...a blog by Richard Flowers

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Day 3544: The Unions Don't Have to be Our Enemies – part two, a World of Pain


Why do middle-class teenage "rebels" and Union Barons (not to mention psychopaths like Uncl' Jo Stalin) all love Mr Marx (Karl, not Groucho; you know, the comedian not the philosopher)?

I'll tell you: it's that GINORMOUS loophole "the dictatorship of the proletariat" where the "intellectual" elite get to patronise the "ignorant" workers into doing their old jobs but for their new masters.

It's GREAT if you like lots of personal privilege and bunch of saps to enforce it for you.

Anyway, where was I?

Oh yes, whyever would a Union leader like Mr Mark Swarovski be deceitful about cuts?

One after the other we've had the Unions (or equivalent), the representatives of their VESTED INTERESTS lining up to unsubtly warn us of the dangers of cutting THEIR particular carriage on the gravy train.

First we've had the Heads of the Armed Forces (yes, THEY'RE a UNION too) with dire predictions of unpredictable threats unless the navy gets its two aircraft carriers (HMS Tony and HMS Cherie, I believe they used to be called), and the airforce gets a hundred million pounds worth of joint strike fighters to fly off them so that they can cover the army wherever we happen to invade be defending next. Or in twenty-five years.

Now we get the unions threatening civil disobedience and poll-tax riots. Are they REALLY expecting the mob to fill Trafalgar Square demanding to pay MORE taxes?

Mr Bob "Scare" Crow of the RMS (Really Mean Service) Union has already been out on a "one day" tube strike (I say "one day" because somehow the disruption manages to cover the day either side as well) allegedly "justified" on the grounds of safety (I say "justified" because somehow I don't see public safety being compromised by ticket sellers being asked to come out from behind the glass windows and help people on the platforms), but there was a sinister WHIFF of MUSCLE FLEXING about it, as though Mr "Scare" Crow wanted to be the first to plant a punch on the Coalition.

(And forgive me, but I'm pretty sure that Mr Gandhi didn't take a hundred thousand pound salary to lead the civil rights movement. On the other fluffy foot, no one wants to see Mr "Scare" Crow in a LOIN CLOTH!)

Next up, ooh scary, the BBC coverage of Mr Balloon's first big speech to the Conservatory conference as Prime Monster is threatened by a "dispute over pensions". No, that one's just PETTY.

(Auntie Beeb is doing an admirable job holding the ring so far: I know that because I'M annoyed that they're uncritically reporting the Unions anti-Coalition propaganda… about the cuts hitting people on benefits hardest…or as I'd put it, the cuts in government services hitting the people who USE government services more than the people who don't… or cuts in government jobs affecting more women than men for the wholly outrageous reason that the government EMPLOYS more women than men… and THEY are annoyed that the BBC is uncritically reporting the Coalition propaganda that the cuts are necessary, as opposed to their entirely legitimate magic money tree point of view. Some bias may have been shown in the last sentences.)

But it's almost like EXTORTION, really: "do as we say or else…"

Or, as a spokesperson for the Policepeople's Union might have said: ain't it terrible all these protection rackets wot these Unions is running. You might want some protection from that, know wot I mean, guv. You see us right and we'll make sure that no… harm comes to you, alright, squire, evenin' all.

Ms Charlotte, aka the new Lady GoreGore, fears that the Coalition will not be strong enough to take the heat when the Unions start to hold the public hostage. Their demands may be selfish, their analysis a denial fantasy, but they have the power to really badword things up for the innocent working person.

I think, perhaps I just hope, that the Coalition is stronger than that. And I think that people might be surprised to see that the STEEL comes from the Liberal Democrats more than the Conservatories.

It is very clear that the Unions the Left and the BBC think of the Liberal Democrats as the "weakest link" in the Coalition. They want to break the Government so they are concentrating their fire on us. I think that's a MISTAKE. Steel just gets STRONGER when it is tempered. And I think that they might find Captain Clegg and Mr Danny, not to mention Saint Vince, are tougher badwords than Mr Balloon and the whole of the Bullingdon Club put together.

Look, if it's TRUE what they claim, and we HAVE lost half our voters to Hard Labour and another half our voters to the Greens and another half our voters to the Alliance of Concerned Mothers and the League of Chastity…

(Okay, three halves is a mathematical JOKE, but hilariously all these exaggerated claims of Lib Dems "defecting to Labour (or wherever)" ARE spiralling out of all credibility: they're pretty close to saying that more members have defected than were in the Lib Dems to start with!)

…but if it's true that we've crashed in the polls, then REALLY SERIOUSLY what's in it for us if we break the Coalition?

We see this through until it works or it doesn't. Or as superannuated muppet Yoda would put it:
"Do or do not, there is no try"
What I'm saying is IF the Unions pick a fight with us, then we're going to have to stand up to them because we're DEAD if this fails and we're dead if we give up part way.

Sun Tsu in the Art of War warns that you should always give your opponent a way to escape, because if trapped they will fight like TIGERS.

But read the constitution people: we HAVE to stand up to the Unions because more than anything else in the World standing up to bullies is what the Liberal Democrats are FOR.

