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Who are the strikers fooling? Jesters exist to tell unacceptable truths

Social disruption is indispensable (Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

Social disruption is indispensable (Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)


March 14, 2023   6 mins

The tide of industrial action rolls steadily on. Even physiotherapists are threatening to bring the country to its knees, rather than performing their usual task of setting it on its feet. Next, surely, it will be vicars, who will abandon their sermons, rip off their vestments and refuse to bury your grandmother. All this, needless to say, involves a good deal of inconvenience. You might, for example, have to stand for hours in the freezing cold holding a placard and worrying about the pay you are losing in doing so. People do such things anyway, however, since it’s inconvenient to have to walk because you can’t afford public transport, or take a second job in order to provide your children with a decent breakfast.

There’s also some lesser inconvenience to what the media calls the public, but it doesn’t usually last for long. A lot of cleaners and shelf-stackers have to put up with the inconvenience of being poor for years on end, whereas some stockbrokers are enraged by a mere two or three days of cancelled trains. The public is a mythical entity, apparently quite distinct from nurses, postmen, railway workers, junior barristers and the like. These people cause social disruption, and thus can’t be members of the public. Members of the public are the objects of such disruption, not the agents of it. A CEO is a member of the public but an ambulance driver is not.

Strikes are double-edged swords, which hurt those who deploy them. When a manager sacks or disciplines an employee, only the employee suffers, whereas workers who take industrial action may have to diminish their already slim resources in order to try to increment them. Strikes are also purely negative strategies, and trade unions largely defensive bodies. We’re a long way from peasants with pitchforks marching on the lord’s castle. Bosses have a number of positive ways of exercising power over their employees: firing them, slashing their pay, cutting their tea breaks, imposing longer hours, speeding up their work and so on. Unions, by contrast, have the single option of withdrawing their labour, which is hardly a revolutionary move. Like those who practise civil disobedience, all they can do is take a stand and cry “Enough!”, aware that they will then be travestied as wreckers and hooligans who are holding the country to ransom.

Their behaviour is not just unprincipled but unpatriotic. Theirs is a strike against the community itself, a case hard to maintain when a lot of the community are also brandishing banners. To walk away from your workbench is to be a bully and a blackmailer. Simply by sitting on your hands, rather than by storming the Treasury or kidnapping merchant bankers, you become an object of odium, not least to the affluent elite whose profits you are putting in peril. Charles Dickens travelled to Preston in the mid-19th century to observe an industrial strike at close quarters, and wrote admiringly of the reasonableness and decency of the working people involved in it. He then produced a novel called Hard Times, which contains one of the most lurid caricatures of trade unionism in Victorian England.

Nobody objects to the right to withhold one’s labour; it’s only when it starts to be effective that people fire off letters to the Telegraph. Moves by strikers to lend their cause more impact — linking up different struggles, for example, or striking at certain key moments — are regarded as seizing an unfair advantage, as though it’s bad form to overtake another runner in a marathon. By contrast, stockpiling coal to prepare for a miners’ strike, as Margaret Thatcher did, is simple common sense. The ideal, surely, is to have a strike which has no effect whatsoever, rather like having a baby that never bawls or a brand of chocolate that is both delicious and slimming.

Few civil rights have been at once so respected in theory and abhorred in practice. The first question a TV journalist tends to ask isn’t “What’s the cause of the dispute?” but “How can we stop it?” There’s an entrenched assumption that strikes, like salt or smoking, are bad in themselves — an assumption not shared by those who might benefit enough from them to switch the heating back on from time to time. You can’t ban strikes because that’s what fascist societies do, but you can’t stomach them either. Fifty years ago, it was customary to decry trade unions as too powerful; but as successive governments have bound them legislatively hand and foot, they have deprived themselves in the process of this reason for harassing them. Not that it was ever a plausible argument in the first place: the muscular capacity of trade unions is nothing compared to the power of capital.

The history of the British working-class movement is not one of wreckage and vandalism. The greatest wave of social protest in the 19th century, the Chartists, worked within the law to press for a set of reasonable reforms of the parliamentary system, almost all of which are now in operation despite being haughtily rejected at the time. Some decades later, the Suffragettes, in spite of being beaten, bludgeoned and force-fed in prison, outmatched the labour movement in their militancy. The General Strike of 1926 lasted for only nine days. From the Peterloo massacre to the dockers’ strike of 1898, there was no such reticence on the part of the British state. Instead, there is a sordid history of gagging, police and military violence, imprisonment, transportation and repressive legislation, the last of which, along with occasional outbreaks of state violence, survives to this day.

Even so, the feeling lingers that trade unionism is essentially archaic: an embarrassing hangover from the industrial past, a brake on modernisation, a throwback to the bad old days of class war. (Demanding higher wages is class warfare; refusing them is nothing of the sort.) The idea is that for all the bluster of the union bosses, they are fundamentally conservative creatures. But a dose of conservatism is just what we need. The German philosopher Walter Benjamin remarked that revolution isn’t a runaway train; it is the application of the emergency brake. He meant that it was global capitalism which is bucking out of control, and which needs to be restrained before it ruins too many lives. Working-class militants in Victorian Britain were often denounced as anarchists, but the truth is just the opposite.

What they called for was more state intervention, not less, to protect children and paupers and textile workers. The real anarchist is a market-driven society in which nobody is in charge, not even those who gather at Davos each year. (It’s appropriate that Davos is also the location for Thomas Mann’s novel The Magic Mountain, set in a sanatorium in which everyone is desperately sick.) When it comes to climate change, it is the Left who are the preservationists and the Masters of the Universe who are the vandals. Capitalism will behave antisocially if it can get away with it and if it is profitable for it to do so. Anyone who sees this as empty sloganising should take a look at food banks in the civil service, not to speak of the continuing devastation of the planet. We still haven’t thrown the brake on the runaway train.

There is a curious belief that social disruption is a bad thing in itself. Those who run the Miss World competition took this view of the feminists who noisily interrupted it some years ago, even though their protest was the only interesting aspect of the show. The young man who stood in front of a tank in Tiananmen Square in 1989 and turned himself instantly into a global icon was being politically disruptive, rather like the young women of Iran today. As a school student in Manchester, I saw Jewish men and women with yellow stars stitched on their sleeves lie down in the road to block a march by Oswald Mosley and his British Union of Fascists through a largely black area of the city. Social disruption is not only tolerable but indispensable.

It can, however, be domesticated, as it is in the figure of the Shakespearian Fool. Fools and jesters exist to tell their royal masters unacceptable truths, but wrap them up in riddle and paradox to make them more palatable. Their role is to show how everyone around them is playing a role. The difference is that the Fool knows he is playacting whereas the others don’t. But if mocking and scolding others is part of your official brief, it becomes rather more tolerable. “There’s no harm in an allow’d Fool,” remarks Olivia in Twelfth Night. You’re only doing your job, as they say. The social system is shaken but not stirred to insurrection. This institutionalised form of rebellion lives on in British politics in the form of the Parliamentary Labour Party, or more generally His Majesty’s Loyal Opposition.

