The Futility Monster

He'll pointlessly derive more enjoyment out of your resources than you

Cameron Seizes Thatcher’s Mantle

Posted by The Futility Monster on March 18, 2010 @ 09:39

About the best I could do...

Amidst the clamour yesterday amongst Tories and the right-wing in general that Cameron made mincemeat of Brown at PMQs with his questions regarding the forthcoming BA cabin crew strike, I couldn’t help but wonder whether Cameron was doing the wrong thing…

Yes, Brown dithered. So what’s new? And it is most unfortunate that Labour has such close financial ties to the Unite union. But, as we have been reminded time and again, the unions did found the Labour Party. We shouldn’t be so surprised that the two are intertwined.

But where Cameron really crossed the line, in my mind, was in encouraging strike-breaking. Naturally, no one likes to strike. No one wants to go on strike. And no one wants to cross a picket line.

So to him to be antagonising from the sidelines in this bitter dispute, one which could be resolved if the atmosphere calms down a little, seemed really “back to the future”: not befitting of someone who wants to be Prime Minister.

Do we really want someone who, yet again, is going to “take on the unions”? When the unions are at the weakest they’ve ever been; when the power of the working class is almost at zero; when workers are terrified of striking because the employers now hold all the cards?

Not that I was around during the 80s, but I’m not keen on seeing those days of industrial unrest again, a country driven into two camps. The nation is divided enough already without us seeing a new Prime Minister who is determined to reinforce it.

And yes, it really undermines Cameron’s old image of compassionate conservatism. Not that he cares about that any more. So long, too, to the new politics, and the message of change, when it sounds like we’re going to be getting more of the same old neo-liberal Keith Joseph/Thatcherite regime.

That’s not to say that unions still don’t have some influence. I would argue that due to the civil service unions, we probably have a higher percentage of white collar union membership than ever. The middle classes are, indeed, revolting.

But what if these voters, clearly more likely to be more affluent, more centrist… what if they are a little bit shocked by what Cameron says? What if they feel that, if their jobs are under threat by Tory public sector cuts, they too may be part of future industrial unrest?

Might they not be put off by the Cameron message just a little?

We’ll see.

UPDATE: Do you think, if Cammo was PM, and he was behaving as belligerently towards the unions as at PMQs yesterday, that this would be happening?

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