A century ago, women were fighting for the right to vote. And we got it. But over the years, voting fell out of fashion, as voter turnouts fell with every election cycle. And it’s no surprise, when it felt like voting didn’t make a difference. What with all the ‘Safe Labour Seats’ or ‘Safe Tory Seats’, where the Dominant party could put a donkey on the ballot and still get elected. (Looking at the current crop of MPs, it would explain a lot). And since Labour became ‘New Labour’, there hasn’t been that much difference between them and the Conservatives, so what’s the point in voting?
Voting persisted, though. People like to be asked their opinion, even if it’s only on trivial things, like Big Brother or Britain’s Got Talent. And everyone loves a Twitter Poll. But that kind of voting is… unsatisfying. It’s the Junk food equivalent of democracy. It’s entertaining, but there’s no real sustenance to it. We want to vote on meatier matters. With the next general election not until May 2024…
Another day, another union votes for strike action. This time, it’s the teachers. We’ll add them to the list. The list already includes:
Rail workers, Underground workers, airport baggage handlers, border control, airport staff, bus drivers, dock workers, barristers, postal workers, nurses, ambulance drivers, BT workers, universities, refuse workers, driving instructors, the Financial Conduct authority, and now, Teachers. just about every union is polling their members on strike action, and their all voting ‘Yes’.
In December, we had an advent calendar of strikes. You needed to check each day to see who was on strike. Now it’s easier to check who’s not striking. Talk is growing about a General Strike. At this rate, it could easily happen as there’s only so many days in the year, strike already have to double up.
To be fair, not all of these disputes are ongoing. Private companies, such as British Airways and some Bus companies have seen strike actions suspended and cancelled. The solution to strikes was simple… Pay People More.
For the most part, private companies are grasping that solution. The usual tactic of demonising the unions as greedy thugs isn’t working. The strikes have tremendous public support and the public disgust it directed at the bosses. The pressure is on them to increase wages in line with inflation, and it’s in their own self-interest to do so. They are losing the media wars, and with the current staff shortages they can’t bring in strike breakers. They can read the writing on the wall.
No such luck for the unions who have to negotiate with the government. The Tory Government cannot read the writing on the wall. Instead, they paper over the writing with overpriced wallpaper, just like the sitting room at No10 Downing st. The Tories are now having to negotiate with Nurses, Ambulance Drivers, Border Control and the Post Office. They are not interested in any discussion of pay rises. They are also interfering in the talks with Rail Unions, putting unacceptable stipulations into promising deals, setting the negotiations back to square one.
The Tories answer to strikes is… Anti-Strike legislation! Under the proposed law, the Government would be allowed to set required minimum staffing levels. Basically, a union can call a strike, but the Government gets to set the required staffing level, so there will be one lone worker on the picket line while everyone else is required to be at work. Anyone refusing a work order could be fired. So we can air our grievances as much as we like, as long as we work while we do it.
Side Note: This Anti-Strike Legislation lines up perfectly with Anti-protest legislation already in place, which gives the police the power to dictate when, where and for how long people can protest.
The Tories like to show the trappings of democracy: You can protest, but only on government terms; You can strike, as long as the Government is not inconvenienced or shown in a bad light.
When faced with ACTUAL results of the Democratic Process, the Tories are quick to say ‘No’. The Gender Recognition Act has been passed by the Scottish Parliament. The Bill has been in the works for 6 years, and has solid public support, and the Westminster Parliament is planning to block it’s passage. The Scottish Parliament has been doing it’s job, working on legislation that affects and improves the lives of the people it governs.
It’s a concept the Tory government cannot grasp, as it only seeks to uphold it’s own power. And they want to block the Bill as it’s an example of what government should be doing. God forbid people realise that’s what government is for, it would be the end of the Tories.
There is no chance of the Sunak Government calling an early election. Rishi Sunak seems entirely comfortable ruling on the basis 200 Tory MPs support and no public mandate. He’s in no rush to face the electorate. Given how the Tories have lost every by-election recently (and by some pretty embarrassing margins), he knows an election would not go well for him.
So the Tories are bringing in Voter ID laws; the modern remedy to Voter Fraud, which is a problem as common as…. dinosaurs attacking town centres. It’s an apt comparison, since the Tories will only allow the dinosaurs to vote. Most of the acceptable IDs are only available to seniors, not to young voters. Example: The 60+ Oyster card is acceptable ID, the 18+ Oyster card is not. A Freedom Pass is fine, a student ID is not. The Conservatives want to shore up the conservative voters and everyone else can go hang.
Here’s the thing; people want to have a say. They want to vote whether it’s in opinion polls or strike votes or elections. It’s ingrained in our society. And the Tories need to learn, Voting is our way of politely voicing an opinion.
Don’t make us say it Rudely.