We had some sad news last night in the Barnet labour movement about the death of Alan Homes. Alan had suffered a heart attack a few days ago.
Alan was the representative of the NASUWT teaching union in Barnet (and wider) and a member of his union's national executive committee.
Alan was a stalwart member of Barnet trades council and, living in the borough, he was always ready to come out and do stalls and other events in the community. (I must find a lovely picture of him that I have on a stall in New Barnet last April, when we were campaigning against a BNP candidate in the council elections.)
I would describe Alan as the trades council's right wing - which is not to say that he was right-wing at all! When, early on, we had a discussion about how the trades council should relate to the council elections in 2010, whether it should back trade union based anti-cuts candidates, Alan argued that the Labour Party was still, for the unions, the only game in town.
The trades council resolved in that debate to get more political, but we also concluded that the trade union movement locally wasn't in any position to start organising election campaigns on its own account: apart from anything, because we didn't have agreement among ourselves to do it.
Alan was sensible like that. He was also good fun and would dance the night away whenever our events included a musical element!
The NASUWT isn't covering itself in glory in the current campaign to defend public sector pensions; I don't know where Alan stood on that. I would happily claim him as a comrade, however, and on a personal level I will miss him greatly; the Barnet trade unions and anti-cuts groups are going to miss him too.
I would like to send my condolences to Alan's family.