Trade unions are more than just a defence against exploitation. The labour movement has traditionally seen itself as offering an alternative form of life to what we have at present, one based on cooperation rather than competition, solidarity rather than individualism. If it is engaged in the present, it also prefigures a different kind of future. How do we stop strikes? By the kind of redistribution of resources which will make them unnecessary. Otherwise we’ll carry on with the same old antithesis of private wealth and public squalor.


Terry Eagleton is a critic, literary theorist, and UnHerd columnist.


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Peter B
Peter B
1 year ago

“Nobody objects to the right to withhold one’s labour”.
Actually, I do. I do not accept that this is an absolute right without any corresponding responsibilities.
If you are a professional and have signed an employment contract to deliver services in return for a salary, then you have accepted responsiblity to deliver those services to the terms of the contract. You also have responsibilities to customers and co-workers.
Of course, if you don’t care about professionalism and taking your responsibilities seriously, that need not concern you.
In my view, it is extremely unwise for professionals like doctors to strike since it fundamentally undermines the professional ethos expected from them. Reputations take years to build and moments to destroy.
Having said all that, I can imagine that in practice it’s not an easy decision for teachers – for example – whether to strike.
But the fundamental reason they lack any negotatiating power is that they still insist on being treated as a mass and not as individuals as in private industry. If they accepted regional/local pay based on individual performance without things like automatic progression pay every year (this apparently still exists in the NHS), then a lot of the problems would go away. Except for the fact that lower performing employees would be paid less.
Since the public sector unions still insist that lower performing employees must be paid the same as higher performers and that they cannot be fired (drunk on the job train drivers seem impossible to dismiss), I suggest that the unions as they currently exist are archaic.

j watson
j watson
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

How would you judge the annual individual pay for a doctor or nurse if you moved away from national pay scales? What metrics, what system, how much time and energy would you spend on this? How many disputes would arise about unfairness etc etc? Junior doctors rotate through their placements and organisations. So we resetting what we pay them every few months? Massive bureaucratic task.
Your point has some theoretical interest, but massively impractical even if we like a bit of the principle.
Bear in mind also GP are private contractors – there is something though in the mechanism via which they are paid. Debate for another time perhaps

Last edited 1 year ago by j watson
CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

So what do you suggest?

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
1 year ago

sorry all for the mess I created below 


Last edited 1 year ago by Ian Barton
Ian Barton
Ian Barton
1 year ago

..

Last edited 1 year ago by Ian Barton
Ian Barton
Ian Barton
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Barton


.

Last edited 1 year ago by Ian Barton
Ian Barton
Ian Barton
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Barton


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Last edited 1 year ago by Ian Barton
j watson
j watson
1 year ago

Sit down quickly and negotiate for a start.

Match the private sector rate of award in arguably equivalent areas given the educational and deferred gratification commitment needed to become a doctor – so Banking industry not a bad comparator. 1-2 year deal initially with commitment to inflation matching going forward.

More fundamentally rapid increase in training places to tackle demand-supply imbalance coupled with student debt alleviation once X years NHS service complete- point being we are losing Docs regularly to Aus, Canada, Middle East etc

This actually doesn’t cost as much as we think because we are paying silly agency rates but nonetheless we’ve some fiscal headroom given energy costs been lower than expected and interest rates not quite as high as feared. So a choice that can be made.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

In order to avoid the “sweeping generalisations” you chastised me for earlier, the crucial difference is that Bankers* MAKE money, Doctors don’t.

Additionally the Public Sector Worker is virtually unsackable and in receipt of magnificent index linked pensions. Thus how is reform even possible?

(* Known to my generation as Money Lenders and they worked in Counting Houses not Banks.)

j watson
j watson
1 year ago

How much money would our economy generate if no doctors? Arguably not much.
Didn’t we all bail out the Bankers too?

Reform is poss but you have to engage.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

Survival of the fittest?
We had to ‘bail out’ the bankers!

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

I do not think the economy would notice.
It did not seem to during Covid

William Cameron
William Cameron
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

All over Europe they ave doctors-very few employed by the state

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago

They stand on their own feet then unlike our massive public sector.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago

They stand on their own feet then unlike our massive public sector.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

Survival of the fittest?
We had to ‘bail out’ the bankers!

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

I do not think the economy would notice.
It did not seem to during Covid

William Cameron
William Cameron
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

All over Europe they ave doctors-very few employed by the state

Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
1 year ago

I would imagine that about 20% of government employees are on long-term sick leave with ‘mental problems’. Nobody can do anything. As you say, they are unsackable.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

As many as 20%! Why isn’t this a national scandal!
And what, if anything is being done about it may I ask?

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago

And with big fat pensions at the end what is there to complain about? The real battle to survive is in the private sector in which the wealth of the country depends. The public sector has grown far too fat.

Diane Tasker
Diane Tasker
1 year ago

Been like that for years
.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago

And with big fat pensions at the end what is there to complain about? The real battle to survive is in the private sector in which the wealth of the country depends. The public sector has grown far too fat.

Diane Tasker
Diane Tasker
1 year ago

Been like that for years
.

Jeff Butcher
Jeff Butcher
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

I’m glad you’re not in charge

William Cameron
William Cameron
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeff Butcher

You think 20% one ion five off “sick” is normal ?

Jeff Butcher
Jeff Butcher
1 year ago

He begins his post with ‘I would imagine’ and then proceeds to refer to ‘mental problems’ like a caricature of a spittle-flecked, swivel-eyed loon, and you expect me to take what he says seriously?

Doug Pingel
Doug Pingel
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeff Butcher

There used to be a person in every group of (un)civil servants whose job it was to remind members of the group that unless they took their “sick leave” by a certain date they would loose it. At that time (60s) I believe the going rate was 6 weeks per year. presume HR/Union rep now fulfills that function.

Jeff Butcher
Jeff Butcher
1 year ago
Reply to  Doug Pingel

You have no way of knowing whether what you are saying is true or not and as such you are simply polishing petty minded prejudice

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeff Butcher

He is near the truth. I have heard all this which was happening 30 years ago as well. I forgot all about it until it was brought up. They have it very cushy.

Diane Tasker
Diane Tasker
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeff Butcher

I know is true – and more besides – heard from the horses mouth 
.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeff Butcher

He is near the truth. I have heard all this which was happening 30 years ago as well. I forgot all about it until it was brought up. They have it very cushy.

Diane Tasker
Diane Tasker
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeff Butcher

I know is true – and more besides – heard from the horses mouth 
.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago
Reply to  Doug Pingel

Yeah. It used to be fifteen days but many of them use it for extra holiday and not taking it off shows the others up so there is pressure to take it as well as holidays.

Diane Tasker
Diane Tasker
1 year ago
Reply to  Doug Pingel

Yes that was common practise 


Jeff Butcher
Jeff Butcher
1 year ago
Reply to  Doug Pingel

You have no way of knowing whether what you are saying is true or not and as such you are simply polishing petty minded prejudice

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago
Reply to  Doug Pingel

Yeah. It used to be fifteen days but many of them use it for extra holiday and not taking it off shows the others up so there is pressure to take it as well as holidays.

