Monday, 21 July 2014

Jaw Jaw, not War War

The Year is 1914, exactly 100 years ago.
A tragedy struck a part of Europe where separatist fighters had been conducting a military campaign for independence. The separatist fighters were backed by a powerful Eastern European country. When they murdered in a high profile and very public incident Western Powers looked to that Eastern European Country for a smoking gun. They found it and a chain of events started which ended in World War.

The Year is 2014, exactly 100 years on.
A tragedy struck a part of Europe where separatist fighters had been conducting a military campaign for independence. The separatist fighters were backed by a powerful Eastern European country. When they murdered in a high profile and very public incident Western Powers looked to that Eastern European Country for a smoking gun. They found it and a chain of events started which ended in ...

For the sake of peace remember Winston Churchill. Jaw-jaw is always better than war-war

Friday, 11 July 2014

Right to Strike - Yes (but we want our say)

It must be every workers fundamental right to withdraw their labour in protest without fear of sanction. An employer who flouts this right must be brought to task. This is a right we have earned as a civilised society but with every right there is a great responsibility. Just as a employers should not be allowed to interfere with the right to strike so the employees should not be allowed to hold the country to ransom merely over the threat of strike action. This is nothing new and, indeed, nothing Tory. As long ago as 1969 Barbara Castle published the White Paper "In Place of Strife" which proposed major Government intervention on Union activity and strikes. In 1979, the Labour Prime Minister considered declaring a state of Emergency to bring the Union Barons to heel. Spineless as ever the Labour Government stopped short of rattling their paymaster's cage allowing the country to go bankrupt ushering in the IMF humiliation. Even after much needed reforms the recent public sector strike was able to go ahead on the basis of a voter turnout of 1 in 4. The Union Barons compare this to General Elections, Mayoral elections, etc. where we would all love a greater turnout. Fine, if the Union bosses want parity then so be it. General, Local, PCC and Mayoral Election candidates are voted on by those who are affected by the result of the election. If the public sector want to strike then let the ballot not just be for Union members, not even just for all employees regardless of union membership but extended to all those affected by the strike. The parents of the children who won't be taught, the households whose bins won't be collected and the bereaved whose loved ones won't be buried should all have a right to have a say. With great power comes great responsibility so either have a strike called by a majority of members or let's have a universal franchise. If, as the Unions insist, the strikes enjoy public support then they should fully support this.

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Public Sector - Striking the right balance


Four years ago I predicted that the Public Sector would screw up the recovery (see No Joke, We're Broke). In this prediction I looked back on the great recession during Labour's last sorry days of Government and how public sector employees were almost completely unaffected. During the recession businesses felt the squeeze and many didn't survive. Many that survived did so with the support of their workforce taking shorter hours, 4 day weeks, temporary lay offs. They did what they could to make sure there was still a job after the recession. As I predicted the sorry state of Labour's recession has caught up with the public sector. Imagine for a second if the likes of Unison, Unite, GMB, etc. were to encourage their members to take the private sector approach and accept that, like a prudent business, the Government has to take unpalatable measure to stay afloat. As if suffering from acute amnesia they forget that the lowest paid workers have been taken completely out of taxation, they forget that Labour scrapped the 10% tax rate and this Government not only restored it but restored it at 0%. They forget that public sector pay has risen by 17.7% since 2007 compared to 13.4% in the private sector. They forget that Public Sector workers still enjoy better job security, final salary pension schemes, very generous sick pay arrangements, pay scale increments regardless of performance. During the public sector strike in 2012 I vented to my colleagues the benefits of public sector employment, even after reforms. Quite rightly they asked me "So why did you leave?"... Not easy to answer

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Open Letter calling on Andy Burnham - Apologise to Your Constituents



Dear Mr. Burnham,


‘What sort of message are we sending out when we say social care is the lowest form of work – lower even than McDonald’s.’


I write following your speech to Unite the Union in Liverpool where you stated the above quote. Notwithstanding the high regard held for care workers and others in social care employment and in what can only be described as a contemptuous lack of judgement on your part you have singled out an employer of 91,500 people at all levels in the UK as a metaphor for an employer of low esteem and scant regard. Not only have you insulted the employees of McDonalds in the UK but also directly insulted those currently employed in the Tyldesley, Lowton and Leigh branches, some of whom are my friends, all of whom your constituents. You have swallowed hook, line and sinker the clich├ęd stereotype of employees of fast food restaurants and used it for your own political expedience. You must apologise for this incredulous lack of judgement to the employees of McDonalds but specifically to your constituents who have found gainful employment with a responsible employer.


I look forward to your full and frank apology


Richard Short

Leigh Conservatives

Chairman, Wigan Conservative Federation