The Queen Mother Was A Union Member

Yesterday the City of London moved against the fish porters of Billingsgate Market in London, revoking their licences in a move that would be more familiar to mediaeval Knights than it would to twenty first century elected Mayors.  The City of London is in itself a feudal hangover, essentially only accountable to itself – which of course hugely pleases the banks and insurance companies that are based in the Square Mile.

It is claimed that the licences were revoked because the fish porters, whose existence spans hundreds of years, might at some stage emerge as opponents of the City of London’s expansion plans.

If the equally ancient Smithfield meat market were within the boundaries of the City of London, I bet the unelected authorities wouldn’t raise a hand. The meat porters are known as ‘bummarees’, and until not all that long ago had an honorary Royal amongst their number. She was no less than the late Queen Mother.

The reason I know this is that a former leader of the then Transport & General Workers Union, Ron Todd, once showed me a letter he had received from the Queen Mother, in which she said that she would also be delighted, as an honorary bummaree to become an honorary member of his union. “My late husband, King George, was a great admirer of Mr Earnest Bevin”, said the Queen Mother in the letter, and so “it would be an honour” to become a member of the union. Earnest Bevin, was a Bristolian docker who helped set up the mighty transport union and served with distinction in the war-time Coalition Government.

So there we have it. The late Queen Mother was honoured to be a member of a trade union. Tell that to the Governor of Wisconsin.

Related Articles

Scientists discover what caused the worst mass extinction ever

How a cataclysm worse than what killed the dinosaurs destroyed 90 percent of all life on Earth.

Credit: Ron Miller
Surprising Science

While the demise of the dinosaurs gets more attention as far as mass extinctions go, an even more disastrous event called "the Great Dying” or the “End-Permian Extinction” happened on Earth prior to that. Now scientists discovered how this cataclysm, which took place about 250 million years ago, managed to kill off more than 90 percent of all life on the planet.

Keep reading Show less

Why we're so self-critical of ourselves after meeting someone new

A new study discovers the “liking gap” — the difference between how we view others we’re meeting for the first time, and the way we think they’re seeing us.

New acquaintances probably like you more than you think. (Photo by Simone Joyner/Getty Images)
Surprising Science

We tend to be defensive socially. When we meet new people, we’re often concerned with how we’re coming off. Our anxiety causes us to be so concerned with the impression we’re creating that we fail to notice that the same is true of the other person as well. A new study led by Erica J. Boothby, published on September 5 in Psychological Science, reveals how people tend to like us more in first encounters than we’d ever suspect.

Keep reading Show less

NASA launches ICESat-2 into orbit to track ice changes in Antarctica and Greenland

Using advanced laser technology, scientists at NASA will track global changes in ice with greater accuracy.

Firing three pairs of laser beams 10,000 times per second, the ICESat-2 satellite will measure how long it takes for faint reflections to bounce back from ground and sea ice, allowing scientists to measure the thickness, elevation and extent of global ice

Leaving from Vandenberg Air Force base in California this coming Saturday, at 8:46 a.m. ET, the Ice, Cloud, and Land Elevation Satellite-2 — or, the "ICESat-2" — is perched atop a United Launch Alliance Delta II rocket, and when it assumes its orbit, it will study ice layers at Earth's poles, using its only payload, the Advance Topographic Laser Altimeter System (ATLAS).

Keep reading Show less