Time to bring Richard home

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THE last Yorkist king of England, the preparations he made before his death at Bosworth Field offer a clear indication that it was always Richard III’s intention to be laid to rest in his childhood and spiritual home.

THE last Yorkist king of England, the preparations he made before his death at Bosworth Field offer a clear indication that it was always Richard III’s intention to be laid to rest in his childhood and spiritual home.

Yet what should have been a relatively straightforward reburial of his remains at York Minster, a ceremony conducted with the level of respect befitting a popular and unfairly maligned northern monarch, has instead turned into a thoroughly unseemly squabble.

His accidental interment at Leicester, where his skeleton was found beneath a car park, has triggered a quite extraordinary response from the city’s civic leaders who insist he should stay there instead of being returned to Yorkshire.

Running through this regrettable saga is the unfortunate whiff of tourist opportunism. Leicester’s claim to Richard’s remains appears to be founded on little more than a convenient reading of the covenants relating to archaeological finds and that age-old playground taunt of “finders keepers, losers weepers”.

It is hard to see how any right-thinking person could consider the East Midlands city to be an appropriate burial place for Richard, given that he had no connections with it beyond his horrific death, the parading of his body through its streets and his hasty burial in a cramped, unmarked grave.

That is why the campaign to return him to York Minster – where he built a chapel housing 100 chaplains for just such a purpose – has the backing not only of Richard’s living descendants but also the likes of Dame Judi Dench, Sir Derek Jacobi and Julian Fellowes.

Tomorrow, the two sides in this long-running row will travel to the High Court for a judicial review which will decide where he should be laid to rest. It is to be hoped that sanity will at last prevail in order to ensure that Richard’s final wishes, more than 500 years after his death, are finally honoured.

Railway crusader

The last of the firebrand leaders

IT WAS slightly surprising that some of the warmest tributes to Bob Crow were from the fiercest opponents of the firebrand leader of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union.

Individuals like Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, respected the way the 52-year-old stood up for his members and sought to hold the transport industry to account on a range of issues.

In this regard, Mr Crow’s death leaves a significant void. Many will contend that the train operators should be doing more to improve services for passengers, even if they disagreed fundamentally with the RMT’s militancy and willingness to strike.

Yet even though Ed Miliband described this crusading left-winger as a “loved” figure, Mr Crow was no stranger to controversy, not least over his £145,000 pay packet and his decision to take a holiday in Brazil

as his union prepared for industrial action in London.

Deeply embarrassing to the Labour movement, this “do as I say, not as I do” style of political activism had parallels with Arthur Scargill’s leadership of the National Union of Mineworkers which tore apart Yorkshire’s coalfield communities and left a bitter legacy still felt today.

To its credit, the trade union movement today is very different to three decades ago. It is a moderating force that still has an important role to play in defending the interests of its members.

The only regret is that Bob Crow did not always recognise that conciliation has superseded the confrontation that defined so many disputes in the past.

A web of discovery

Internet is in a world of its own

HOW will the internet shape the world over the next quarter of a century? Perhaps that is the most pertinent question on the 25th anniversary of the world wide web’s inception by Tim Berners-Lee, whose ingenuity was celebrated at the 2012 Olympics.

Even this computing colossus could not have imagined the extent to which his discovery would empower individuals to source information from a pocket computer which they could use while on the move – or force governments to change the way in which public services are delivered.

The internet is here to stay and will continue to have a transformative effect on society. But it is not without its imperfections. Broadband access in the remoter parts of Yorkshire is still patchy, greater safeguards are needed to protect the unwitting from fraudsters and a zero tolerance approach must be shown towards those who use the internet to abuse the young and the vulnerable.