Notes From the Margins…

Now is the Summer of our Discontent

  • June 27, 2011
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It’s only three days before Thursday’s mass strike action, and anyone looking at the British media would be forgiven for believing that the world was about to end,or that the armies of the undead were about to lay waste to the nation’s cities.   What we actually contemplating is the prospect of public sector trade unions at last flexing their collective muscle to oppose the gross injustice in which politicians of all two and a half parties are complicit.

Spearheaded by the repellent Michael Gove and backed up by the Tory press, the government is doing everything it can to prevent this nightmare from unfolding, whether writing letters to headteachers exhorting them to show ‘leadership’ by keeping their schools open or calling on parents to break the schools strike.

Meanwhile the ‘opposition’ is equally desperate to prevent the strikes, with its front bench spokesmen from Miliband to the eternally tanned Peter Hain downwards calling on everyone to be sensible and negotiate rather than risk being associated with industrial action that might damage their political careers.

Naturally Blair has put his oar in, advising the unions to ‘engage with the process of change’ – a soundbite that entirely fails to address the consequences of ‘change’ for those on the receiving end of it,   even as it accepts ‘change’   as some inevitable and (in Blair’s case at least) God-given process that should simply be accepted just because it’s ‘modern’ or mandated by Goldman Sachs.

All these politicians share the same view of   ‘change’ and ‘reform’ – and how they fear the possibility that the public may see through the deception and actually stand up and say that these changes are not desirable, necessary or inevitable.

The best response to this fearmongering would be a massive turnout on Thursday, in which parents, pupils, teachers and headteachers act together to prevent this ghastly government and its pallid opposition from turning the education system and everything else that falls under the designation of ‘public’ into a feasting ground for the corporate sector which, it now seems, is the only sector that most politicians listen to.

 

 

 

 

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About Me

I’m a writer, campaigner and journalist.  My latest book is The Savage Frontier: The Pyrenees in History and the Imagination (New Press/Hurst, 2018).  The Infernal Machine is where I write on politics, history, cinema and other things that interest me.

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