|image courtesy of mr verge|
The chronicles of Ruin, continued. Call me Ishmael said....intelligence is knowing what to do when you don't know what to do. Anonymous said... When I don't know what to do,I come here. 10 September 2009 22:59
|He used to be quite a personable young man. |
Sometime in my
lifetime, maybe before, trades union leaders, most of them, came to see
themselves as an informal arm of govament; it's true, there was
McGahey and Scargill and Red Robbo, but there was also Len Murray, Lord
Murray, eventually, if you please, slithering in and out of Downing
Street; there was Tom Jackson-Moustache of the Post Office Workers but
there was also the repulsive and incompetent Alan Johnson, currently
doping so well as shadow to wee George Spunkface.
Before the 2005 election something called the Warwick Agreement was struck between union bosses and the Labour Party*.
I remember, once, seeing a letter from Harry Fletcher,* lifetime deputy
boss of NAPO, the probation officers' union, or professional
association, as they prefer it to be styled; it was in response to a
very genuinely urgent grievance felt by a member: I am sorry I have
been unable to get back to you, I have been busy lunching with
ministers; honest, not invent, helping to formulate strategies, or some
such, he would have been, useless little turd. On another occasion, at
a NAPO conference, word went around from the leadership, then the
unpardonably loathsome Judy McKnight, that angry members should not
heckle and barrack the pipsqueak, NewLabour arsehole, Paul Boateng, as
he angrily threatened to draw a ministerial red line through the entire
probation service; we shouldn't heckle him because it would seem
racist, him being a Man of Colour and everything, and probably mess up
hers and little fat Harry's chances of a peerage, or a QUANGO, at the
Or that we would all be bamboozled by his nauseating, ever so humble performance at the TUC - which in every previous year he had always treated with absolute contempt?
A few years ago a speech from the PM would still have generated a polite ovation. Not any more. For the most part, delegates sat in stony silence and, as the BBC's Nick Assinder reported, even when promised that the government would not renege on pledges in 'the Warwick agreement' made in June, 'they were far from overcome with excitement or gratitude'.
What seems to have escaped the New Labour policy wonks is that trying to shift the focus of the debates that are likely to take place in the run-up to a general election away from the war and onto domestic issues does not necessarily make anybody feel much better. Most right thinking punters are every bit as pissed off with privatisation, tuition fees and government-inspired hysteria over the 'war on terror' as they have been appalled at the unremitting carnage in Iraq.
Even for a Blair at his smooth talking best, winning the hearts and minds of a hostile TUC was never going to be easy - the forked tongue being especially visible given that all the pally chat came at the same time as 104,000 civil servants face the sack.
But that would be to miss the point. Blair's main purpose was to lend
credibility to the Big Four union leaders whose loyalty to the Labour
Party has been put under enormous stress in the last couple of years
because of their own members' bitterness at New Labour's agenda. This
anger has erupted on the industrial front in the last few weeks with
very successful strikes on the Yorkshire buses and at British Airways.
And the political expression has been evident in the sensational
results for Respect candidates in Stepney and Millwall.
Despite all the assertions of still being completely in charge and raring to go, Blair is actually up to his eyeballs in the brown stuff and that is the real reason why, as one commentator put it, 'he presented delegates in the Brighton conference centre with a notably different prime minister from the one they have come to expect... there was no lecturing, threatening or casting aside. And there was absolutely no reference to the "forces of conservatism" or "wreckers". Calculated, deliberate and utterly self-serving as usual, the distinct shift of tone adopted by Blair actually marks the culmination of a long spell of backdoor scheming all designed to bring leaders of the four biggest unions - Amicus, Unison, the TGWU and GMB - back on board in the run-up to an election. Those with any sense inside the New Labour machine realise that the support of the Big Four is absolutely essential. Like it or not, the party still relies heavily on union cash to survive. If the recent disaffiliations of the RMT and FBU were to spread to the GMB, Labour HQ would be driven to panic stations. The Big Four are every bit as important when it comes to the Labour Party conference because of the block voting system. Yet according to one 'senior union figure' quoted in the Guardian, 'The new generation of union leaders don't have any personal loyalty to Tony Blair... they may not have moved against him over Iraq, but the war legitimised their thinking that they owe him nothing and they don't have to be deferential towards him.'
But rather than press home their advantage and blow Blair out of the
water, leaders of the Big Four - and Brendan Barber of the TUC - have
settled for a bit of pretty shabby horse trading. Tony Woodley of the
TGWU made this clear in the Morning Star on the same day as
Blair's speech to the TUC: 'The disappointments the movement has with
the government's record - and there are many - will be tempered by the
realisation that we have to work for a Labour victory at that election,
whenever it comes.'
In the weeks since the Warwick agreement leaders of all the main unions have gone out of their way to talk up the concessions which they said had been made by the government. Woodley claimed that ministers had made 'several significant concessions'. Similar claims have been repeated by Prentis, who states categorically that the net result of the concessions made at Warwick is that 'it will be harder for PFI to be carried out at the expense of the workforce and that it will be easier to invest in public services without using PFI'.
Yet the Warwick agreement is not really an agreement at all. It is more a shopping list of demands put in front of the Labour Party chairman, Ian McCartney: issues from skills training to rights of migrant workers, action to tackle workplace violence and uprating of redundancy. All very laudable aspirations in their own right (56 of them in all) but you will have a job finding a copy of an actual agreement anywhere, least of all from the Labour Party.
