Ernest Bevin. In 1921 he amalgamated several trades unions to form the Transport and Genral Workers' Union - the largest Trade Union in the world. He led this union until 1940. He joked that the USSR was simply the Russian branch of the TGWU. He was on the general council of the TUC from 1925 and in 1937 became its chairman. In 1940 Winston Churchill invited him to become Minister for Labour and National Service. During the war there were hardly any strikes at all - Betteshanger Colliery being a very rare example. After the war he was elected unopposed as Labour member for Wandsworth and became Britain's Foreign Secretary where he negotiated Britain's membership of NATO and became one of the most influential Foreign Secretaries in British history.
When Churchill and Bevin sat and watched troops depart for Normandy on D-Day, troops turned to Bevin and asked him to look after their wives and kids - it was enough to bring a tear to the great man's eye.
To somebody like me, brought up in the Labour Movement, yes, I'm pleased Obama won his election. We should remember of course that governments lose elctions and opposition parties do not win them. I'm inclined to think most Labour Party leaders would have won the 1997 election (perhaps not with such a big majority) but it wasn't all down to Blair's genius. I remmber voting for Blair in the leadership election and for Clause IV thinking to myself that he was going to have to do two things to make this worthwhile: First of all to get elected - which turned out to be the easy bit and secondly to make electing his government worthy to be elected. Obama now has this difficult second job. It remains to be seen whether or not he succeeds. The story of his election is a great one but not yet quite as great as that of Ernie Bevin.