Monday, November 28, 2011

 

It's Beginning to Feel like the seventies and Eighties Again


I'm old enough to remember vividly the endless brinkmanship clashes between the employers-government and the unions forty years ago. We see a battle of strength building up with Prentis suggesting Wednesday might exceed the numbers involved in the 1926 General Strike. On the other side, pixie like Michael Gove suggests a group of militants are leading the rank and file astray.

Well, the BBC Poll today suggests 61 % support the strike, 67% disapprove of the way ministers are handling the economy. If the strike is well supported we could be entering a new era of conflict of the mind the government has been dreading.

The fact is, things are going badly. Despite all his protestations about the efficacy of his austerity strategy, the economy is not automatically responding to cuts in the public sector. The reduction in demand caused by the cuts is leeching life out of the economy and growth projections are constantly being downgraded.

Osborne will announce £30bn worth of infrastructure projects, a final admission that his critics have been right, but too late to revive the economy for 2012. George still has time to turn things around but once his efforts have registered with the public ass ineffectual, his hopes of replacing Dave in 2018 might be over. Apparently his big fear is the Boris will seek election to the Commons in that year and set himself up as Dave's successor. Oh Dear, it's all going pear shaped for him, as some of us predicted it would.

Comments:
You appear to have missed crediting the Groan for the bulk of your text.

Subliminal mistake perhaps ?

I think we should be told.

Kind regards
 
David
You really are such a silly person with your petty obsessions. For your information I did not draw upon the 'Groan' today and used BBC news items from the web. Do Grow Up!
 
PS Correction: The bit about Boris and George I did read about in the Guardian, and an interesting, well documented theory it is.
 
Skip,old chap : by confining yourself to rely on your usual bastions of balanced reportage you've missed being able post on the story of the week. Yes, glad you asked, it was of course the Grauniad being forced to apologise to The Sun for falsely alleging that the tabloid's reporters doorstepped a lawyer at the phone-hacking enquiry. You will of course be relieved to hear that the careers of the offending hack & her careless editor will not suffer. Living as they do in a risk free environment when it comes to peddling untruths the golden rule of left wing journalism is that truth = what ought to be true rather than what is true. Sadly we still wait for the explosion of indignation from media colleagues for this shoddy piece of gimcrack “journalism”. Not a peep from the BBC either, even during the open season on Murdoch.

Mind how you go

Kind regards
 
Someone better at spotting such things than I am has noticed that some Tories are claiming that tomorrow's action will cost the economy anything up to £1bn.

But these are the same Tories who complain that public servants are a drain on our economy. They never say that their efforts help the economy to the tune of £1bn on all the days they work normally.

The BBC survey suggests that the public don't think much of the "bash the public employee" line that is so popular in some parts of the press and on many political web sites.

Perhaps Cameron's advisers should spend less time reading the views of the tragically embittered commenters who haunt the right wing sites...
 
61% support a strike? I doubt it. I think Sir Humphrey summed up the validity of polls like that. Anyway, we will see what people think after Wednesday. It is hard to see too many people in the PRIVATE sector feeling too sorry for public sector pension holders. If you wanted to pick a confrontation with the Unions, and carry the public with you, then this is surely the Government's best tactic. Am not really sure Gove is the right man to lead this particular assault. David Davis would be a lot better.

Pay cap today is another easy blow. This is the chance to nail the public sector once and for all...let's hear the bastards squeal.
 
Oh dear Michael, you do let yourself down don't you? Lets hope you never have an accident and have to be looked after by nurses in A and E.
 
Hughesey
Those 'tragically embittered commenters seem to be haunting my slightly left of centre blog it would seem....
 
"We see a battle of strength building up with Prentis suggesting Wednesday might exceed the numbers involved in the 1926 General Strike."

In my view, Skipper, that says more about the madness and delusions of grandeur among the current leadership of Prentice than the strength of feeling over pensions. Even if every worker in the public sector went on strike - which they won't - they would still be short of the numbers who took part in 1926. (That is, of course, including the miners who were locked out and therefore not technically on strike, which might make enough of a difference I suppose.)

"The fact is, things are going badly. Despite all his protestations about the efficacy of his austerity strategy, the economy is not automatically responding to cuts in the public sector."

I suppose the problem here is counterfactual. Things are revolting right now, as everybody other than those on hard drugs accepts. Would they be better or worse if we were spending more? Well, it doesn't appear to have worked in America, and in Europe pretty much no strategy of any sort seems to be working. My personal view is that actually they shot themselves in the foot by talking endlessly about major cuts - sucking confidence out of workers, businesses, the markets etc. - without actually making very many right at the start, which meant they accrued no conceivable benefit from them (the cuts actually only started in earnest about two months ago, but recruitment dried up in February). It does however illustrate one stark truth - debt crises are always painful to resolve, however you go about it.

