Jump to content
The Education Forum
  • Announcements

    • Evan Burton

      OPEN REGISTRATION BY EMAIL ONLY !!! PLEASE CLICK ON THIS TITLE FOR INFORMATION REQUIRED FOR REGISTRATION!:   06/03/2017

      We have 5 requirements for registration: 1.Sign up with your real name. (This will be your Username) 2.A valid email address 3.Your agreement to the Terms of Use, seen here: http://educationforum.ipbhost.com/index.php?showtopic=21403. 4. Your photo for use as an avatar  5.. A brief biography. We will post these for you, and send you your password. We cannot approve membership until we receive these. If you are interested, please send an email to: edforumbusiness@outlook.com We look forward to having you as a part of the Forum! Sincerely, The Education Forum Team
Sign in to follow this  
Polly Toynbee

Unions and Inequality

Recommended Posts

If once the overweening power of the unions was called the British disease, now the weakness of trade unions symbolises a very different British sickness - the tyranny of wealth and the hegemony of money.

Once union power led to Britain's reputation as the basketcase of the west, racked by inflationary pay demands, begging for help from the IMF. Now the fragility of unions has helped Britain become Europe's offshore tax haven, boasting of both our "flexible" work laws and our flexible approach to taxing the rich. You should see some of the contemptuous things said and written about us now across the rest of Europe - and it's not the politics of envy but distaste for London's excess side by side with London's poverty.

In a whirlwind of global capitalism more rampant than at any time since the pre-depression boom of the 1920s, there is no longer a countervailing force to stand up for people at work, the great majority of ordinary PAYE citizens. If unions had been stronger over the past 20 years, we would not have slid back to the same level of wealth inequality as 1937, nor would the top 3% own three times the wealth of the entire bottom half of the population. Union power may have made the country almost ungovernable in the 1970s, but never forget it also delivered increasing equality. Progress went into reverse the moment unions started to lose ground.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/Columnists/Colum...2166423,00.html

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
If once the overweening power of the unions was called the British disease, now the weakness of trade unions symbolises a very different British sickness - the tyranny of wealth and the hegemony of money.

Once union power led to Britain's reputation as the basketcase of the west, racked by inflationary pay demands, begging for help from the IMF. Now the fragility of unions has helped Britain become Europe's offshore tax haven, boasting of both our "flexible" work laws and our flexible approach to taxing the rich. You should see some of the contemptuous things said and written about us now across the rest of Europe - and it's not the politics of envy but distaste for London's excess side by side with London's poverty.

In a whirlwind of global capitalism more rampant than at any time since the pre-depression boom of the 1920s, there is no longer a countervailing force to stand up for people at work, the great majority of ordinary PAYE citizens. If unions had been stronger over the past 20 years, we would not have slid back to the same level of wealth inequality as 1937, nor would the top 3% own three times the wealth of the entire bottom half of the population. Union power may have made the country almost ungovernable in the 1970s, but never forget it also delivered increasing equality. Progress went into reverse the moment unions started to lose ground.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/Columnists/Colum...2166423,00.html

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
If once the overweening power of the unions was called the British disease, now the weakness of trade unions symbolises a very different British sickness - the tyranny of wealth and the hegemony of money.

Once union power led to Britain's reputation as the basketcase of the west, racked by inflationary pay demands, begging for help from the IMF. Now the fragility of unions has helped Britain become Europe's offshore tax haven, boasting of both our "flexible" work laws and our flexible approach to taxing the rich. You should see some of the contemptuous things said and written about us now across the rest of Europe - and it's not the politics of envy but distaste for London's excess side by side with London's poverty.

In a whirlwind of global capitalism more rampant than at any time since the pre-depression boom of the 1920s, there is no longer a countervailing force to stand up for people at work, the great majority of ordinary PAYE citizens. If unions had been stronger over the past 20 years, we would not have slid back to the same level of wealth inequality as 1937, nor would the top 3% own three times the wealth of the entire bottom half of the population. Union power may have made the country almost ungovernable in the 1970s, but never forget it also delivered increasing equality. Progress went into reverse the moment unions started to lose ground.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/Columnists/Colum...2166423,00.html

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
If once the overweening power of the unions was called the British disease, now the weakness of trade unions symbolises a very different British sickness - the tyranny of wealth and the hegemony of money.

Once union power led to Britain's reputation as the basketcase of the west, racked by inflationary pay demands, begging for help from the IMF. Now the fragility of unions has helped Britain become Europe's offshore tax haven, boasting of both our "flexible" work laws and our flexible approach to taxing the rich. You should see some of the contemptuous things said and written about us now across the rest of Europe - and it's not the politics of envy but distaste for London's excess side by side with London's poverty.

In a whirlwind of global capitalism more rampant than at any time since the pre-depression boom of the 1920s, there is no longer a countervailing force to stand up for people at work, the great majority of ordinary PAYE citizens. If unions had been stronger over the past 20 years, we would not have slid back to the same level of wealth inequality as 1937, nor would the top 3% own three times the wealth of the entire bottom half of the population. Union power may have made the country almost ungovernable in the 1970s, but never forget it also delivered increasing equality. Progress went into reverse the moment unions started to lose ground.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/Columnists/Colum...2166423,00.html

"Once union power led to Britain's reputation as the basketcase of the west" and "Union power may have made the country almost ungovernable in the 1970s"

And was it not precisely that attitude which led to this…?

"Progress went into reverse the moment unions started to lose ground"

"there is no longer a countervailing force to stand up for people at work"

"If unions had been stronger over the past 20 years, we would not have slid back to the same level of wealth inequality as 1937”

In other words, when unions fight for higher wages, lower hours or better conditions they are a “basketcase” and “ungovernable”: but when the toothless liberal elite are faced with the seemingly relentless juggernaut of an unbridled free market they pitifully squeak: “Where’s the cavalry?”

Make your mind up Polly!

So where did you stand during the 1984/85 miners’ strike? I really don’t recall the picket lines being staffed by the SDP (a proto-type New Labour model that split the anti-Thatcher vote and won her two more elections!), or of them warning the country of the calamitous consequences should the miners lose. I also have no recollections of either yourself or your SDP ‘comrades’ berating Kinnock for not giving them any political or moral support.

I do remember the SDP leaders constantly banging on about extremist union leaders and “bully boy pickets” and how laws should be introduced seriously limiting their power!

You see, it’s very easy to be pro union when they are dormant: a little less so it seems when they take action to defend their livelihoods.

Too greedy and stupid when they go on strike - too timid and docile when they don’t!

Keep the unions out of the kitchens while we educated liberal chefs prepare them an ethical and politically correct dish from some tired, left over ingredients. We tell them they are there to eat what we cook and if they don’t like it we’ll prevent them, by statute, from doing anything about it.

However, as we clever chefs have now been replaced by a “rampant” hamburger stand we’ll express disgust with those same unions for not storming the kitchens to get us all our jobs back!

That is basically the sub text of your post.

I agree with almost everything you have said: the irony being that you yourself are a major contributor to this state of affairs. Your right wing, pro-market SDP was the midwife of New Labour. And even as an embryo New Labour was always anti trade union and totally committed to “rampant global capitalism”. New Labour is YOUR party. This is what Shirley Williams, Roy Jenkins, David Owen, (and that other dreadful little man) fought for when they created the breakaway SDP.

You created it! You take the responsibility!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×