Mr Balloon might not have the stomach for this, but Liberal Democrats have the heart and stomach of a concrete elephant… and the BRAINS of a FLUFFY ONE!

But it DOES NOT have to be like that.

The Liberal Democrats could be the BEST THING for the Unions in this Coalition: people who will LISTEN to you, people who are NOT dogmatic about the cuts but actually willing to be persuaded and change our minds.

Why not try a bit of reason and argument rather than strutting up and down outside Transport House waving your willies at us! Frankly, we'd rather see you in the LOIN CLOTH!

Mr Ben Mathis Tweets pithily: I'm appalled at the idea of strike action over deficit reduction. Public sector strikes will hit the poorest hardest!

Which is superficially very funny, but then rather less so when you think how TRUE it also is.

Regrettably, there's a chance that the people suffering WILL blame "the Government" or "the Cuts" rather than the Union for taking a vindictive and selfish approach to negotiation.

It is so easy for people who are scared of losing their jobs to be persuaded that SOMEONE ELSE is to BLAME and that SOMEONE ELSE should PAY. There's a LOT of "the recession/deficit/cuts are ALL the fault of the BANKERS" about. The banks do bear SOME of the blame – they leant a lot of money to people who couldn't afford it, backed by property that wasn't worth it – but they don't bear ALL the blame.

Just as some people who borrow too much are victims but also willing participants, so the public services and Government-sponsored departments, bodies and schemes are at least a little COMPLICIT in the ever-expanding state sector. It's hard to pin the blame on the managers when money was being waved in their faces by Whitehall, but somewhere at the back of their heads – you would have hoped – they must have KNOWN this was being fuelled by "money from nowhere". They ought to have at least CONSIDERED what might happen if the Golden Goose got croaked.

The real people to blame, of course, are the last Hard Labour Government. They promised people jobs that they couldn't really afford to pay for and then borrowed money to cover up the shortfall, leaving it for the Coalition to sort out afterwards.

That's really HARSH on the people whose job was paid for on a lie.

To Mr Swarovski's assertion: There is an alternative to public spending cuts.

Daddy Alex has a rather more… SUCCINCT response: Yes. Bankruptcy.

But that way you get dragged into a flame war with a Labour troll with nothing better to do with their time than spout angry aggressive dishonest bilge.

Which is a shame because there is WAY too much anger about already – I remain profoundly taken aback by how Hard Labour would much, much rather spend time hurling the word "traitor" at Liberal Democrats than sitting down and sorting out why they lost and what they need to change about themselves to win next time.

(And before the predictable shouts of "you came third; you lost more than we did", I'll pre-empt that with saying that the Liberal Democrats put on a MILLION votes at the election and only the PERVERSITY of the voting system meant that more votes gave us fewer seats! Which only proves our point about how BROKEN the voting system is.)

What Labour and the Unions are doing with their frankly-opportunist opposition for opposition's sake, is to SQUANDER the BEST EVER opportunity to control spending in a public-service friendly way.

If you could just see past your own WRETCHED temper-tantrum at losing power, and realise that you lost power because you threw it away, not because a different party with their own principles and agenda failed to roll over and do as you demanded when you demanded… then you might, MIGHT be able to work out that you should be SUPPORTING the Liberal Democrats, not trying to break them.

I mean THROW US A BONE, why don't you – we're shackled to this bunch of hard-right wingnuts now, have you any IDEA what it's like trying to get them to tack leftwards? Oh yeah, you had Blair…

The Government likes to talk about how it is doing GROWN UP politics now. If you did the same, treated people as ADULTS – accept that you lost the election; understand that the voters chose to believe that the cuts were necessary; don't just flat out deny that the Government has a point of view that is different because they see thing differently and NOT because they are "evil" – if you talk to ministers with a view to balancing the cuts that they are committed to with some amelioration for the most vulnerable, then you could actually do some GOOD for your member (remember them?).

If you bring options to the table then we can WORK with you and present those to the Coalition, if we HAVE an alternative then we can have something to negotiate with Master Gideon. If you give us nothing we have nowhere to go.

Issuing threats, closing the tube, cancelling the Prime Monster's TV appearances… all this posing and performing might make you feel you are big and important, but you are ACTIVELY HARMING the interests of the people who you claim to represent and, to put it bluntly, are compelled to pay you a big fat wage.

On the whole, you OWE those people, so GROW UP!

And one last thing: it's possible that there are union members, union leaders even, who are already thinking this way, who "get" what the electorate – including their members – were saying at the General Election, and who realise that working together is NOT collaboration but a funny old thing we call democracy.

You guys, you need to SAY SOMETHING.

At the moment, the "back to the Winter of Discontent" crew are getting all the air time and the meeja are just lapping it up, salivating at the thought of a good FIGHT. They are – probably – distorting every part of what you want to say and what we want to say in order to make this black and white, black VERSUS white. You provide the pictures There's no news like BAAAAAD news, after all.

I know, I know… you don't want to risk the Union movement looking split. Well the alternative is that you look like the BADDIES.

Which is just FINE if you want the Coalition in power FOREVER. But you know, I thought that just maybe you don't.

1 comment:

Carl Minns said...

One of the best posts - on any blog - I have read in a long time!