Mick Gosling tribute: 'Political vision and flair'

Mick Gosling with sewing machinists and trade leader Ron Todd in 1984

Mick Gosling with sewing machinists and trade leader Ron Todd in 1984 - Credit: Courtesy of Kathryn Johnson

I wanted to note the passing of Mick Gosling who lived in the borough, and well known to many in the trade union and Labour movement.

Mick was a lifelong trade unionist and socialist and made an enormous contribution to the National Union of Journalists (NUJ). A frequent speaker at the NUJ’s annual conferences, he was a very active chair for a number of years of the Press and Communications branch, and on the editorial board of the union’s main magazine, The Journalist.

He often worked on representing journalists in their hour of need, with some employment rights issue, and was a regular attender of demos and picket lines.

Mick was very sociable person too and for several years he organised the PR and comms’ annual summer outing – a canal boat journey along Regent’s Canal and the Lea Navigation, from the Haggerston Laburnum Boat Club to King's Cross, where a delightful towpath pub awaited.

Mick’s links with the trade union movement began early when he joined the Labour Party Young Socialists at 14 and then at Kent university (where he got a first in politics, sociology and government), supporting the Kent miners in the early 1970s. 


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Later, as a worker at Ford Dagenham, he chaired the Transport & General Workers Union 1107 paint, trim and assembly branch. Mick didn’t just decry Ford’s shabby treatment of its workers, he stood alongside them when they were striking for their jobs. 

Mick’s energy for fighting injustices and promoting fairness was unwavering. He was passionate about addressing the issues he cared about whether these were local - calling for an end to uncontrolled rents - or defending public services.

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Mick and his passion for fairness and combatting inequalities will be missed by his friends and colleagues in the NUJ. For many years he also supported Hackney Trades Council, where he acted as treasurer.

He worked for Hackney Council in the 1990s as chief press officer at a time of great political turmoil within the council, and he handled that crisis well. He also had an enlightened view of childcare and work.

I had the pleasure of working with him at Hackney Council and in the Campaign for Press and Broadcasting Freedom, which he supported with enthusiasm. He also gave great support to the Ogunwobi Family Campaign, fighting deportation. 

He had political vision and flair which he brought to his approach to council public relations, where it was important, he felt, to explain to people why decisions were made, what was the thinking behind them. He also supported greater reflection of diversity in the council workforce to reflect the local population. 

He was always stimulating, energetic and thinking of others, often encouraging others "learning the trade" in a sympathetic way, passing on tips on writing style. 

More than 100 people turned up outside his house in Stoke Newington as a mark of respect to the funeral cortege.

Former Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn MP made a moving speech at the funeral highlighting Mick’s commitment to fighting racism and injustice. 

Donations can be sent to  www.waronwant.org/mickgosling,  There will be a memorial rally for Mick at a later date.

Mick Gosling, 26 September, 1952 – 7 April, 2021. He is survived by his wife, Kathryn Johnson, and his two children from a previous relationship, Natalya and Alexander. 

  • Ian Rathbone (Lab) is a Hackney councillor for Leabridge ward and majority group chair.

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