Monday, 13 September 2010

Unions need to keep the public on-side in their fight to save jobs

Union leaders queued up at the annual Trades Union Congress in Manchester yesterday to pledge their support for joint strike action to challenge the Coalition’s proposed spending cuts. There was even a threat of “peaceful” civil disobedience from some militants.
We will now see a propaganda battle for the hearts and minds of the voting public.
The government has no clear-cut mandate for the savage cuts, which Chancellor George Osborne is expected to outline in next month’s spending review.
It failed to win an overall majority at the General Election and is only in office thanks to the LibDems, whose manifesto had rejected the Tory strategy.
The Coalition’s justification for slash and burn is that it found Labour had left the British economy in a worst state than had been anticipated. Such was the unpopularity of Gordon Brown that this contention is still current in the public’s perception according to opinion polls.
So the unions need to move cautiously as they fight to save jobs. If they jump too soon and we have a winter of discontent, they will alienate public support and weld the Coalition partners tighter together.
By holding fire the electorate could turn on the government when it gets a real measure of the cuts in the spring and starts to feel the effects of nurses, teachers, and the police heading for the dole queue.
By then a revival in the eurozone economy could well be under way and a growing number of economists querying Osborne’s strategy.
He and his Number 10 neighbour David Cameron would then be open to charges that they are decimating the public service sector for ideological and not economic motives.
This could drive a wedge between the Coalition partners and mean the new Labour leader – who I hope will be David Miliband – might not have wait five years to take up residence in Downing Street.

1 comment:

  1. " It's all over now, BABY BLUE ", says Jaffa


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