Friends and Enemies

So … I have news for you.

If you can’t afford to put your heating on whilst it snows outside, if you’re struggling to keep your cupboards full, if your mortgage rate has gone through the roof and you can’t afford to fill your car up, the causes of that are not striking workers wanting a 10% pay rise nor the unions demanding that.

This last week we have seen a frenzy of new organisations, papers, Tv programmes, shouting that the unions are trying to bring the government down and punishing “ordinary people”. Aside from my gut reaction when anyone talks of bringing the Government down being “Good”, who do they think ordinary people actually are? Ordinary People are the railway workers, the nurses and healthcare workers, the postal workers. They are you and I – ordinary people – struggling to heat homes, afford Christmas, pay their mortgages.

The media seems to have decided Mick Lynch is the bogeyman. The questioning of an elected official about how much he earns was relentless. Unions today, are pretty much transparent in the way they are run, in complete opposition to the way the Tories run Government.

Watch the attacks – because that’s what they are – on Mick Lynch and you can only wonder why they do not question the government in such a manner.

The Government and it’s lackeys in the media want you to believe that Mick Lynch and striking workers are the enemy, that they and their wage demands are causing the inflation and the cost of living crisis with a little help from Putin.

They want it so much that the chairperson of the Tory Party actually said out loud that striking nurses will help Putin divide the west.

This is patently nonsense. Insulting arrogant nonsense. All the unions involved in strikes have asked the UK Government to negotiate and all are reporting a clear, definite, arrogant refusal by the government to do so.

The UK Government wants us to believe that striking workers are the enemy because it deflects from their incompetence and garners support for their policies of hate and inequity.

What am I talking about? Well, blaming the nurses, the ambulance staff, the doctors, the health care workers for the strike and the calamitous state of the NHS diverts attention from the profits made by private companies stripping our NHS. It allows right wing commentators to call for privatisation of our health service as a way to rid ourselves of the troublemakers and the inefficiencies when the actual cause is a failure to invest in people and services year after year after year by a Tory Government who take advice from private Health Insurance companies. And not just advice – money. Donations to Tory MPs amounting to thousands of pounds – millions even.

Blaming the railway workers for the chaos the Government has orchestrated allows them to continue to subsidise failing private operators whilst they plan to cut staff to increase profits for their shareholders.

Same with postal workers. Cut services, demand modernisation (which means redundancies) in order to increase profits for shareholders.

Profits are all. Who cares about the service as long as the people at the top are making money, millions and millions of ££££.

This stripping services to the bone is the same dodgy dealing as Michelle Mine’s apparent PPE deal. No one’s calling her an enemy of the state though are they? An unelected peer in the House of Lords, It is reported that she walked away with £29 million whilst Mick Lynch earns £84k a year. It would take him 345 years to earn what Michelle Mone appears to have secured in a few months.

But yeah, Mick Lynch and his striking workers are the enemy.

Meanwhile in Scotland, the Unions are commending the Scottish Government for negotiating. Comparing that to the unwillingness of the Tory Government to get round a table and talk about a deal. We have no striking NHS workers tomorrow because the strikes have been suspended as the Government has been negotiating. Mick Lynch pointed that out yesterday, Unison recognised that different experience too.

Teachers are still waiting for a negotiated settlement but we are moving forward here and the support for the unions in taking strike action is openly and clearly supported by the SNP. Not something Keir Starmer can bring himself to do.

We could do more and I would urge the Scottish Government to be bold with their budget. To put up taxes, be innovative and brave and put money in the pockets of our teachers, nurses, care workers by taxing the highest earners more and using the powers we have to increase support for the poorest.m, to protect our NHS Be brave, progressive and determined.

Open your eyes folks. This is class war at its most arrogant. Workers are exercising their democratic right to protect pay and Conditions and stand up for their members and the unions are their vehicles for doing that. They are not friends of Putin, they are not benefiting from donations from Private health insurers looking for a nod and a wink when contracts are up for grabs. Their donations come from ordinary people – from you and me. Unions, striking workers are not the enemy the Tories would have you think they are.

Support them or your job, your mortgage, your livelihood your NHS will be next. This UK Government will make sure of that.

If you want to read more from Sue, head to her blog here.

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