Diane Tasker
Diane Tasker
1 year ago
Reply to  Doug Pingel

Yes that was common practise 


Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeff Butcher

There is some truth in what he says. I know it first hand through living in a civil service hostel.

Doug Pingel
Doug Pingel
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeff Butcher

There used to be a person in every group of (un)civil servants whose job it was to remind members of the group that unless they took their “sick leave” by a certain date they would loose it. At that time (60s) I believe the going rate was 6 weeks per year. presume HR/Union rep now fulfills that function.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeff Butcher

There is some truth in what he says. I know it first hand through living in a civil service hostel.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago

They are off sick as they have so many weeks sick leave to use if they are sick but of course many take it off anyway as they don’t need to make a profit. That’s the private sectors job.

Jeff Butcher
Jeff Butcher
1 year ago

He begins his post with ‘I would imagine’ and then proceeds to refer to ‘mental problems’ like a caricature of a spittle-flecked, swivel-eyed loon, and you expect me to take what he says seriously?

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago

They are off sick as they have so many weeks sick leave to use if they are sick but of course many take it off anyway as they don’t need to make a profit. That’s the private sectors job.

William Cameron
William Cameron
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeff Butcher

You think 20% one ion five off “sick” is normal ?

John Howes
John Howes
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

I would challenge that as a former HR manager and a Full Time Trade Union officer, they are frustrating their contract, “Frustration of contract” is a legal concept. It refers to an event which: (1) wasn’t reasonably foreseeable at the point the contract was formed; (2) isn’t under the direct control of either party; and (3) makes any further performance of the contract, as it was originally intended to operate, impossible. Where these three factors exist together, a contract can be lawfully terminated. In the employment context, this means there would be no actual dismissal, i.e. there wouldn’t be an event to pin an unfair dismissal claim on.Whether the cause be organic Cancer, etc, or non organic (all in the mind”. Ergo fair dimissal is an option, it requires the will of the omployer.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
1 year ago
Reply to  John Howes

I used to work with a rehab company that also had public sector clients. They used to roll their eyes when the public sector cropped up in conversation. If someone did not want to go back to work there was little that could be done to make them and their employment was rarely, if ever, terminated

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago

They are unsackable with gold plated pensions regardless of ability.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago

They are unsackable with gold plated pensions regardless of ability.

Diane Tasker
Diane Tasker
1 year ago
Reply to  John Howes

There’s a whole raft of ailments at the disposal of malingerers (eg whiplash) – in any sector – and quoting legalese doesn’t alter that.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
1 year ago
Reply to  John Howes

I used to work with a rehab company that also had public sector clients. They used to roll their eyes when the public sector cropped up in conversation. If someone did not want to go back to work there was little that could be done to make them and their employment was rarely, if ever, terminated

Diane Tasker
Diane Tasker
1 year ago
Reply to  John Howes

There’s a whole raft of ailments at the disposal of malingerers (eg whiplash) – in any sector – and quoting legalese doesn’t alter that.

Mr Sketerzen Bhoto
Mr Sketerzen Bhoto
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

I would imagine it’s 219%.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

They are given so many weeks sick leave in addition to holidays and a large number take their sick leave as an entitlement without being sick. They live in the cradle to grave culture risk free.

Diane Tasker
Diane Tasker
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

Given the excellent terms and conditions enjoyed from the cleaner up (never factored into wage comparisons thrown around by unions representing the public sector) it’s a no brainier for the cunning to take advantage of, for example, the generous sick leave and other ‘perks’
..

Eryl Balazs
Eryl Balazs
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

This is not a fact. I ve worked all over public sector. We get v concerned if its over 5%. I work with lots of contractors, who have similar rates. Performance management has radically changed over the last 15 years.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

As many as 20%! Why isn’t this a national scandal!
And what, if anything is being done about it may I ask?

Jeff Butcher
Jeff Butcher
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

I’m glad you’re not in charge

John Howes
John Howes
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

I would challenge that as a former HR manager and a Full Time Trade Union officer, they are frustrating their contract, “Frustration of contract” is a legal concept. It refers to an event which: (1) wasn’t reasonably foreseeable at the point the contract was formed; (2) isn’t under the direct control of either party; and (3) makes any further performance of the contract, as it was originally intended to operate, impossible. Where these three factors exist together, a contract can be lawfully terminated. In the employment context, this means there would be no actual dismissal, i.e. there wouldn’t be an event to pin an unfair dismissal claim on.Whether the cause be organic Cancer, etc, or non organic (all in the mind”. Ergo fair dimissal is an option, it requires the will of the omployer.

Mr Sketerzen Bhoto
Mr Sketerzen Bhoto
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

I would imagine it’s 219%.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

They are given so many weeks sick leave in addition to holidays and a large number take their sick leave as an entitlement without being sick. They live in the cradle to grave culture risk free.

Diane Tasker
Diane Tasker
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

Given the excellent terms and conditions enjoyed from the cleaner up (never factored into wage comparisons thrown around by unions representing the public sector) it’s a no brainier for the cunning to take advantage of, for example, the generous sick leave and other ‘perks’
..

Eryl Balazs
Eryl Balazs
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

This is not a fact. I ve worked all over public sector. We get v concerned if its over 5%. I work with lots of contractors, who have similar rates. Performance management has radically changed over the last 15 years.

Mr Sketerzen Bhoto
Mr Sketerzen Bhoto
1 year ago

Bankers create no wealth. Goods and services are created elsewhere, by workers and entrepreneurs.

In fact they may well destroy wealth and income by creating a bubble where the losses are socialised.

B Emery
B Emery
1 year ago

Don’t bankers do loans and pensions and insurance and all the money things we need though too?
Not saying they did a good job. Things just blow up all over the place at the moment, but all systems and businesses have risks.

Ian L
Ian L
1 year ago

I agree, they create no wealth except for themselves. I was recently surprised to discover that banks literally create money when a mortgage debt is incurred. The mortgage deed that is signed is the credit that’s created, which they then lend back to you at compound interest for 25 years.

B Emery
B Emery
1 year ago

Don’t bankers do loans and pensions and insurance and all the money things we need though too?
Not saying they did a good job. Things just blow up all over the place at the moment, but all systems and businesses have risks.

Ian L
Ian L
1 year ago

I agree, they create no wealth except for themselves. I was recently surprised to discover that banks literally create money when a mortgage debt is incurred. The mortgage deed that is signed is the credit that’s created, which they then lend back to you at compound interest for 25 years.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago

Pensions in the Public Sector are four times greater comparitively than the private sector and are safe with no risk through our taxes. All public sectors workers have that benefit. Yes banks make money like all industry in the private sector where their taxes support the public sector. They call it public sector gold plated pensions I believe thoroughly protected by the government.

