Tuesday, 5 May 2009

John McLoughlin

John McLoughlin, Branch Secretary, Tower Hamlets UNISON

Even more than a week after the terrible news the overwhelming reaction I feel, probably like everyone else, to Malc’s sudden death is shock. That must be even greater for those closest to him and I add my deepest condolences to Jane and Malc’s family.

Malc was one of those people you just felt you could rely on, who was always there to offer support and encouragement. Malc personally embodied the values he held passionately. He always had time for people; he took time to listen to their problems and concerns. He wanted to get people together to do something to make things better whether at work, in the trade union movement, or in the wider community.

He managed to do an amazing amount in representing people in Croydon and playing a leading role in UNISON more widely and in building Croydon Trades Council but Malc was also, perhaps above all, fun. I was trying to describe Malc to someone the other day. Malc was no Brad Pitt. You might even say he had something of a hangdog look. But can you think of anyone whose presence could cheer people up as much, who could bring love and laughter even to discussions on standing orders?

Others have commented on Malc’s many passions, including music, football and beer. The ones where you differed mattered little - with Malc you always knew what you shared was far more important than any minor disputes over millionaire football clubs. I was lucky enough to share a pint or two with Malc. Malc enjoyed a pint as much as anyone but more importantly he liked company, he liked people. Malc had a rare talent to bring people together. He was a uniter. What a loss for UNISON that he didn’t become our Greater London Regional Convenor.

But Malc was also a fighter, who didn’t bow to employers' attacks, threats from the far right, or those who misuse their power inside our movement.

It is hard to accept that Malc is gone. It seems the good die (too) young.

We have lost a friend and a comrade. A good man who lived a good life and changed for the better the lives of those lucky enough to know and work with him. In our memories Malc lives on and inspires us to fight for the better world he strived for.

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