There’s a rather ugly swagger about the Lib Con government right now. Like insecure playground bullies, they’re puffing out their chests and giving it large. Danny Alexander says 25% cuts aren’t nearly enough. No, I want 40％！ Year! Look at the size of my cuts. George Osborne and David Cameron are jeering at trades unions and threatening to tighten laws against striking. Come on you Simpsons and Crows. If you think you’re hard enough. Just try and take us.
But if ever there were a time to try to change the law on strike ballots, this is not it. The cabinet hard nuts should remember Ted Heath and the Industrial Relations Act. The Tories in 1971 tried to take on the unions in an economic crisis and failed because they misjudged the public mood. Voters then were unhappy about the power of trades unions, but they did not want them victimised
and they didn’t like seeing trades unionists in court and union funds sequestrated.
Trades unions today are a shadow of their former selves. In the 1970s most of the workforce, 12 million, were in unions. Today, little more than half that number are organised, and the laws on strike action are much, much tougher. The public are less willing to support unions today because they tend only to represent public sector workers and their privileges. I do not believe there would be much public sympathy for any wave of strikes .But the surest way to create it, and reignite trades unionism as a moral force, would be to come down hard with the law. So put down the baseball bats. guys. You’re beginning to look stupid.