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Strike threat to Olympics

From James Baker

Friday, 2 March 2012

I am very glad to see people are condemning Len McCluskey for advocating politically motivated strikes during the Olympics. I don't often agree with Ed Miliband, but he was right to stand up to the Unions and join Cameron in criticising these plans. What are UNITE thinking of? It's meant to be a time to celebrate and promote our country!

From Allen Keep

Saturday, 3 March 2012

I'll just make it clear where I stand on Len McCluskey. I support him and have no problem with what he had to say.

Civil disobedience? Bring it on - given what this coalition government is doing to us I think it is entirely justifed.

I would have thought that James, as a civil liberties campaigner, would defended the right to partake in civil disobedience rather than condemn it as his starting point.

Unfortunately, the appeal of the union jack and the desire to defend the interests of private capital and the market appear to be much the stronger influence on his position.

Just to help the debate which may or not follow here is what was actually said.

Q: One of the comments I got on the blog I posted inviting readers to suggest questions was about strike action during the Olympics. [It was from Imageark.] Is that something you have talked about?

A: Absolutely, yes. The attacks that are being launched on public-sector workers at the moment are so deep and ideological that the idea the world should arrive in London and have these wonderful Olympic Games as though everything is nice and rosy in the garden is unthinkable. Our very way of life is being attacked. By then this crazy Health and Social Care Bill may have been passed. So we are looking at the privatisation of our National Health Service. I believe the unions, and the general community, have got every right to be out protesting. If the Olympics provide us with an opportunity, then that's exactly one that we should be looking at.

Q: Where could your members disrupt the Olympics? Have you got as far as thinking about that?

A: Not in the specifics, although, moving away from the public sector for a moment, our London bus members are desperately engaged in a battle to bring some stability into what is a crucial lifeline within this fantastic capital city of ours and they are not making progress – not being helped, of course, by the mayor, who seems oblivious to the wishes of ordinary working people. So they will be examining what leverage points we have, and the Olympics will clearly come into play.

Now nobody has made any decisions yet and, of course, it would be nice if we were able not to disrupt such a prestigious event as the Olympics. But by the same token. people have to understand that we are fighting for our heritage here. Our parents and our grandparents, having defeated fascism in Europe, came back determined to build a land fit for heroes. They gave us the welfare state, the National Health Service, universal education. All of that is being attacked. I, for one, am not prepared to stand by and have my children or grandchildren say to me: "What did you do when this was being taken away from us?" When you say what can we do, and the likes of the Olympics, I'm calling upon the general public to engage in civil disobedience.

Q: What do you mean by that?

A: All forms of civil disobedience, within the law.

Q: Are you specifically talking about the Olympics? Or are you making a general point?

A: I'm making a general point. But you raise the Olympics because it's a focal point. And if there is a protest, then the purpose of protest is to bring your grievances to the attention of as many people as possible.

From James Baker

Saturday, 3 March 2012

I disagree with all sorts of things people say or do Allen, but I'll defend their right to say or do it. Being a civil liberties campaigning is about defending people's right to take action, that doesn't mean their actions are morally justifiable or that I can't condemn or criticise them for doing it.

The Olympics are an international event that bring people from all countries together in the spirit of peace. To call for civil disobedience to disrupt such an occasion strikes me as pretty selfish.

I appreciate he wants to defends the interests of the group he represents, that is reasonable. Everyone has a right to defend their own interests. However to invoke fighting against fascism or to claim we are 'fighting for our heritage' seems to be laying it on a bit thick. It's typical left-wing romanticism. Realistically he represents a union largely comprised of state workers who already enjoy a privileged set of working conditions when compared to most people in the private sector.

In supporting Len's call you are in a minority Allen. I suspect even the Calder Labour party and their socialist candidate will be supporting their leader Ed Miliband in condemning Len McCluskey.

From David Telford

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Of course, everyone has the right to express their opinions but not at the expense of others.

The UK's image abroad is still tarnished with laziness, unproductive and strong unions even if that isn't entirely justified. To damage that reputation further at an international showcase like the Olympics is just shooting oneself in the foot for someone who claims to support full employment etc. It's a case of massaging his own ego and to hell with the rest of us.

I personally didn't support the Olympic bid and think it very silly to have it in London when as UK cities go, it's the least in need of investment but to wilfully make the UK look a laughing stock is selfish in the extreme.

From Simon Hayles

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

I disagree, Mr Telford. I think that some foreign countries like us very much!

Take India for example; recently the (government-owned) RBS announced that it intends to 'relocate' 300 jobs to India - that must please India, no?

It's a comfort to know that any of those 300 UK citizens who'll be made redundant and are under 21 can look forward in 6 months to being 're-trained' as shelf-stackers for £1.65 per hour - or starve - or maybe they could take the easy route and just distract your sales guys?

May I suggest a new Olympic event? The Race To The Bottom.


From David Telford

Monday, 12 March 2012

The issue is not that other countries don't like us, it's just we may not be seen as a great place to invest.

It's cerainly surprising to see someone else on the forum try to defend bankers' jobs. The issue there, is can we provide banking services at a cheaper, more efficient way than in India? I'm guessing that we can't and until we can, these jobs will go elsewhere. It's the same as cars, ships & coal in the 70s & 80s we simply weren't as good as others at providing things for various reasons, quality of product, unreliable workforce, interference in exchange rate policy.

The problem with disrupting the Olympics is that we can only make the country less attractive to invest in.

The only ways to reduce unemployment are:

a) Invent some jobs to make people feel busy

b) Invest in infrastructure and employng people to improve roads / rail etc.

c) Get British companies to be really competetive so British goods & services are in demand and companies expand and employ people.

d) Get overseas companies to set up in the UK to provide goods and services.

Option a) is an expensive short term idea that is doomed to fail and is counter - productive.

Option b) is what we're doing right now and in the long terms helps c) & d).

Option d) would be adversely effected by a strike action at a world event and C) would not exactly be helped.

I conclude that strike action would be a very selfish act that can only damage British jobs, people and the economy.