Monday, 19 December 2016
End This Strike Now, Prime Minister
It is crystal clear now to anyone looking objectively at this situation that the strikes going on, particularly in the public sector are politically motivated. The Southern Trains strike in particular is about nothing other than this. The safety issue is a nonsense. It is not unsafe for a driver to press a button any more than it is for a guard to press a button. There has been only one accident attributed to doors closing on a passenger and dragging her down the platform and that was on a train with the old system operated by a guard.
Safety has long been the excuse of choice of militant trade unionists out to cause trouble. It has been what the RMT has been arguing for years every time they felt like calling a strike on the London Underground. It was what gullible junior doctors were advised to argue in their equally politically motivated strike earlier this year. The Government won that battle. Now they must win the next.
Fortunately they are facing an enemy that has overplayed its hand as fatally as that of the doctors.
The Government should announce this week that they will introduce an emergency measure into parliament to end this nonsense. To earn additional brownie points they could even announce that to do so they will not now send the Commons into recess on Tuesday as planned, but use those few empty days before Christmas to ram a measure through parliament. It is said that Labour plan on stymying this in the House of Lords. Well bring it on.
Theresa May is a very cautious politician and this is to her credit. But this is a golden opportunity to not only put her stamp on parliament and her party but to show everyone in the entire country who is boss. It would win her friends in her party in a way that no amount of glad handing would ever do.
This is a golden scenario. Unions, as yesterday's Sunday Times showed, are out to use these confected disputes as a means to put pressure on the prime minister and her narrow majority. The left is once again showing its contempt for democracy and the rule of law when they go in a direction with which they disagree. And so it is time for firm and decisive leadership. The unions are entirely in the wrong. They talk of solidarity with the working class and of how Tories hate the working class and yet here they are preventing the working class from going to work or sending cards and parcels at Christmas. Or going on holiday.
This is not a complex issue. The legislation will take some time to put through parliament it is true, but it will also send out a signal. Strikes cannot and must not be used as a means of exerting political pressure. They are supposed to there as a last resort. Increasingly they are used as a first resort by very well paid workers in highly secure jobs by Marxist revolutionaries who have never grown out of their teenage issues. Labour will back the strikers over the workers because that is Chauncey's default response to any and all disputes whatever the rights and wrongs. It may well be the case that the striking BA cabin crew have a more reasonable dispute, although even then their timing is cynical. But the train strike is 100% wrong. It needs to be stopped immediately or measures taken to ensure it never happens again.