Eryl Balazs
Eryl Balazs
1 year ago

Bankers make money? To a point, they want alot in return. How is wealth created, is one of the key questions for these strikes. Who keeps citizens well, educated, keeps us safe, runs whats left of our civic society.
The people who now enter these professions(where there is no bonus related pay), hock themselves into min. 50 to 70k debt for the privilege. That’s why you have strikes along with over 9% inflation for 2 years running.

j watson
j watson
1 year ago

How much money would our economy generate if no doctors? Arguably not much.
Didn’t we all bail out the Bankers too?

Reform is poss but you have to engage.

Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
1 year ago

I would imagine that about 20% of government employees are on long-term sick leave with ‘mental problems’. Nobody can do anything. As you say, they are unsackable.

Mr Sketerzen Bhoto
Mr Sketerzen Bhoto
1 year ago

Bankers create no wealth. Goods and services are created elsewhere, by workers and entrepreneurs.

In fact they may well destroy wealth and income by creating a bubble where the losses are socialised.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago

Pensions in the Public Sector are four times greater comparitively than the private sector and are safe with no risk through our taxes. All public sectors workers have that benefit. Yes banks make money like all industry in the private sector where their taxes support the public sector. They call it public sector gold plated pensions I believe thoroughly protected by the government.

Eryl Balazs
Eryl Balazs
1 year ago

Bankers make money? To a point, they want alot in return. How is wealth created, is one of the key questions for these strikes. Who keeps citizens well, educated, keeps us safe, runs whats left of our civic society.
The people who now enter these professions(where there is no bonus related pay), hock themselves into min. 50 to 70k debt for the privilege. That’s why you have strikes along with over 9% inflation for 2 years running.

Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

I have a problem with this idea of ‘negotiation’. If A wants a pay rise because A feels poor at the moment and A earns ÂŁ30,000pa but B earns ÂŁ40,000 and still wants a pay rise – are you allowed to talk about pensions?
I worked in the private sector and earned more money than in the public sector but with a minimal pension. In theory, I should have saved for the future whilst those in the public sector didn’t have to save because they could look forward to a fabulous pension.
Today, the public sector unions argue that their pension can’t even be considered in pay negotiations.

j watson
j watson
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

You have to opt in to a public sector pension and make contributions. It’s not free. It’s just a different form of saving.

Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

Wrong. Your pension is inflated by an equal payment from the employer. You pay ÂŁ1 and your employer pays ÂŁ1. That is a perk. Both sets of contributions are tax free and that is another perk. If you retire, your pension is underwritten by the government – another perk.
You have obviously been receiving these perks without understanding what they mean. You could work for a private employer who does not offer such a system. Then you have to choose your own way of getting a pension but this will depend on movements of stocks and shares – you could lose it all.
Or you could have a reasonable pension but the contributors stop contributing. Your pension reduces or can, in theory, go to nothing.
The government-backed pension is such a perk that it is obscene. But those that have it say the same, you have to pay so it is not free.

Last edited 1 year ago by Chris Wheatley
Doug Pingel
Doug Pingel
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

Chris, whatever happened to “Workplace” pensions which, I understand, had to be offered to an employee within a short (specified) time after starting work? PS I retired (as an employer) just before they were introduced. Question open to all especially those with special knowledge. ex HR?

Brendan O'Leary
Brendan O'Leary
1 year ago
Reply to  Doug Pingel

Workplace pensions are subject to market movements. They’re not defined benefit.

Brendan O'Leary
Brendan O'Leary
1 year ago
Reply to  Doug Pingel

Workplace pensions are subject to market movements. They’re not defined benefit.

Doug Pingel
Doug Pingel
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

Chris, whatever happened to “Workplace” pensions which, I understand, had to be offered to an employee within a short (specified) time after starting work? PS I retired (as an employer) just before they were introduced. Question open to all especially those with special knowledge. ex HR?

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

Those ‘contributions’ are MINUSCULE in comparison to the Private Sector, as you well know!

Iain Hotchkies
Iain Hotchkies
1 year ago

The GPs you deride pay 22% of their income (both the employer and employee contributions) for their lovely pension.
Few who pay such a large proportion of their salary over, say, 30 years, would not end up with a decent pension.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Iain Hotchkies

I am so sorry, I was under the misapprehension that GP’s were self-employed.

Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
1 year ago

Exactly.

Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
1 year ago

Exactly.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Iain Hotchkies

I am so sorry, I was under the misapprehension that GP’s were self-employed.

Iain Hotchkies
Iain Hotchkies
1 year ago

The GPs you deride pay 22% of their income (both the employer and employee contributions) for their lovely pension.
Few who pay such a large proportion of their salary over, say, 30 years, would not end up with a decent pension.

William Cameron
William Cameron
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

The employers contributions are large and a major part of public sector pay.

Jeff Dudgeon
Jeff Dudgeon
1 year ago

Public sector employers pay vastly more into employees pensions than private sector adding some 30% to overall income.

Jeff Dudgeon
Jeff Dudgeon
1 year ago

Public sector employers pay vastly more into employees pensions than private sector adding some 30% to overall income.

Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

Wrong. Your pension is inflated by an equal payment from the employer. You pay ÂŁ1 and your employer pays ÂŁ1. That is a perk. Both sets of contributions are tax free and that is another perk. If you retire, your pension is underwritten by the government – another perk.
You have obviously been receiving these perks without understanding what they mean. You could work for a private employer who does not offer such a system. Then you have to choose your own way of getting a pension but this will depend on movements of stocks and shares – you could lose it all.
Or you could have a reasonable pension but the contributors stop contributing. Your pension reduces or can, in theory, go to nothing.
The government-backed pension is such a perk that it is obscene. But those that have it say the same, you have to pay so it is not free.

Last edited 1 year ago by Chris Wheatley
CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

Those ‘contributions’ are MINUSCULE in comparison to the Private Sector, as you well know!

William Cameron
William Cameron
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

The employers contributions are large and a major part of public sector pay.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

Public sector pensions are a shadow of what they once were. You won’t find anybody who started in the public sector within the last 20 years on a final salary scheme anymore

Brendan O'Leary
Brendan O'Leary
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

But it’s not like all the other ones have died off. They’re still living it up without having to work.

Brendan O'Leary
Brendan O'Leary
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

But it’s not like all the other ones have died off. They’re still living it up without having to work.

Diane Tasker
Diane Tasker
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

So many teachers I have met were early retirees and most were enjoying life to the full by virtue of a generous state pension.

j watson
j watson
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

You have to opt in to a public sector pension and make contributions. It’s not free. It’s just a different form of saving.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

Public sector pensions are a shadow of what they once were. You won’t find anybody who started in the public sector within the last 20 years on a final salary scheme anymore

Diane Tasker
Diane Tasker
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

So many teachers I have met were early retirees and most were enjoying life to the full by virtue of a generous state pension.

Deb Grant
Deb Grant
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

Agency rates include the the total cost of employment otherwise paid by the employer, often up to an additional 20% (like NICS, pensions, bonuses, expenses, holiday and sick pay, insurances and recruitment costs). Agency staff pay has to cover holidays, sickness, their pensions and travel expenses.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

In order to avoid the “sweeping generalisations” you chastised me for earlier, the crucial difference is that Bankers* MAKE money, Doctors don’t.