"George still has time to turn things around but once his efforts have registered with the public ass ineffectual, his hopes of replacing Dave in 2018 might be over. Apparently his big fear is the Boris will seek election to the Commons in that year and set himself up as Dave's successor."

The first sentence cheered me up no end. The second filled me with numb horror. And I'm at least an occasional Conservative voter! I don't think either is as likely to be Prime Minister as they (and the media) think, partly for that reason. Remember, this is the Conservative Party - they like outsiders who don't carry baggage.

Finally, one thought:

"pixie like Michael Gove"

Is it really fair to label somebody for something they can't help - i.e. the way they look? Because I have a great respect for you, and very little for Michael Gove, I will put it no more strongly than that.
 
Huw
Sorry about the 'pixie' jibe- unworthy of me I think. Thanks for your thoughtful comments too. I fear the Boris thing may well prove to be true.
 
I won't ever need the NHS, or the public sector, and am fortunate to have not paid income tax for six and a half years. I value my health enough to pay for it. If others did, the UK wouldn't have the problems it does today. BTW this blog seems to be developing a rather thin skin. Resort to personal comments far too easily. Haven't been on here for a while, and see that censorship is rife as well. Sad, and dare I say not terribly liberal.
 
Michael Two things:

1. You might be involved in an accident when membership of BUPA won't be relevant, that's why I specified A and E. I'm aware you live abroad and thus pay no tax in UK but presumably you do in Japan.

2. The view on this blog remains the same as always. I am old fashioned enough to believe in civility in discussion of issues. You well know that I refuse to allow the 'rottweiler right' to trash the tone of my blog. But I am probably excessively liberal in allowing ad hominem comments by most standards. I do occasionally allow myself to offer a few darts in return to provocations but, amazingly, Michael, I am merely a human being who happens to object to certain unpleasant tones of argument and certain unpleasant kinds of people. For such folk, there must be other bloggers they can irritate.
 
Skipper, you need to actually allow my post if you want to be seen to reply to it in any meaningful sense. Tis funny that you only object to the tone of posts you disagree with. Like the EU, Liberal until others disagree, and then surprisingly intolerant. Hang on, isn't that fascism?

To clarify, I live in the Middle East now so I don't pay any tax now. To be fair, I never paid tax any in Japan either (long story).

BTW looks like a very small proportion of the public sector has walked out. Am almost feeling sorry for the unions, this one isn't even going to be any sort of clash at all.
 
Michael
Actually, you are wrong. If I think your comment insulting I won't publish and that's a clear enough rule. I have never not published a comment because I disagree with it and I'm surprised you should suggest otherwise as you've written many a disagreeing comment on my posts. I've been teaching politics for forty years and have disagreed with thousands of people, but I have never disrespected them by attacking them and not dealing with their arguments. Mostly this has held true of my blog too, which is now nearly seven years old.
I didn't know you now live in Middle East but you must occasionally visit home country and cross roads...?

Beware, I say, if you are hit by a lorry and end up on the emergency bed or operating table!

Actually, NHS nurses would treat you just the same of course, even if you didn't deserve it. I know this from my own experience of having nearly died from a stroke in 1992 and from my daughter who is a nurse.

But enough of 'us'. It's not clear how many have not worked today so hold your triumphalism in check. Some BBC reports (biased of course, I hear you say) calculate 'nearly 2 million are involved) and a Sky News Twitter poll shows 71% in favour of the strike with only 29% against.
 
On the NHS. I'd rather take my chances sacrificing a few white doves Roman style. At least they didn't have MRSA and Unison. My health insurance has kept me fine in the UK before, and I will trust it before some crappy trolley in a two-bob public hospital in the UK.

There was nothing insulting in the post. You only censored it because you disagreed (intolerance, pure and simple). If there was anything, you would publish. Hoisted by your own petard...

2 million?! Please do let's get real. You have actually completely misread the BBC report. You may have taught politics for forty years, but you have a lot to learn about accepting diversity and engaging in measured and rational debate. "Those who can, do, those that can't...".

Don't expect you will publish this, which will only prove my point.
 
Michael
You really are an odd fish. Of course I'll publish comnents like this and always have. They reflect a valid point of view and deserve to be published. I published the last comment too so what are you on about?
 
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