Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/24262

Posted on 23 January 2017 at 16:18 GMT

Obituary: Bernard Roome 1947-2017

Bernard (right) being honoured at his retirement party in 2010 by CWU deputy general secretary Tony Kearns

Bernard (right) being honoured at his retirement party in 2010 by CWU deputy general secretary Tony Kearns   (Click to enlarge)

Bernard Roome, a member of the Socialist Party and trade union activist, has sadly passed away after a long illness.

Bernard spent decades as a prominent Militant and Socialist Party member in Swansea where as well as serving for many years as branch secretary of the Communication Workers Union (CWU) he was also the longstanding secretary of Swansea Trades Council.

Bernard was a formidable trade union negotiator, a staunch defender of his members and a principled socialist.

To say that Bernard didn't 'suffer fools gladly' would be an understatement in the extreme! The employers felt the sharpness of his tongue most frequently because he fought passionately for his trade union members' terms and conditions. But right-wing trade union bureaucrats who collaborated with them also felt the hot breath of Bernard's fury.

Crossing swords with Bernard was not an unusual event. He never hesitated to confront comrades who in his opinion made an unwittingly clumsy or politically incorrect remark but it was normally short, intense and forgotten about the following day. But that apparently prickly exterior masked on the inside an extremely caring and compassionate comrade. Many of us have often witnessed that sometimes hidden side of Bernard's character.

Travelling with Bernard

There will be many comrades with numerous different memories of Bernard.

My own special memories include the 30 years we spent together as delegates from Swansea Trade Council to the annual conferences of the Wales TUC, normally travelling the five hours up to North Wales in his car, planning our interventions for this overwhelmingly right-wing dominated trade union conference.

With one eye on the road and one eye on the agenda, Bernard's ex-army driving skills on the mountain roads of North Wales were a frightening reminder that we should have really caught the train!

Our discussions during those journeys were normally the only preparation Bernard did before delivering his powerful speeches at the conference which either came passionately from the 'top of his head' or literally from the 'back of a fag packet' (I saw him writing them)!

The sight of Bernard storming down the aisle to the rostrum to raise a 'point of order' terrified even the most authoritarian president of the Wales TUC.

I am certain that his comrades at the many conferences of the CWU and its predecessors also remember the exhilarating experience of witnessing Bernard in full flow.

Proud socialist

Bernard was a loyal, proud and unflinching member of the Socialist Party and would always be to forefront in selling the Socialist outside the conferences of the Wales TUC and the CWU as well as defending and advocating our socialist policies inside the conference hall.

Bernard's political and trade union home was undoubtedly in Swansea where he will be missed enormously and fondly remembered by the best activists in our movement but he also left his unique mark both across Wales and Britain as a respected trade unionist and socialist, serving on the General Council of the Wales TUC and the National Executive of the CWU.

Like many of our most prominent Militant activists Bernard was expelled from Gower Labour Party during the Neil Kinnock witch-hunt, which he regarded as a 'badge of honour' for defending his socialist principles against the political minnows that expelled him.

As expected, he also played a key role in the tremendous anti-poll tax victory and as Chair of the Welsh Federation of Anti Poll Tax Unions was a commanding public representative for that movement.

After retiring, Bernard moved to Surrey to join his CWU comrade and partner Grace, before they eventually retired to Spain where it was hoped the more favourable climate could assist Bernard's health.

In the Valencia area, Bernard still assisted in distributing our leaflets on demonstrations and participated as much as possible in the work of the Socialist Party's sister organisation in Spain, despite a growing but limited understanding of the language and his deteriorating health.

Tragically, Bernard and Grace's time together in their new home has ended far too early. We send our deepest condolences to Grace, the rest of Bernard's family, as well as his many comrades and friends.

The Socialist Party and trade union movement mourn the passing of Bernard but we will also celebrate his life by continuing to agitate and organise for the socialist future he fought so hard to achieve.

Alec Thraves

Bernard Roome Memorial Meeting

Saturday, March 25th 2017, 3pm till 5pm

Station Suite, Grand Hotel (Opposite Railway Station), Swansea SA1 1NX

The Grand Hotel is offering a discount to anyone attending this event and wishing to book accommodation. Please ask for details if booking.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.






Related links:

Obituary:

triangleObituary: Paul Randall, 1959-2017

triangleObituary: Derek Robinson, car workers' leader, 1927-2017

triangleObituary: Rhodri Morgan 1939-2017, architect of the 'Welsh Labour' brand

triangleMartin McGuinness: from IRA leader to Stormont minister

Bernard Roome:

triangleMemorial meeting remembers Bernard Roome

Socialist:

triangleBirmingham South East Socialist Party: NHS in Meltdown - What can be done?

triangleBirmingham Central Socialist Party: How can socialists support upcoming strikes?

triangleCardiff East Socialist Party: Socialism in the USA

Union:

triangleVirgin train workers ballot for strike action

triangleHuge support for strikes of bus drivers and train guards

Wales:

triangleCardiff East Socialist Party: Catalonia, Scotland and Wales

Trade union:

triangleNew play celebrates Grunwick strike

Swansea:

trianglePowerful picture of the Port Talbot steel workers' struggle

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns

16/11/17

Sheffield

Sheffield Eastern Ave Job Centre strike ends

16/11/17

Virgin

Virgin train workers vote for strike action over pay

15/11/17

Students

March for free education! We demand a future!

15/11/17

Plymouth

Plymouth PCS members fight relocation threat

15/11/17

Virgin

Virgin train workers ballot for strike action

15/11/17

Carlisle

Carlisle socialists campaign against Universal Credit

15/11/17

Haringey

Corbyn must challenge pro-gentrification council leader or others will

15/11/17

Socialist Party

Why I joined the Socialist Party: "I started to question whether there was a better way"

13/11/17

Manchester

Strike wave continues with 49 walkout days by housing workers

10/11/17

RMT

Strikers picket the South Western Railway network

10/11/17

Merseyside

Huge support for strikes of bus drivers and train guards

10/11/17

Socialist Party

Highest ever ticket sales for Socialism event

9/11/17

Pay

Serco - not fit for purpose

9/11/17

Rail

Fight to keep guards on trains continues despite setback Aslef deal

8/11/17

Birmingham

Brum meeting celebrates centenary of 1917

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party

triangle15 Nov March for free education! We demand a future!

triangle15 Nov Tories on the brink - kick them out!

Socialism 2017

triangle14 Nov Socialism 2017: Organising to fight back

triangle13 Nov Strike wave continues with 49 walkout days by housing workers

triangle10 Nov US: Historic vote for Ginger Jentzen campaign in Minneapolis

triangle10 Nov Strikers picket the South Western Railway network

triangle10 Nov Europe in crisis, revolutionary winds in Catalonia

More ...

triangle20 Nov Birmingham Central Socialist Party: How can socialists support upcoming strikes?

triangle21 Nov Cardiff Socialist Students: Socialism and the struggle for LGBT rights

triangle21 Nov Birmingham South East Socialist Party: NHS in Meltdown - What can be done?

triangle21 Nov Sheffield North Socialist Party: The causes of capitalist crisis

More ...

Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

Archive

Archives:

November 2017

October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999

Legal

SP RSS feed RSS

Platform setting: = No platform choice

V2