It is Obvious

Chris Rick has got altogether too much to say

Ohhhhhhh – you can’t touch me I’m part of the union, you can’t touch…

Posted by chrisrick13 on November 30, 2011

It is obvious: you should always strike

This morning I knew that if I heard anything on the strike it would annoy me, but it started well.  The BBC began their news with “Here is OUR main story…”  My emphasis and a subtle point but it is setting the scene that it is what they are choosing.  I could say that there are plenty more important stories out there today.  But that is irrelevant, they have given clarity.

Things went down hill after that.  First there was an interview with Francis Maude.  I don’t like him as I dealt with him over IR35 and, as you might expect, they dealt with us and it poorly.  He was challenged that they had not met the unions since November 2nd.  His response was that it was quite right they had not.  That was a top-level framework meeting.  Since then there were individual detailed discussions going on with the various pension funds that were highly technical.  There is not one pension fund for all the unions so there had to be many of them for things to proceed.  He said that a negotiation meeting had taken place yesterday on X pension fund, there was another tomorrow on Y pension fund and one on Z pension fund the day after.  I waited with bated breath to hear Dave  Prentis, the Unison leader, who was up next.  He could nail Maude if he had misrepresented anything.

The interviewer asked a fairly anodyne question which got a meaningless answer until he said, and I can only paraphrase: the pension fund money was being taken to pay off the deficit caused by giving the banks so much money.  The interviewer just passed on to his next question.

Where is my marksman for both of them!  That statement is wrong on so many counts I can barely bring myself to discuss it.  You can’t pay off a deficit.  A deficit is merely an accounting of the difference between spending and income.  The banks have not been given any money.  It might be a mighty long time before we get it back, but the money put into banks was in return for assets.  The banks have been lent a lot of public money…and are paying a heavy cost in interest payments that are helping keep this country afloat.  The pension funds are not being raided to give money to bankers.  The pension funds do not have enough money to meet their obligations.  These are promises made many years ago in a different world.  Either the government puts money in or the workers have their pensions reduced.  If the government puts money in where does it come from…you and me.  It carries a body count if other services are reduced.  So we have to put £50bn into government pension funds.  This one will hurt.  When I come round to collect all that money that has been spent on your behalf I’ll have to add £2,000 for those pension funds.  Have you got it ready?

Prentis, and I find it difficult to give him an honorary title, then re-iterated that they had not met since November.  At last the interviewer stood up to be counted and mentioned the detailed meetings.  Prentis dismissed them as irrelevant and insisted that meetings at his level were the only important ones.

My wife surfaced from the bedroom and had a good go at taxing the bankers to pay for all this.  I agreed with her that we should hit them with an immediate tax of, say, 10% – teach them a lesson and help drive the business to Frankfurt – what need do we have of, what is now the biggest industry and contributor to HMRC, in this country.  If there are 10,000 bankers in the City getting a million pounds each then the 10% tax will bring in £1bn.  The pension shortfall is more than £50bn.

It is obvious: you should always strike…when you know very well what you are striking for

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