Saturday, 13 August 2022
Staying On Track
No, ASLEF is not engaged in an unofficial strike. If it were, then the rail operators would have secured an injunction from the High Court.
The Government is defining not working on your rest day as striking, right when it is planning to ban strikes. The engine drivers are undeniably well-paid, but that should be a spur to join a trade union and to be active in it.
Moreover, they are striking not only to retain the real value of their pay, but also to prevent the classification of taking a day off as taking the strike action that will itself soon be illegal. On both counts, they are fighting for all of us.
Meanwhile, over at the RMT, Mick Lynch in his New Statesman interview defends "traditional values" and opposes "free movement". He also makes entirely commonsensical observations about the EU's role in fomenting the crisis in Ukraine, and about the problems of corruption and Nazism there.
At the time of the coup in 2014, Boris Johnson in his Daily Telegraph column said that about Ukraine. He will no doubt say it again as that column resumed just as all of this became what everyone pretended to have been saying all along. Although he was the Mayor of London at the time, no one told him to, "Stick to trains, you beastly little pleb." Nor will they.
But that's liberals for you. The liberal bourgeoisie, which is always calling for wars, practically never joins the Armed Forces voluntarily, and is adept at arranging cushy numbers for itself even in periods of conscription. In a way, that is just as well. Most MPs and their retainers, or the columnists and leader writers on The Times and The Guardian, or the interviewers on the New Statesman: give yourself a good laugh by trying to imagine them on the battlefield. Yet they are wild-eyed in their zeal to inflict that very fate on other people. People like Brother Lynch and his union's members, of course.
And look what the liberal bourgeoisie did, not least in the form of the Parliamentary Labour Party and of the Labour Party's staff, when a politician came along who called its bluff on being prepared to pay more to alleviate poverty and to improve public services. Of course, the likes of Dan Hodges and Ayesha Hazarika have gone all faux radical now that there is no longer any threat that what they were purporting to propose might really be attempted.
Or isn't there? How I long to see the Labour three-line whip to vote against anything more than Keir Starmer's and Rachel Reeves's offer to give each household a whopping 15p per day while compensating the energy companies for that affront. Or to vote against the renationalisation of water. Or to vote against the renationalisation of the railways, finally leading the long-disaffiliated RMT to be joined by the TSSA, which nominated Starmer for Leader, and by ASLEF. Like the RMT, whatever else they might then do, they would not stop funding candidates for election. Not long now.