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Showing posts with label RMT. Show all posts
Showing posts with label RMT. Show all posts

Monday, 26 July 2010

Bob Crow - RMT

I have recently expressed admiration for Bob Crow and for his plain speaking on Question Time, but I should make it clear that I do not share his party politics. I am a centre-leftist – he is an extreme leftist. He is Eurosceptic – I most emphatically am not.

I still feel that he is prepared to say many things that need saying on the media, and that an independent England will need men like him, but I hope when that day comes he is part of a centre left government and England is a committed member of the European Union, as Scotland will undoubtedly be.

Friday, 23 July 2010

Bob Crow, RMT, talks hard sense on Megrahi Release on Question Time

My respect for Bob Crow grows by the week, and I find I have much more in common with this man than most of the Scots who comprise the opposition in Holyrood. He is one of the very few Question Time panellists on whom I can rely to say the things I wish the panellists would say – even when I don’t agree with them – rather than the obfuscations, evasions and establishment cant that often characterises the usual contributions.

Among the select few who do say what has to be said, in addition to Bob Crow, I include George Galloway, Ken Clarke, Shami Chakrabarti and Salma Yaqoob, not to mention Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon.

Bob Crow is the kind of Englishman I would like to see in government once England rediscovers itself as a great nation after it abandons its faded dreams of Empire, i.e. after Scotland secures its independence, closely followed by Wales and Northern Ireland.

I was most struck by the point he made when asked if Alex Salmond and Kenny MacAskill would present themselves in response to the ‘invitation’, i.e. peremptory summons to appear before a Senate Committee and account for their decision to release Megrahi.

I quote Bob Crow -

But however, I want to say this --- the American Government has got some cheek to talk about some of the things that has happened over here, when it has got itself involved illegal wars all over the world, dropped chemical on people, tortured people and the scenario in Guantanamo Bay in Cuba – and five Cubans languish in jail in America at this moment in time who went to America to tell the American government – previous government, I would accept – about terrorist attacks that was taking place. So, there’s to be a fair playing field, let’s just not talk about Lockerbie, let’s talk about what America does throughout the world as well.”

The Hartlepool audience greeted this with enthusiastic and prolonged applause, and so did I from my sofa. This – the authentic voice of the people - used to be the voice of the people and the People’s Party before New Labour and the deadly trio of Blair, Brown and Mandelson got their hands around its throat.

But why lament? We have the authentic voice of the Scottish people in government in Holyrood at the moment, and I hope that the people recognise it and reinforce it by returning a Scottish Nationalist Government with an increased majority in May 2011.


Sunday, 18 July 2010

The English Trades Unions wake up to the Labour betrayal – when will the Scottish Unions do likewise?

The Tolpuddle Martyrs’ Festival 2010 has been taking place this weekend. The Politics Show was there to take the temperature of the unions over the impending cuts. On the ground, the message was clear – a deep suspicion of the LibDem coalition and its plans to ‘reduce the deficit’, code for attack the living standards and amenities of those least able to afford it, and entirely blameless of ruin of the economy by the Labour Government and the banks.

Quote -

“At least back in the eighties there was a state to dismantle. At the moment, we’ve only got the precious things left – the Post Office, the Health Service, the schools, the education service, and they’re coming for it.

Quote -

Nobody should be under any illusion whatsoever – the 1980s were awful, and this government is far more right wing in our view. I tell you, the battle is coming very shortly and it’s going to be massive. The trade union movement has got to come together, and cannot rely, unfortunately, on our allies that we’ve had in the past.”

That last remark, in my view, is trade union code for “we cannot rely on the Labour Party ---“ and the interviewers comment, “maybe the Labour Party as well?” and the nod that followed it confirmed this.

Both these quote were from Communications Workers’ Union representatives. The interviewer moved on to a lady from the National Union of Teachers.

In response to a specific question about the Labour Party and the Trade Union leadership, Rachel Thomas replied -

I don’t think we can put our hopes in any of the major parties – they’ve proved, time and time again, they’re the parties of big business – they’ve given billions and billions to the banks, and we want some of that for public services --- I think the trade union movement – the TUC – needs to get some rocket boosters – in order to fight back.“

(The comments on Lord Mandelson’s memoirs were wisely censored as “not really printable.”)

We then move back to Jon Sopel and his guests in the studio, Fraser Nelson and Jackie Ashley.

Jackie Ashley – Mrs. Andrew Marr - is a television newspaper reporter and New Statesman and Guardian columnist. She fought her way up from humble beginnings as the daughter of Jack Ashley – Baron Ashley of Stoke – and a grammar school and Oxbridge education.

Fraser Nelson, a Scot (born in Nairn) and educated at Nairn Academy, Dollar Academy, Glasgow University and City University, London. A historian and journalist, Fraser Nelson is also editor of The Spectator, and has a healthy media career as a panellist and commentator.  He is a right-wing conservative, a board director of The Centre for Policy Studies. He is described as an economic libertarian, or neoliberal.

Before you try Wikipaedia  on the term neoliberal , I should warn you that the definition there is ‘contested’. By whom and why, I leave you to judge for yourself.

The BBC and The Politics Show presumably selected these two guests as offering some kind of political balance in the great question of the moment, namely, who f****d up Great Britain and what should be done about it?

How qualified are these privileged, comfortable and possibly very rich people to consider the plight of the low-paid, the elderly and the sick people who will suffer the impact of the cuts, the bankers’ greed and recklessness and the Labour Party and Gordon Brown’s ineptitude in government?

One thing is for sure, they will both be totally insulated from the draconian cuts to come, indeed they may confidently anticipate even more lucrative media appearances as they survey the wreckage of our society and pontificate on it.

They have the task of trying to question Bob Crow of the RMT – introduced by Jon Sopel as “one of the most prominent, some would argue militant figures in the Trade Union movement.

Since the formidable RMT man understands what his role is very clearly, and is unafraid to cut through cant and the special pleading of the rich and powerful by concise and blunt statements of fundamentals, this is no easy ride for our privileged duo, not to mention Jon Sopel.

I leave to you watch and listen to Crow as the media trio trot out their feeble and predictable mantras. He makes them sound like Marie Therese, wife of Louis IV commenting on the plight of the starving poor - “Qu'ils mangent de la brioche …

It all reminded me of a freezing February morning in the late 1970s, when my MD decided to address a large group of truculent draymen in Newcastle about the need for retrenchment. He jumped up on to the back of a lorry, and said “Gentlemen, we must all make sacrifices …”

There was a long, icy pause, then a voice from the throng shouted “What f*****g sacrifices are you going to make then?

The MD hastily jumped off the lorry and handed the meeting over to me, but I had no answer either …

The English members of the trade union movement are at last realising the depths of Labour’s betrayal, and the horrors facing them from the LibCon government, and they intend to do something about it. They had no choice at the general election, but the Scottish electorate did have a real choice – the SNP, yet voted Labour again, in increased numbers.

Among that electorate were many trades unionists. When are you going to wake up, Scotland?