One or two very minor concessions have been made on employment rights at Labour's conference and some of these might even find their way into the manifesto, but what happens after that is anybody's guess. It certainly doesn't seem to fall into the category of 'major concessions', let alone herald the death knell of New Labour's market-driven manifesto. Away from the national policy forum, every other indicator points to the fact that both Number 10 and Number 11 Downing Street have not the slightest intention of budging from their 'reform agenda' for public services. Why bring Milburn and Mandelson back and why line up 104,000 civil servants for the sack if what you have in mind is to head for what Derek Simpson dreamily informs us is going to be a 'historic, radical and progressive third term'?
Warwick actually provides a very dangerous smokescreen for the government to neutralise the Big Four, all the better to leave Mark Serwotka and the Public and Commercial Services' Union out on a limb. This would be a disaster for every other union. It would put the government's privatisation plans right back on track. Rather than spending hours listening to Wee Ian McCartney, the Big Four would be much better employed getting round a table with all the other unions in the TUC and making joint plans for mass demonstrations and strike action in defence of the PCS.
Too late, now, of course
mr ishmael's essay today is:
WHERE'S THE UNIONS? drafted 9/12/2010
|Birmingham Pride 2021. Shame I missed it.|
|Macron, looking all broody and Napoleonic: Respect le coq!|
|The sea battle between HMS Nottingham and the French ship Mars in 1746. The Mars was returning to Europe after the failed 1746 Duc d'Anville Expedition attempting the recapture of the w.Fortress of Louisbourg.|
|Negative and Positive Consequential armies battling.|
|Michael Gove, Conservative MP for Surrey Heath since May 2005|
|Mr Michael Spit-Gove. In his bob-a-job days. He knows best.|
|I AM GOVE, SMELL MY BREATH - 5/7/2010|
Why don't you write a book, he said to me, for forty years. There's enough books, don't need any more fucking books, books're the last thing we need more of. The last time he asked, a couple of years back, I wanted to say Well, in a sense, I have, it's called stanislav, a young Polish plumber, but I didn't. I think stanislav, in toto, was a tad profane for him but some of the bits were written with him in mind, he was the young probation officer, hating the sinner but loving the sin, or even about him, his was the motorhome which irked stanislav so much and I am sure that at some of the commentaries he would have, as did so many, as did I, spit his coffee out over the keyboard. But now I'll never know. It's probably what he would have wanted.
mr ishmael's essays today are:
|Liz and Boris fly off to charm Biden.Best of luck with that one.|
was Clintonitis, The Third Way bullshit, which inspired the
Mandelstein Project in the UK, a foolhardy focus on spurious economic
growth as a means of funding criminally mismanaged public services
whilst simultaneously sanctioning corrosive, ruinous greed, indeed
applauding what Mandelstein thought of as the innate virtue of the
Because the Third Way was fronted by a draft-dodging, coke-snorting, womanising, saxophone-playing arsehole sucking capitalism's dick whilst relative children sucked his, NewLabour succumbed immediately and tore-up it's historic raison d'etre, frenziedly jerking itself off as the Tory, Blair, shat on Clause Four and it's bleak recognition of injustice via economics.
We are the party of the wealthy, they simpered, but look, we have John Prescott aboard to fool the proles; former Marxists and Trotskyites, now clad in Armani or Boateng, built property portfolios and consultancies and directorships, as they holidayed with gangsters and pimps and junkies and put fifty pence on the old age pension.
Moronic, coked-up popstars were soireed at Downing Street, the shitbrained, neanderthal Gallagher brothers talking riffs with Tony, the man, typically, stupidly unaware that they were invited only to window dress Corruption, Hail, Hail Rock 'n' Roll; a former call girl was drafted in as Imelda's paid best friend, add a soupcon of glamour to her dowdy, fathomlessly greedy, whining, slotgob repellence; an Aussie ex-con came as part of the deal, as her property adviser, securing accommodation for one of her fucked-up spawn; seven grand was hoisted from Labour Party subs to pay for her hairdresser and the Labour movement, typified by Tony's make-believe agent in Sedgefield, the stupid fucking bastard, primped and preened itself, swallowing Power's ejaculate, as the young warmonger fellated business and money and Power, round the back of Chequers, on their yachts, flying out to Australia to lick Murdoch's arse, on behalf of - what was it now? - the many, not the few, as though the proprietor of skymadeupnewsandfilth had Labour running in his syphilitic veins.
(To this day I - no homoerotocist, I admit - find Tony Blair a deeply unattractive man, bug-eyed, buck-toothed, jug eared and in his speech and mannerisms - body language - completely untrustworthy; telegenicism, as the media folk call it, however, proved very swiftly to be Blair's trump card, people thought, it is said, that he was lovely, would never do anything wrong; me, though, I always knew he would do something terribly wrong, only have to look at him, hear his voice. But he had big allies. He was good TV.)
Almost overnight, it seems, now, most of the nation aped the extravagance of the ruling party, an unparallelled borrowing and spending binge was hailed by the likes of Simon Heffer and the unspeakable Murdoch barrowboy, Jeff Randall, as an economic miracle; you had to hand it to that Gordon Brown, he was prudent, he was the iron chancellor, they chorused, every last one of them - even though he was an innumerate, profligate, iron hoof; bullying and tantruming like some bloated, nail-chewing, snot-eating diva, cross-dressed in a lounge suit and a red tie, mincing and pouting across the demi-monde of the financiers like a great big flabby whore, a rentboying son of the fucking manse, pimping the nation to the soundtrack of a light regulatory touch in the City. It's the economy, stupid. Jesus fucking wept.
|Gordonstoun - if you have to ask, you can't afford it.|
|Eton College - Average Annual Fee £42,500|