Keith Newbery: Those who don’t learn from history...

SIR WINSTON Churchill fashioned a memorable phrase or two in his time – and one of them 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 herberts 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 are intent upon abusing their power to bring down a democratically-elected government.

It didn’t work in the seventies and eighties and it won’t work this time, because the British people are not keen on being pushed around by jumped-up 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 (plus expenses, of course), and is often photographed supping fine wines in expensive restaurants.

He told the brothers: “If you spit on your own, you can’t do anything. But if you spit together you can drown the b******s.”

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 in this country 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.

We have enough problems in this country without semi-articulate union demagogues trying to make them even worse.

I’VE been a fan of The Beatles for 50 years, but there was always something about Paul McCartney which got on my nerves – and nothing has changed in all that time.

It was encapsulated in the geeky thumbs-up sign and stupid face he pulled after receiving the French Legion of Honour for services to music from President Francois Hollande.

It was an occasion which called for mature behaviour even if a statesmanlike demeanour was expecting a bit much – yet McCartney acted like a ten-year-old at his first school speech day.

He has always been the Beatle who craved fame and recognition more than the others – but he still chooses to pretend that such honours mean little to him.