Additionally the Public Sector Worker is virtually unsackable and in receipt of magnificent index linked pensions. Thus how is reform even possible?

(* Known to my generation as Money Lenders and they worked in Counting Houses not Banks.)

Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

I have a problem with this idea of ‘negotiation’. If A wants a pay rise because A feels poor at the moment and A earns ÂŁ30,000pa but B earns ÂŁ40,000 and still wants a pay rise – are you allowed to talk about pensions?
I worked in the private sector and earned more money than in the public sector but with a minimal pension. In theory, I should have saved for the future whilst those in the public sector didn’t have to save because they could look forward to a fabulous pension.
Today, the public sector unions argue that their pension can’t even be considered in pay negotiations.

Deb Grant
Deb Grant
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

Agency rates include the the total cost of employment otherwise paid by the employer, often up to an additional 20% (like NICS, pensions, bonuses, expenses, holiday and sick pay, insurances and recruitment costs). Agency staff pay has to cover holidays, sickness, their pensions and travel expenses.

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
1 year ago

sorry all for the mess I created below 


Last edited 1 year ago by Ian Barton
Ian Barton
Ian Barton
1 year ago

..

Last edited 1 year ago by Ian Barton
j watson
j watson
1 year ago

Sit down quickly and negotiate for a start.

Match the private sector rate of award in arguably equivalent areas given the educational and deferred gratification commitment needed to become a doctor – so Banking industry not a bad comparator. 1-2 year deal initially with commitment to inflation matching going forward.

More fundamentally rapid increase in training places to tackle demand-supply imbalance coupled with student debt alleviation once X years NHS service complete- point being we are losing Docs regularly to Aus, Canada, Middle East etc

This actually doesn’t cost as much as we think because we are paying silly agency rates but nonetheless we’ve some fiscal headroom given energy costs been lower than expected and interest rates not quite as high as feared. So a choice that can be made.

Peter B
Peter B
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

I accept there are practical challenges here.
On the other hand, we’ve lived for at least five decades with a healthcare system in which junior doctors are massively overworked – I recall reports of 80 hour weeks being worked in the past – and there has been little serious effort made to rectify this. Quite how having overworked and tired doctors is safe for patients (and the doctors themselves) has always eluded me.
The fact that such things persist tells me the current system is poorly managed and structured and that something needs to change. As does the absurd cap on doctors training and persistent need to import labour. We need to recognise these things as the bugs that they are and not simply features.
I’m not going to attempt to work out how pay should be managed in the NHS. It’s not easy. But there are enough people employed already to do this. Probably too many.
I might observe here that there’s a massive bureaucracy already on hand to deal with the massive bureaucratic task ! But in my experience, massive bureaucracies create at least as many problems as they solve.
On “fairness” (a term which is never defined by those who use it), there is nothing particularly fair in my book about paying a large group of people the same regardless of their actual contribution.

Wendy Barton
Wendy Barton
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

My daughter is a recently qualified doctor here in the UK, and has been very well trained as part of her medical training in the importance of not being overworked.  All good, no-one wants to be faced with a doctor who is too tired to make a proper diagnosis or treatment decision.  The upshot is that the workload that and I and her brother (both solicitors) think is entirely normal, she would think is intolerable. 

Peter B
Peter B
1 year ago
Reply to  Wendy Barton

Very pleased to hear that. And please don’t read my comments as being anti-doctor – that’s not really my intent.
I also hope that the absurd pension lifetime allowance gets raised tomorrow. For everyone – not just the doctors. But one of the most stupid and short-sighted policy errors of recent years to actively encourage doctors to retire early when we don’t have enough and many wish to continue working. No one should have to pay more than 50% effective (or marginal rate) income tax. Certainly no doctor.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

If you got the public sector pensions pro rata you would be over the moon.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

If you got the public sector pensions pro rata you would be over the moon.

Peter B
Peter B
1 year ago
Reply to  Wendy Barton

Very pleased to hear that. And please don’t read my comments as being anti-doctor – that’s not really my intent.
I also hope that the absurd pension lifetime allowance gets raised tomorrow. For everyone – not just the doctors. But one of the most stupid and short-sighted policy errors of recent years to actively encourage doctors to retire early when we don’t have enough and many wish to continue working. No one should have to pay more than 50% effective (or marginal rate) income tax. Certainly no doctor.

Wendy Barton
Wendy Barton
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

My daughter is a recently qualified doctor here in the UK, and has been very well trained as part of her medical training in the importance of not being overworked.  All good, no-one wants to be faced with a doctor who is too tired to make a proper diagnosis or treatment decision.  The upshot is that the workload that and I and her brother (both solicitors) think is entirely normal, she would think is intolerable. 

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

Large organisations do this all the time. If you want answers to your questions, take the time look at how they do this. That would be better than asking others to explain it to you

Rob Nock
Rob Nock
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

I think large organisations are very much part of the problem. If, for example, each hospital was its own employer /business then it would set its own pay scales to match its area, demand etc. If the staff at another hospital were unhappy with their pay they could change jobs, employer, strike etc.

The problem basically is rigid inflexible pay and employment conditions due to national scales, employers etc. And organisations being too big to fail.

Smaller is almost always, in the medium to long term, better even if sometimes less efficient on the surface.

j watson
j watson
1 year ago
Reply to  Rob Nock

It’s tricky finding right balance for sure.
What public wouldn’t easily accept is the impact of more wage rate local freedom as some places would win and others lose meaning hospitals would close. Furthermore we need to close the demand-supply gap a bit more first or wages just go one way.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago
Reply to  Rob Nock

Maybe the private insurance model would work better where the doctors seek the patients?

j watson
j watson
1 year ago
Reply to  Rob Nock

It’s tricky finding right balance for sure.
What public wouldn’t easily accept is the impact of more wage rate local freedom as some places would win and others lose meaning hospitals would close. Furthermore we need to close the demand-supply gap a bit more first or wages just go one way.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago
Reply to  Rob Nock

Maybe the private insurance model would work better where the doctors seek the patients?

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

The rules are different in the public sector. Everyone is cushioned by union rights.

Rob Nock
Rob Nock
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

I think large organisations are very much part of the problem. If, for example, each hospital was its own employer /business then it would set its own pay scales to match its area, demand etc. If the staff at another hospital were unhappy with their pay they could change jobs, employer, strike etc.

The problem basically is rigid inflexible pay and employment conditions due to national scales, employers etc. And organisations being too big to fail.

Smaller is almost always, in the medium to long term, better even if sometimes less efficient on the surface.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

The rules are different in the public sector. Everyone is cushioned by union rights.

Alan Thorpe
Alan Thorpe
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

We cannot make any judgement about their pay because we have no idea about cost of any NHS treatment.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago
Reply to  Alan Thorpe

Wages are part of cost and the rest is bought by the state and financed by government from our taxes.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago
Reply to  Alan Thorpe

Wages are part of cost and the rest is bought by the state and financed by government from our taxes.

