How Trade Unions Can Fix Britain (And What We Can Learn From The French)

Our economy is screwed, our jobs are pointless and our food is crap; you can't move in Britain without hearing what's wrong with the place. But maybe in our refusal to embrace the unions, we've only got ourselves to blame.
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Of all the reasons to be relentlessly down on Britain, there is none more deplorable than this cowardly island’s persecution, ignorance and wilful mistreatment of trade unions. There is no better example of the insecure, jealous and pompous nature of English people criticising solidarity they envy. Me, I love the unions. As well as defending hundreds of thousands of people in this country - contrast that with any political party - they show up the abject farce of the spiteful private sector and average voter in the UK.

Insecure, because the people criticising the recent London tube strikes would have likely sat down in the office and discussed their longer journeys into work. The net effect on them was a couple of days swapping a crowded tube for a crowded bus. That’s real suffering. The reason for the vituperative criticism of the ‘lazy’ strikers, is because on a subconscious level it brings into focus how worthless their jobs really are. They have no impact on wider society. The tube workers transport millions of Londoners, commuters and tourists. The dull office worker, ninety minutes late to a grey office, resides in his second home of existential angst. Angst, because the chap behind the desk knows his job is not in the least constructive. The guys running the tube, he now knows and resents, make a worthwhile difference.

Jealous, too, because not only is the vast majority of non-unionised work essentially pointless, that can be swapped from one country to the next, but because their jobs are so much safer. Unions hit on a long time ago on the staggeringly hard-to-grasp concept of withholding labour to improve conditions, pay and job security.

Pompous, because they are so self-important as to look at these people, resent them for the advantages of unionisation, and stew. But they’re so craven that they will never think of unionising themselves. The unions and their members have the dignity they crave. The private sector worker shouldn’t resent the unions, he should look up to them and imitate them. Crowing about the inconvenience of their holidays cancelled by British Airways, they won’t stop to think that maybe the strikers aren’t to blame, but Willie Walsh. It’s purely class hatred from the petit bourgois that shifts the blame from those in charge to those defending themselves.

The private sector worker shouldn’t resent the unions, he should look up to them and imitate them.

Ask someone why they hate Bob Crow or Andy Gilchrist, they’ll bumble along, angrily talking but saying nothing, maybe having a pop at his accent and the power he wields. He’s working class and uppity? So what - he does his job effectively. It’s class hatred. The papers and Sky News will complain that they’re holding the country to ransom. Who would you rather holds a gun to the head of the government? Dacre, Murdoch and the guilty who obliged them by voting for Cameron, or people standing together to improve the conditions for their colleagues? The internet has largely been a disaster, for many reasons, but especially as the comments under blogs and paper articles give voice to this malign, poisonous minority.

Speaking of the press, whenever a strike is threatened, you can’t move but for disingenuous whines that the economy stands to lose billions. Two things. A union secures a pay rise for its members, it stimulates the economy as it is spent. It’s a cheap point, but bankers bonuses don’t exactly trickle down when in offshore accounts. Secondly, when we have the royal wedding, granting access to yet another state sponsored parasite, the whole country gets the day off. Any complaints? Nope, just a handful of us complaining about the rank hypocrisy of this whole show.

In France, if a man is asked if he supports a strike, he will more than likely respond, ‘Yes, and why are they striking?’ In England, he’ll say no and just resent his lot in life. In France, the trains aren’t loathsome and the working conditions are better. The people, despite their cinema, are happier. French food tastes better. Their newspapers are not filled with riffs full of class spite. Their bars aren’t Saturday boxing rings. The French are a better race than the English. In France, socialism isn’t a universally dirty word. This isn’t a coincidence. The graffiti slogans in Lyon reject the economic reforms Sarkozy wants to impose. We’ve got Banksy.

As we face swingeing cuts, the fire service threatened a strike on Bonfire Night. They called it off, but they had made their point - they are hugely important to the country. If your office announced a strike, would it matter? No. Maybe a media website would be launched a day later. Perhaps you wouldn’t get to post your drooling interview with a hardman actor’s phony posturing. Possibly you’d have to call off the Hunter S. Thompson fancy dress postwork jaunt to somewhere even more objectionable than your output. Do something worthwhile and stop your impotent fury. Vive la revolution, cocksuckers.

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