure group, nevermind city, region or country.