Steven Farrall
Steven Farrall
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

Well, that’s an easy one. De-nationalise health industry and let the market (i.e. me and you and the doctors) sort out what their actual value is. What value they add.

Last edited 1 year ago by Steven Farrall
Desmond Wolf
Desmond Wolf
1 year ago
Reply to  Steven Farrall

Decide what their value is? How much money would you put towards trying to save yours or a family member’s life if they had something life-threatening? Priceless is how much their value is. And who will decide how much that comes to in monetery terms? The richest of us.
I live in the Netherlands (supposedly a shining beacon of state-supported private healthcare) and have already been advised to call an uber instead of an ambulance in case of an emergency to avoid the 800 euro ‘eigen risico’ costs that would be incurred if I called one.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago
Reply to  Steven Farrall

Something has to happen as it certainly is not working.

Desmond Wolf
Desmond Wolf
1 year ago
Reply to  Steven Farrall

Decide what their value is? How much money would you put towards trying to save yours or a family member’s life if they had something life-threatening? Priceless is how much their value is. And who will decide how much that comes to in monetery terms? The richest of us.
I live in the Netherlands (supposedly a shining beacon of state-supported private healthcare) and have already been advised to call an uber instead of an ambulance in case of an emergency to avoid the 800 euro ‘eigen risico’ costs that would be incurred if I called one.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago
Reply to  Steven Farrall

Something has to happen as it certainly is not working.

William Cameron
William Cameron
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

The Doctors problem is having a monopoly employer the NHS. If they were self employed like real professionals – or Doctors in Europe -they would be paid the market rate.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

GPs are the ultimate rent-seekers. They get paid for having us on their books whether they treat us or not. That’s why my GP (who works part-time) is ‘unable’ to provide an appointment within the next fortnight and can’t book one after that because ‘computer says no’.
‘Stuff their mouths with gold’, said Nye Bevan. ‘And every other orifice too!’, said Tony Blair, and proceeded to do just that.

Desmond Wolf
Desmond Wolf
1 year ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

No – the ultimate rent seekers are people who collect rent.

Desmond Wolf
Desmond Wolf
1 year ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

No – the ultimate rent seekers are people who collect rent.

jo O'Byrne
jo O'Byrne
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

If the private sector pay more how can the ideologue above criticise Capitalists? More to the point the NHS was 100 years behind Great Western Railway

Https:/www.swindonadvertiser.co.uk/news/2370272.nhs-born-in-gwr-hospital/

The NHS is a sacred cow it needs putting down.It is also the means NOT the end, the end was health care free at the point of delivery AND it can’t even manage that.

As my 90 year old uncle observed during lockdown. We fought for an NHS to save us, not for us to save it

Hancock destroyed much of the hysteria around the NHS masks etc. Perhaps not forcing staff out if they refused the vaccines might have helped – then given the NHS IC beds were offered to the French was there ever an NHS overwhelmed crisis? Not according to some family members who actually worked there during the pandemic

The best one can say about the NHS is the outsourcing bits work well, what’s left may just pass muster as an Emergency service

Last edited 1 year ago by jo O'Byrne
Dominic A
Dominic A
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

Here’s a start – a close family member, a senior surgeon, only found out that he’d been working 1.5x the average, in his dept, for the same salary, once he became director of surgery & so had access to the numbers. For years the managers had been too weak to sort this out, and just allowed the lazy ones to get away with it – at direct cost to the hard workers. This is entirely typical of NHS ‘management’.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

I am not sure if junior doctors are private contractors. They are still under training but when they have finished training they will be into quite big money. In line with the proverbial song “I want it now” in Charlies Chocolate Factory it appears very selfish to me.

David Giles
David Giles
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

Who need to “judge” it? Junior doctors are hot-footing it to Australia and Canada as soon as they can for the money. And good luck to them. This will keep happening until junior doctors gst pad more here. When the employer decides he’s had enough of losing his valuable employees, he’ll pay them more. Sorted; no “judgement” required.
But don’t worry. You just sit there and spend hours mulling over the complicated judgment you think is required.

Liam F
Liam F
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

How would you judge pay for an individual? The same way as everyone else does it across many industries – based on individual performance. It’s the norm: but you make it sound like it’s unmanageable.
There is nothing so unfair as the equal treatment of people with unequal capabilities. Treating a mass of people as one guarantees the lowest performance possible.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

So what do you suggest?

Peter B
Peter B
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

I accept there are practical challenges here.
On the other hand, we’ve lived for at least five decades with a healthcare system in which junior doctors are massively overworked – I recall reports of 80 hour weeks being worked in the past – and there has been little serious effort made to rectify this. Quite how having overworked and tired doctors is safe for patients (and the doctors themselves) has always eluded me.
The fact that such things persist tells me the current system is poorly managed and structured and that something needs to change. As does the absurd cap on doctors training and persistent need to import labour. We need to recognise these things as the bugs that they are and not simply features.
I’m not going to attempt to work out how pay should be managed in the NHS. It’s not easy. But there are enough people employed already to do this. Probably too many.
I might observe here that there’s a massive bureaucracy already on hand to deal with the massive bureaucratic task ! But in my experience, massive bureaucracies create at least as many problems as they solve.
On “fairness” (a term which is never defined by those who use it), there is nothing particularly fair in my book about paying a large group of people the same regardless of their actual contribution.

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

Large organisations do this all the time. If you want answers to your questions, take the time look at how they do this. That would be better than asking others to explain it to you

Alan Thorpe
Alan Thorpe
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

We cannot make any judgement about their pay because we have no idea about cost of any NHS treatment.

Steven Farrall
Steven Farrall
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

Well, that’s an easy one. De-nationalise health industry and let the market (i.e. me and you and the doctors) sort out what their actual value is. What value they add.

Last edited 1 year ago by Steven Farrall
William Cameron
William Cameron
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

The Doctors problem is having a monopoly employer the NHS. If they were self employed like real professionals – or Doctors in Europe -they would be paid the market rate.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

GPs are the ultimate rent-seekers. They get paid for having us on their books whether they treat us or not. That’s why my GP (who works part-time) is ‘unable’ to provide an appointment within the next fortnight and can’t book one after that because ‘computer says no’.
‘Stuff their mouths with gold’, said Nye Bevan. ‘And every other orifice too!’, said Tony Blair, and proceeded to do just that.

jo O'Byrne
jo O'Byrne
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

If the private sector pay more how can the ideologue above criticise Capitalists? More to the point the NHS was 100 years behind Great Western Railway

Https:/www.swindonadvertiser.co.uk/news/2370272.nhs-born-in-gwr-hospital/

The NHS is a sacred cow it needs putting down.It is also the means NOT the end, the end was health care free at the point of delivery AND it can’t even manage that.

