So those lumbering old dinosaurs in charge of the UK's last remaining self-interested, self-seeking, stuff the rest of you cowboy outfits known as trade unions are limbering up for a display of industrial muscle. Although I must say, looking at most of the muppets at the TUC this week I wouldn't regard many of them as muscular, rather camp I thought especially that Dave Prentis character. No real hard men any more I suppose since Scargill finished off the mining industry. Which reminds me of the old one about Scargill; 'the man who started out in a small house with a big union and ended up in a big house with a small union'. The militant eqivalent to the NUM these days seem to be teaching assistants, occupational therapists and diversity officers. I'm quaking in my boots!
My family have a great and proud history of sticking two fingers up at trade unions. My grandfather was sent to Coventry for a number of years after the war when he was a steelworker and refused to be forced, against his will, into a closed shop. I copped for similar treatment in the 1980s for refusing to join an unconstitutional strike and then refusing to strike in support of the miners, who I didn't support. What the fools who were sending death threats to me and my parents at that time never bothered to find out was that, unbeknown to them, I was also breaking the closed shop by not paying my union fees and they could have had me sacked quite easily. They weren't very bright.
What made me smile this week was the unions screeching that they would negotiate as long as the government didn't give them ultimatums. Then said that they themselves would negotiate but would strike on November 30th if they didn't get their own selfish way. I suppose if we had a proper right wing government they would allow the public sector unions to strike, then sack them all and offer their jobs to the unemployed, or to Poles. But instead we have government by Nick and Dave.
The most foul of the current batch of union militants are those in the NHS. They consistently hide their selfish motives in a quite callous and sickening way, by claiming that their demands are in the interests of patients. Bull! Health service employees, in my experience, are some of the worst, only interested in grabbing better pay, conditions and perks for themselves, stuff the patients and resources that should be going into healthcare. The sooner people wake up to what is actually going on in the NHS the sooner we can put right all that is currently wrong.
I remember in the '80s an old friend of mine telling me about a local government strike he had led. Towards the end of the strike he was taken to one side by the boss who had been robustly negotiating. He then told my friend that he needed to realise that they were happy for the strike to continue, the council was skint and it was saving them a fortune in wages while the staff were on strike.
I was once in a hotel lift in London with a colleague, it must have been around '86 or '87, and on the way down the lift doors opened and Mick McGahey, then one of the miners' leaders, got into the lift. My colleague turned to him, asked to shake his hand, which made McGahey beam with pride. While shaking his hand my colleague said: "I'd just like to thank you Mr McGahey. Without you, Arthur Scargill and the NUM we wouldn't today have Mrs Thatcher, a wonderful Prime Minister whose party I am proud to have voted for".
Funny the memories the TUC evoked this week.