It was to be expected I suppose. The news headlines in the World Cup, with the exception of Brazil’s woeful defensive display against Germany, have been dominated by strikers. Whether it was Luis Suarez or Arjen Robben, Neymar or Lionel Messi, strikers were the people wanted to talk about. This is probably because they do the most important job; putting the ball into the net.
Other strikers have been in the news as well. These strikers were public sector workers such as teachers and firefighters. I think it is clear that it is these people who do the most important jobs in society – and that’s why they were on strike.
There can really be no argument with the proposition that we now live in a very unfair, unequal society. If anybody has any doubts about this, then I suggest they consider the events taking place at the Tory Summer Ball at the beginning of July. It was a £12 000 per table bash, with those who were merely millionaires ‘making up the numbers’. Among the prizes in the auction was a bottle of champagne signed by Margaret Thatcher, which went for £40 000, while a day’s shooting on the Oxfordshire estate of Syrian-born billionaire went for double that. The star prize went to the banker wife of a former minister in Vladimir Putin’s government, who paid £160 000 for a game of tennis with David Cameron and Boris Johnson. Conservative M.P. Hugo Swire even managed to get someone to pay £15 000 for a jar of honey made from his own bees.
Meanwhile public sector workers have had their pay squeezed for many years now and in the words of TUC Chief Frances O’Grady, “are locked out of the recovery”. Such as it is….. It is still debateable whether a housing bubble in the South east really constitutes a recovery.
Do all the millionaires and billionaires at the Tory Summer Ball really do more important work for society than a teacher or a firefighter, a nurse or a careworker?
One of the great mysteries of days when public sector workers go on strike is the way other workers get so irate about it. I sometimes wonder if deep down it is just that they are jealous or even ashamed of the fact that some workers still have the principle and courage to fight back, when they don’t. Or perhaps they really are just taken in by the propaganda pouring out of deeply discredited right-wing tabloids and the millionaires around the cabinet table and really do believe that there isn’t the money…
But, but….if the vested interests of the powerful and wealthy seemed threatened, isn’t it funny just how quickly money is found for foreign wars, which do more harm than good, both at home and abroad?
The money is there. The crisis was caused by the bankers, whom we bailed out, and ordinary working people are still paying the price, whilst the bankers and their Tory friends are laughing all the way to the, er bank.
What strikes (no pun intended) me the most however, is that every single person who texted, emailed or tweeted how disgusted they were about the strike, because of the inconvenience seems incapable of following the logic of their own complaint. They are proving the strikers to be right in what they are doing.
After all, if people have been inconvenienced by the strike, that can only be because those on strike do some of the very most important jobs in society. After all, who would be inconvenienced by Michael Gove going on strike? Given that public sector workers are amongst the most important members of society, it surely then follows that they should be treated with enormous respect. As they are so poorly paid and treated with such contempt by a government who won’t listen to them, then they clearly have a case for saying enough is enough.
Public sector strikes are disruptive for one reason and one reason alone; those on strike work very hard and do some of the very most important jobs in society.
At the end of the day, football clubs usually pay top whack for strikers, because they do the most important job – putting the ball in the net. Those workers who were striking on 10th July should be viewed in the same light – they do the important jobs, the ones that really matter.
© Peter Sagar July 2014