As my 90 year old uncle observed during lockdown. We fought for an NHS to save us, not for us to save it

Hancock destroyed much of the hysteria around the NHS masks etc. Perhaps not forcing staff out if they refused the vaccines might have helped – then given the NHS IC beds were offered to the French was there ever an NHS overwhelmed crisis? Not according to some family members who actually worked there during the pandemic

The best one can say about the NHS is the outsourcing bits work well, what’s left may just pass muster as an Emergency service

Last edited 1 year ago by jo O'Byrne
Dominic A
Dominic A
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

Here’s a start – a close family member, a senior surgeon, only found out that he’d been working 1.5x the average, in his dept, for the same salary, once he became director of surgery & so had access to the numbers. For years the managers had been too weak to sort this out, and just allowed the lazy ones to get away with it – at direct cost to the hard workers. This is entirely typical of NHS ‘management’.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

I am not sure if junior doctors are private contractors. They are still under training but when they have finished training they will be into quite big money. In line with the proverbial song “I want it now” in Charlies Chocolate Factory it appears very selfish to me.

David Giles
David Giles
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

Who need to “judge” it? Junior doctors are hot-footing it to Australia and Canada as soon as they can for the money. And good luck to them. This will keep happening until junior doctors gst pad more here. When the employer decides he’s had enough of losing his valuable employees, he’ll pay them more. Sorted; no “judgement” required.
But don’t worry. You just sit there and spend hours mulling over the complicated judgment you think is required.

Liam F
Liam F
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

How would you judge pay for an individual? The same way as everyone else does it across many industries – based on individual performance. It’s the norm: but you make it sound like it’s unmanageable.
There is nothing so unfair as the equal treatment of people with unequal capabilities. Treating a mass of people as one guarantees the lowest performance possible.

Charlie Two
Charlie Two
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

where did they dig up the prat who wrote this article. utter drivel from start to finish. as an employer i cant cut their tea breaks, slash their pay, torture, murder blah blah etc that this pseudo intellectual claims i can. i’m guessing he’s never had a proper job before, or indeed anything remotely resembling one. uni lecturer perhaps?

Atticus Basilhoff
Atticus Basilhoff
1 year ago
Reply to  Charlie Two

How sad when one considers how low we have come to be when it is at the very least improper, and in most cases illegal, to torture, murder and impoverish those in your employment. In the mind of the average leftist prole, that behavior is manifest in the comportment of management. Oh, to have lived the life of a shop keeper in Dickensian England.

Mel Shaw
Mel Shaw
1 year ago
Reply to  Charlie Two

You beat me to it. He has a 19th century idea of the powers of the boss. Try any of the things he lists and spend months in employment tribunals.

Desmond Wolf
Desmond Wolf
1 year ago
Reply to  Mel Shaw

He went overboard, but what’s your evidence that conditions are getting better for workers? Stagnant wages, precarious contracts, money lost to landlords who do next to nothing for it. There is a working class in this country and just because it delivers food and serves coffee or stacks amazon warehouses (perhaps all whilst being university educated) doesn’t mean it should not have solidarity with those on the shrinking factory floors (shrinking because our government seems so happy for Britain to produce less and less of its own goods through fewer and fewer decent jobs for its own people)

Desmond Wolf
Desmond Wolf
1 year ago
Reply to  Mel Shaw

He went overboard, but what’s your evidence that conditions are getting better for workers? Stagnant wages, precarious contracts, money lost to landlords who do next to nothing for it. There is a working class in this country and just because it delivers food and serves coffee or stacks amazon warehouses (perhaps all whilst being university educated) doesn’t mean it should not have solidarity with those on the shrinking factory floors (shrinking because our government seems so happy for Britain to produce less and less of its own goods through fewer and fewer decent jobs for its own people)

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  Charlie Two

He’s an old-school ex-Oxford professor, steeped in Marxist ideology, as many of his counterparts at Oxbridge are/were and some ended up being outed as spies for the Soviet Union.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Cambridge did better, it must be said.

Desmond Wolf
Desmond Wolf
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

If you can see the above comment Steve, I’m now waiting for you to tell me what I am. A snivelling snowflake socialist no doubt, who doesn’t care about his own country?

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Cambridge did better, it must be said.

Desmond Wolf
Desmond Wolf
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

If you can see the above comment Steve, I’m now waiting for you to tell me what I am. A snivelling snowflake socialist no doubt, who doesn’t care about his own country?

Rocky Martiano
Rocky Martiano
1 year ago
Reply to  Charlie Two

He’s a ‘literary theorist’, whatever that may be. I’m sure it’s a proper job.

Atticus Basilhoff
Atticus Basilhoff
1 year ago
Reply to  Charlie Two

How sad when one considers how low we have come to be when it is at the very least improper, and in most cases illegal, to torture, murder and impoverish those in your employment. In the mind of the average leftist prole, that behavior is manifest in the comportment of management. Oh, to have lived the life of a shop keeper in Dickensian England.

Mel Shaw
Mel Shaw
1 year ago
Reply to  Charlie Two

You beat me to it. He has a 19th century idea of the powers of the boss. Try any of the things he lists and spend months in employment tribunals.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  Charlie Two

He’s an old-school ex-Oxford professor, steeped in Marxist ideology, as many of his counterparts at Oxbridge are/were and some ended up being outed as spies for the Soviet Union.

Rocky Martiano
Rocky Martiano
1 year ago
Reply to  Charlie Two

He’s a ‘literary theorist’, whatever that may be. I’m sure it’s a proper job.

Michael James
Michael James
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

Some public sector workers have no right to strike. I think none of them should have that right, since they are employed by the public, who often can access no alternative service providers. If private sector workers strike, they harm their employers but the public can access alternative suppliers.

Last edited 1 year ago by Michael James
Desmond Wolf
Desmond Wolf
1 year ago
Reply to  Michael James

Unluckily for you most people recognise that doctors should be paid a proper amount and have decent working conditions and so support the strike – the more strikes succeed, the more likely it is that other sectors will follow suit and demand higher wages. Now *that’s* a tide that raises all boats. https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/majority-of-public-support-junior-doctors-ahead-of-first-full-walkout-poll-shows-a7000751.html

Michael James
Michael James
1 year ago
Reply to  Desmond Wolf

I can imagine the dying words of untreated patients: ‘Pay the doctors more!’

Desmond Wolf
Desmond Wolf
1 year ago
Reply to  Michael James

And your explanation for the widespread public support of this strike? I can’t see the counter-example to this (‘Pay the doctors less so even more of them give up on the NHS and go private’) being the likelier scenario..

Desmond Wolf
Desmond Wolf
1 year ago
Reply to  Michael James

And your explanation for the widespread public support of this strike? I can’t see the counter-example to this (‘Pay the doctors less so even more of them give up on the NHS and go private’) being the likelier scenario..

Michael James
Michael James
1 year ago
Reply to  Desmond Wolf

I can imagine the dying words of untreated patients: ‘Pay the doctors more!’

