The only qualification necessary  was the nomination of a candidate’s own branch. That might not sound like much of an obstacle but there were two major hurdles in my path. The first was my youth and significant lack of union experience. The second was myself. My personality was steeped in the self-effacement that held back so many working-class people. The ultimate fear was of being thought too big for your boots, the ultimate humiliation the accusatory question: “Who does he think he is?” It was why  brilliant Sunday-morning footballers would play down their performance in the post-match banter. Why Len Rigby had cheerfully endured being date-stamped and dispatched every morning; why my brother-in-law had hidden his light  under a bushel and why I didn’t like to be seen reading The Times.

Alan Johnson, “Please, Mr Postman”.

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Chief theatre critic for The Times. Twitter: CliveDavisUK Facebook: Instagram: clivephotos
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