Subjugating Society in Seven Days

In the past seven days we have been given a glimpse into what could lie ahead in our true blue Tory future. This is a government not content with simply demolishing the welfare state but seemingly hell bent on eradicating meaningful democracy itself.

In the past seven days we have been given a glimpse into what could lie ahead in our true blue Tory future. This is a government not content with simply demolishing the welfare state but seemingly hell bent on eradicating meaningful democracy itself.

Last Wednesday George Osborne gave his butchers block budget, which will deliver a deeply divided country with destitution for our most vulnerable and untold riches for our wealthiest.

This week we have seen an attempt to roll back animal welfare, testing the waters for an attack on the hunting act, which although thwarted for now, will no doubt return when the Tories give themselves a double majority with English Votes for English Laws (EVEL).

Yesterday they announced their anti-democratic Trade Union Bill.

It is often stated that the British House of Commons is the mother of all Parliaments. This is a term used to imply a superior level of democracy to anyone else across the globe. Sadly, the current incumbents of government appear fixated on rolling back democracy wherever it suits their need.

The Trade Union Bill is a full frontal attack on workers’ rights and civil liberties which is unfair, undemocratic and totally unnecessary. This is tory ideology laid bare, with 21st Century Conservtivism showing once and for all that it has failed to move on in any shape or form since the 1800’s.

The UK already has the strictest anti trade union legislation in the western world as our own former leader Tony Blair once shamefully boasted. This regressive bill, which confines to the dustbin any claims, if ever they were believed, that the Tories are the workers party, seeks to totally eliminate the right to strike legally.

It includes thresholds on ballots which will apply to no other democratic institution in the country. Only 56 of the 330 Conservative MP’s elected in 2015 would pass their own test. Indeed the minister in charge of the “reforms” Sajid Javid, would have failed to be elected in his own ultra-safe Conservative Bromsgrove Constituency under the proposals. Almost no councillors, no police and crime commissioners and no regional mayors would be allowed to take office under the same rules.

The bill exploits the dreadful working conditions the Tories have created themselves by including an overturn of the ban on employers bringing in agency workers during strikes. This is classic divide and rule pitting desperate workers in agencies against people looking to safeguard their own wages, terms and conditions. It is shameful politics that in some cases could put the public at risk, with bosses allowed to bring in inexperienced staff to backfill for striking workers.

The bill puts a time limit on the length between a ballot and any action and requires a clear description of the dispute and action to be included on the ballot paper. In a system where bosses already take unions to court over technicalities, this tips the scales even further in their direction and could have serious financial consequences for the Unions in defending their members.

Furthermore, the Tories seem intent on putting further restrictions on the cleanest money in politics, the funding from the Unions to the labour Party. It is an absolute disgrace that the tiny contributions of millions will be subject to red tape yet the millions from a tiny minority continue to pour into Tory party coffers unchecked.

Perhaps the most shameful part of the bill is to paint striking workers as threatening and thuggish. Criminalising seven or more people assembling on a picket line under the guise of allowing “non-striking workers” to continue without fear of intimidation is outrageous. Are we really to believe that seven nurses, lollypop ladies or call centre workers are a threat to the personal safety of anyone? This feels like a step back in time to the days when workers gathered at “miners’ picnics” or “galas” to get round anti assembly laws.

This is the regressive politics of a Conservative Party who never again want to see dissent against their demonising and destructive mantra. It is the politics of a party who never want another day, let alone another term out of office. It is the politics of a deluded and distant elite who feel they were born to rule.

We must fight these reforms with every breath in our body, for what comes next is anyone’s guess.