Saturday, 13 September 2014

PCS, the Scottish referendum and October 14th

With only a few days left until the vote takes place in Scotland, the far-left particularly in PCS is trying to take advantage of what may become not just a constitutional crisis but an economic one as well. The papers warn of disinvestment as a big sell off of British assets has been taking place. According to The Times (no link£) this currently stands at some £17 Billion, a larger amount than the collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2008.

We know what happened next.

When there are economic crisis's people suffer, and suffer they have. Although in the UK the economic situation has begun to improve considerably with unemployment clearly going down, the recovery remains fragile and a "Yes" vote by Scotland could and probably will have dire consequences.

Especially for the Scots themselves.

With the vote so close, even the smallest of sectarian political groupings can make a difference. The largest of the left alliances in the trade unions, PCS Left Unity has already called for a Yes vote. At the same time these comrades are asking members to participate in a second protest strike, even though the NUT which struck with them last time has voted against at a recent executive meeting by 26 to 12.

Interestingly the Socialist Party, through one its main NUT figures Jane Nellist says:

I was recently elected as National Union of Teachers(NUT) executive member with a manifesto clearly stating we needed to escalate strike action. We needed a clear calendar of action to win our demands on pay, pensions and workload as well as to seek the widest possible coordinated action with other unions.

But the executive meeting on 5 September voted against striking on 14 October, the date chosen by other trade unions including those representing support staff in schools.

Already, on social media, many teachers are expressing anger with this decision.

A clear indication of the intentions of the Socialist Party. However PCS President Janice Godrich takes a far more disingenuous approach when she writes:

...our policy is to seek maximum unity which is what we are doing. At the sept full nec two weeks ago there was not clarification on results of ballots in some unions. We have then been at the tuc representing pcs. Next week is the Scottish referendum so the special nec is been held as early as possible ie 23rd September.

I find it hard to believe that PCS won't take part in any strike given the major elements including the rumbustious Independent Left are virtually wetting themselves in anticipation. According to PCS such a strike will:

PCS is talking to these unions about how we can coordinate strike action to be as effective as possible so that we can force the government into negotiations.

Our campaign will include taking part in co-ordinated action with other unions to break the public sector pay squeeze. We are also identifying key groups of members who, if they take sustained strike action, will put real pressure on employers and the government.

However given the lack of response last time it is likely the Government will not take much notice, especially if the referendum ends in the break up of the UK. The last thing anyone will worry about (other than ourseves) will be giving pay rises to civil servants or indeed any other public sector workers.

The other problem will be one of turnout. PCS claimed that over 70% of its members took part in the strike on July 10th. Having seen figures for the largest Department where the turnout was clearly under a third, such pronouncements bare ill for the future.

What the far left hope for (though never say it) is for a crisis in which the "working class" will turn to the self appointed far left groups for "leadership" and a revolution will take place.

Backward and muddled 19th Century thinking . Its not going to happen, even demographically the "working class" is no longer a majority in our society but there's no point in trying to tell the comrades that. Their religious adherence to their ideology blinds them to political reality.

Lets hope the Scots vote no to independence and we all get to move on as one united nation building a recovery in which pay rises become a real possibility.

The rhetoric of the left is no substitute for rational thinking or behaviour.

Nationalism and Socialism are backward looking ideas, which along with Islamism remain a threat to democracy and prosperity.

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