Labour’s choice….

Danny Alexander yesterday upped the ante in the governments battle with the trade unions and predictably the unions today responded. It does indeed seem that we are on the cusp of a big wave of industrial action. The first thing that needs to be done is, as a Party, we need to look beyond the immediate issue and at the real agenda behind this battle. It is part and parcel of this governments quest to dismantle the public sector for good an all; to do so it has to break the last bastion of resistance – the still highly organised and unionised and workforce. It is, like the governments economic policy, purely ideological in its motivation no matter how much ‘rationalisation’ verbiage you dress it up in.

Therefore, you cannot arbitrarily separate this battle from the one over reforms to health and education. If the unions force major concessions, the whole reform agenda looks decidedly ropey – if they don’t the steamroller continues apace. So, this presents Labour with a choice – to take sides or to not take sides. No doubt Ed Miliband will continue his cotton-candy finger wagging at all strikes. In doing so, he will be doing a fundemental disservice to Labour, the unions and the electorate.

His position is predicated on the false assumption that this government is interested in reaching a negotiated settlement – it isn’t. Under those conditions there is no middle ground – you have to make a choice, do you side with the governments crusade or are you with the people resisting it, not just narrowly in terms of defending their own conditions, but also more broadly in saving what is left of the public sector for those who depend on it. This is the irony of the leaderships position is it claims to be speaking in the interests of service users while failing to recognise the fact that if the unions are not successful there will eventually be no service left for these self-same people. If it’s leadership won’t take a stand, then Labour as a Party must and give the unions the support they need in this struggle – because an injury to them truly will damage us all.


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About darrellgoodliffe


5 responses to “Labour’s choice….”

  1. gillig says :

    The strikes will be ignored and many of the jobs will just disappear if the strikes are of any length. I don’t think the unions can win this one. Its win wins for government, who do not have to pay public sector wages while they are striking. Not much immediate visible impact, I won’t miss the dustman for two weeks.
    The 1926 national strike that Bob Crow and his cronies are idiotically hyping up as an example of what we have in store from them was a nine day wonder staged by miners, printers, steelworkers, transport workers, ironworkers and railwaymen. Predominantly people who produce something!
    It Failed!
    I find it ridiculous that we allow government to pay work related pensions out of public money. Who would accept a career long contract from a here today, gone tomorrow, management, who dictate their own right to renegotiate the terms at least every 5 years?
    Government should just include the public sector in the state pension scheme. One rate for all no means testing. So simple even Labour could run it. Private pensions are available like any other savings plan for those earning enough for a bit extra.


  2. darrellgoodliffe says :


    You won’t miss the dustman for two weeks but you would think the schoolkids will miss the teacher not teaching them pretty much daily, wouldn’t you? The notion that strikes in the public sector will be barely noticed is a nonsense.

    I take it your proposal would come attached to a significant raise in the state pension?


  3. gillig says :

    I expect the teachers on strike because their union dictates will be childminding for parents going to work, it will be a fun extended summer holiday for the kids.
    You are corrrect, my radical left wing proposal would free up lots of money to fund higher state pensions. You could get a private firm to do the maths.


  4. Barrie Wood says :


    The anti-union rhetoric of Cable and the hapless and hopeless Alexander saw me resign my membership of the Lib Dems this weekend. I think it’s time to ‘return home’ to as your article indicates a less-than-perfect Labour party.

    Some in gov’t I sense fancy public sector workers as ‘the enemy within’ ala the Miners in 1984-85. What’s liberal about threatening trade unions who are acting on a bigger mandate than Lib Dem ministers in office?

    I know whose side I’m on ! Does Ed Miliband?


  5. darrellgoodliffe says :


    Glad you have resigned your membership of the Liberal Democrats and let me say, welcome home, to the less than perfect Labour Party. I think your right about how the government see the unions and quite right that they have more mandate than the Liberal Democrats….

    Me too. As regards Ed…well the cynic in me thinks its a struggle to decide which side of the bed he gets out on some days…..


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