The long summer evenings as I drive from Lowestoft to Edinburgh simply fly by when I get to listen to Pienaars Politics and The Westminster Hour on a Sunday evening.
(I have to say, there isn’t tons of alternative listening options and the shows involving politicians are, at least, interactive…
That is I get to shout at the radio on a regular basis.
Quite naturally, yesterday’s debates focussed a lot on the impending strikes by teachers and other public sector workers and the reasons for the strike – which seem to be confused – and, more particularly, labour’s attitude to the walk out – which seems to be mixed at best.
Finally, a lot has been made of the possibility of new legislation to curb the power of the unions to call strikes when, for example, only 20% of their membership voted for it. (According to one pundit, you can’t take into consideration the fact there was only 30% turn out in the vote. Apparently, that’s democracy.)
Okay, so, the reasons for the strike as far as a novice like me understands it. Everyone agrees that public sector pension reform is vital if we’re not to rape future generations of their income and condemn them to poverty in their declining years… not my words, but descriptive nevertheless.
So, no problem… reform is necessary, let’s get on with reform, make changes and set the world to rights.
Except, of course, the people who are subject of the reform, who also agree that reform is necessary, don’t want to reform because it will make their life a little bit harder.
Okay, but what’s the alternative?
That’s what I’m not getting from the debates. It doesn’t seem as though there’s a plan for a different approach to reform. And, it would seem, we need one and some bright spark has to come up with the goods, otherwise we could be in for a very long battle.
The most sensible thing I’ve ever heard Red Ed say is ‘striking represents the failure of negotiation’.
Very true. So let’s not go on strike.
So, to Saint Vince. Dear old Michael Gove started bumping his gums about tougher legislation to make it more difficult for unions to call strikes. St Vince of Cable had previously said this was an option, but poured cold water on the idea yesterday.
I think I’d make a good politician because I actually agree with both of them. In the real world there would be sensible people in politics and as the head of our unions and they would recognise change is needed and would work together instead of throwing toys out of prams. Fifteen – Love to Vince.
In the actual world, though, this doesn’t happen and a strike gets called far too early and the negotiations break down amidst language that was last used in 1984. Fifteen All…
So, it’s Vince’s turn to serve and so we wait for Thursday with baited breath.
The problem is when the public sector goes on strike, the rest of us will get the hump and we’ll all lose.