"New TGWU boss could bring Britain to its knees" - Don't Believe It - Tony Woodley of the Transport and General Workers' Union
The main story behind the election of Tony Woodley as the new TGWU general secretary is that it came as little surprise to anyone. Every union boss elected over the past few years has shared one thing. They all hate Tony Blair.
Any candidate with the slightest Blairite tendencies has been well and truly defeated by their left-wing opponents. Even Jack Dromey, standing against Woodley, lurched to the left during the campaign, but the TGWU members aren't daft; they remembered he was the Blair-backed candidate last time round.
Even less surprising than the result, however, were the predictable horror stories in some sections of the press about what a Woodley-led union would mean for the country. The truth is very different. I first met Woodley during the Ford pay talks and the only thing he was interested in was getting a decent deal for his members. It was Woodley who was mainly responsible for saving Rover at Longbridge. Not the actions of a so-called wrecker.
Woodley will be proud that the Sun said he is seen as being more dangerous than Bob Crow, Mick Rix and Andy Gilchrist. Much is made of the new union "awkward squad": little of the fact that all its members were elected by the Tory-imposed secret postal ballot, which was supposed to have finished off "left-wing" leaders.
I doubt if the Prime Minister will lose too much sleep over Woodley, but others will. Those who want to take over from Blair now find that all the big unions -- and most of the small ones -- are led by people who want to see a more left-wing Labour leader. The only one most have any time for is Gordon Brown, but watch out for a crafty shift to the left from leadership hopefuls such as Charles Clarke and Alan Milburn.