This is an interesting story in the Guardian. Check it out!
via TUC to consider general strike | Politics | guardian.co.uk.
Personally, I am concerned that this type of action would trigger a serious downward spiral, like in Greece.
Some open public questions come to mind:
- What would be the UK public’s reaction?
- Would the Police strike?
- How would financial markets respond?
- Would the Labour led opposition support the strike?
- How would David Cameron respond?
What do you think?
David Cameron might try to treat a General Strike as his “Thatcher versus Scargill” moment and introduce emergency powers plus the use of water cannon using agents provocateur (MI5 agents) to trigger trouble which could then be “faced down”.
Already large numbers of security guards, nightclub bouncers and traffic wardens have been given special cards which give them powers of arrest during times of civil emergency when there are too few police to maintain order.
The precedent has already been set with the use of 13,000 troops to police the Olympics and there are more in the TA who could be used if trouble were to spread.
Such a strike would, as Rodney Willett puts it so well, be deeply damaging and the Labour party and Milliband would be put on the rack.
We would regain our old reputation as a troublesome country which does not care about customers, or delivering things or paying our way, something which Margaret Thatcher helped us get rid of but which the ineptitude of the last Government and this one has brought back to life.
When the militant postmen threatened strike action over the past two years and when they went on permanent go slow to disrupt deliveries they should have all been sacked and replaced en masse.
I predicted that not doing so would encourage this sort of thing and now it is happening.
Ronald Reagan warned the PATCO trades union of the consequences of an air traffic controllers strike and fired all of them and replaced them with military controllers.
Firm action early on and some real efforts to create jobs and export led growth would bring the public on board but doing nothing and not taking firm action will alienate the public and bring a lot of them behind
Personally, I see parallels with the 1930s, with attempts to drag the West into a wider Middle East war with Syria and Iran by getting the public so dejected that they support a war and see it as the means to save the economy through the seizure of other people’s oil and the negation of threats by a dangerous adversary.
Already an attempt has been made on the life of the top American General Dempsey following his visit to the Prime Minister of Israel who is on record as preferring the more pro Israeli position of an immediate strike on Iran.
The markets will find ways to make money as they are already out of food shortages and spiking oil prices so it would be better if this General Strike did not happen.
Thank you for the compliment – I must say you put it all pretty well yourself. You are, of course, right on all counts.
Rodney, you are most welcome & thanks for the kindness.
John, thanks for a very interesting posting.
As I was reading it I was horrified at the thought of David Cameron put in this challenging situation. What worries me is that David Cameron is not Margaret Thatcher. I worry that some see him (David Cameron) as a weak leader and therefore they would take a stronger position against him.
So far, the Coalition Government has dithered on its industrial policies like most policies really
Let’s hope that any industrial crisis on top of everything else is averted
First – just to avoid anyone putting me in the wrong box – I am a member of a Trades Union. My union is not affiliated to the TUC. It is, in case you are curious, the Society of Authors.
Dr Alf asks five questions and I will offer thoughts (but not really answers) on all of them.
1. I would have felt happier is the question has been ‘should’ rather than ‘would’. The public ‘should’ be horrified that a group that was formed to protect those who work is now considering something that could destroy the lives of so many workers. As to ‘would’: I can but hope that this would be the public reaction but I fear that tribalism could well prove to be the enemy and that conflict could so easily win over cooperation (and if ever a society was in need of cooperation it is ours, in the UK, now at this time).
2. My guess is that they would. I say that because it seems that their union leaders have become increasing . . . shall we say tribal?
3. The financial markets would have a ball. They would see many opportunities to make profits and would go for them regardless of the consequences. They have always profited from disasters.
4. The Labour leaders would – and not for the first time – be between a rock (the British public) and a hard place (the unions who pay their bills). In the end ‘he who pays the piper calls the tune’. Ed and Ed would have to do what they are told to do by their masters.
5. With fury (hidden), politeness (inbred whether we like it or not) and calmness (not a bad actor). As to what decisions he would take – that is a different matter. He could do a Heath – risky but that is what I would do. I wouldn’t put it in quite the same terms as Heath did but I would suggest that there are certain measures that would have to be taken to save the country in the face of this threat and that it would be improper to take them without a clear mandate.
I am probably wide of the mark in every case.
Rodney, thanks for some very thoughtful answers. I broadly agree with you. Let’s see what transpires