ON Christmas Eve, with over 100 at his funeral, we said goodbye to John Carroll, life long socialist, trade unionist and piss-taker extraordinaire.
Engineers’ convenor at Kellogg’s in Manchester for many years, Johnnie never had any illusions in the Labour Party. He was a man who wanted to tear the head off capitalism.
With his magnificent dead-pan face, we knew no one who was harder when confronting opponents. One manager came out in a rash whenever Johnnie came into the room.
Johnnie would joke about bringing his own knife and fork to negotiations rather than hob nob with management.
“Remember,” he used to say without any arrogance, “we’re cleverer than they are.”
From his ceaseless efforts during the miners’ strike of 1984-5, to the recent firefighters' dispute, Johnnie took sides.
One year he told Father Christmas to move on from the regular Socialist Worker pitch. “We’re collecting for the poor of Leigh,” said Father Christmas. “I am the poor of Leigh,” came the reply from Johnnie.
Johnnie will be greatly missed. His example will inspire a younger generation.