Desmond Wolf
Desmond Wolf
1 year ago
Reply to  Michael James

Unluckily for you most people recognise that doctors should be paid a proper amount and have decent working conditions and so support the strike – the more strikes succeed, the more likely it is that other sectors will follow suit and demand higher wages. Now *that’s* a tide that raises all boats. https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/majority-of-public-support-junior-doctors-ahead-of-first-full-walkout-poll-shows-a7000751.html

M Lux
M Lux
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

Spoken like a 1 percenter.

Peter B
Peter B
1 year ago
Reply to  M Lux

Sadly not.
But if I were, I’d be paying a shedload of tax supporting government spending and public services. I suggest you check again the real breakdown of tax contributions versus income bands before you go on insulting the people who pay the bills.

M Lux
M Lux
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

Pay the bills you say? Hmm, maybe there wouldn’t be strikes OR giant holes in national budgets if the top 1(0)% actually paid what they owe, as opposed to squirrelling it away in tax havens or using it for tax free “philanthropy” (i.e. influence operations or legal slush funds).
Also, I find it funny that you speak of insulting people when you come across like some medieval lord complaining about his ungrateful serfs in that comment, apparently assuming that everyone should be there at your beck and call.
Not everyone works in tech and gets money stuffed down their gullet.
However, that doesn’t mean people who don’t make 100k or whatever don’t deserve a living wage and decent working conditions, even if you’ve never been in a situation where you had to fight for that.

Last edited 1 year ago by M Lux
Peter B
Peter B
1 year ago
Reply to  M Lux

You know nothing about me, my history or circumstances. It’s unwise to make so many assumptions about other people’s beliefs and situation. There are numerous errors in what you assumed about me. I could tell you that my father was unemployed for 2 years when I was at school, but I suspect you wouldn’t believe me.

Peter B
Peter B
1 year ago
Reply to  M Lux

You know nothing about me, my history or circumstances. It’s unwise to make so many assumptions about other people’s beliefs and situation. There are numerous errors in what you assumed about me. I could tell you that my father was unemployed for 2 years when I was at school, but I suspect you wouldn’t believe me.

M Lux
M Lux
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

Pay the bills you say? Hmm, maybe there wouldn’t be strikes OR giant holes in national budgets if the top 1(0)% actually paid what they owe, as opposed to squirrelling it away in tax havens or using it for tax free “philanthropy” (i.e. influence operations or legal slush funds).
Also, I find it funny that you speak of insulting people when you come across like some medieval lord complaining about his ungrateful serfs in that comment, apparently assuming that everyone should be there at your beck and call.
Not everyone works in tech and gets money stuffed down their gullet.
However, that doesn’t mean people who don’t make 100k or whatever don’t deserve a living wage and decent working conditions, even if you’ve never been in a situation where you had to fight for that.

Last edited 1 year ago by M Lux
Peter B
Peter B
1 year ago
Reply to  M Lux

Sadly not.
But if I were, I’d be paying a shedload of tax supporting government spending and public services. I suggest you check again the real breakdown of tax contributions versus income bands before you go on insulting the people who pay the bills.

Russell Caplan
Russell Caplan
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

Typical neo-liberal nonsense, that denies the collective, social nature of work, in pursuit of greed and profit. As a trade unionist and university lecturer now retired I spent years fighting this clap trap that sought to reduce academics to the parlous state that private industry has succeeded in doing as a consequence of breaking the unions.
Divide and rule has always been the way of the bosses if they could get away with it. And get away with it they have for far too long. Doctors, nurses, ambulance workers, teachers, academics, railway workers, civil servants, BT engineers and more are finally discovering the collective power of the mass.
This advantage should not be squandered. The greed this government oversees rewarding their corporate cronies in the private sector despite their underperformance needs to be reversed so that all the workers can be paid a decent living wage. And this will only be achieved through such struggle as mass strikes.
The Guardian reported the Health Secretary claiming the 26% pay demand by junior doctors was unaffordable because it would add ÂŁ2bln to the public purse that would threaten the government’s efforts to control inflation. But the Defence Secretary has been given another ÂŁ2bln to replenish ammunition stocks that have been shipped off to Ukraine. A more perverse moral logic you could not make up, even if you tried. Inflation is acceptable when it comes to killing people in Ukraine, but unacceptable when it comes to paying the people who save lives and treat the sick in the UK!

Deb Grant
Deb Grant
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

The article is anti- capitalist, which makes me laugh. Capitalism is just barter. There is no other way of valuing human endeavour.

Striking is bartering but it does hold the whole public to ransom when it comes to essential public services.

What will junior doctors think of future generations of doctors who ask for more pay and less work than their predecessors, when they’re older and need more medical services? Why don’t they realise that the more they get for less work, the less doctors a free public system can afford to hire………

The reasons that Australian doctors are better paid and health insurance is more affordable is that it is a mixed public/private system with more money per capita going into healthcare.

Russell Caplan
Russell Caplan
1 year ago
Reply to  Deb Grant

If Cuba can provide the most number of doctors per capita than any other country in the world, despite the criminal blockade and sanctions the US imposes on it, then this bogus argument about public/ private is just not credible.
If we have money to waste on killing people in Ukraine then we should not even be having this debate. There is plenty money. This country is awash with money, We are the seventh richest country in the world. Yet we put up with government that imposes a scarcity of medical resources on the public because it does not really believe health care is a public good. If it could get away with privatising it, it would.
Our government looks to the failing health care rip off system in the US as its preferred model where the health care corporations and their oligarchs make a killing at the expense of the public.
Private health care is an insult to humanity and an ethical abomination. It should be banned. If Cuba can provide doctors to serve its own public, with spare to provide essential humanitarian aid abroad, then so can the UK.

Russell Caplan
Russell Caplan
1 year ago
Reply to  Deb Grant

If Cuba can provide the most number of doctors per capita than any other country in the world, despite the criminal blockade and sanctions the US imposes on it, then this bogus argument about public/ private is just not credible.
If we have money to waste on killing people in Ukraine then we should not even be having this debate. There is plenty money. This country is awash with money, We are the seventh richest country in the world. Yet we put up with government that imposes a scarcity of medical resources on the public because it does not really believe health care is a public good. If it could get away with privatising it, it would.
Our government looks to the failing health care rip off system in the US as its preferred model where the health care corporations and their oligarchs make a killing at the expense of the public.
Private health care is an insult to humanity and an ethical abomination. It should be banned. If Cuba can provide doctors to serve its own public, with spare to provide essential humanitarian aid abroad, then so can the UK.

j watson
j watson
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

How would you judge the annual individual pay for a doctor or nurse if you moved away from national pay scales? What metrics, what system, how much time and energy would you spend on this? How many disputes would arise about unfairness etc etc? Junior doctors rotate through their placements and organisations. So we resetting what we pay them every few months? Massive bureaucratic task.
Your point has some theoretical interest, but massively impractical even if we like a bit of the principle.
Bear in mind also GP are private contractors – there is something though in the mechanism via which they are paid. Debate for another time perhaps

Last edited 1 year ago by j watson
Charlie Two
Charlie Two
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

where did they dig up the prat who wrote this article. utter drivel from start to finish. as an employer i cant cut their tea breaks, slash their pay, torture, murder blah blah etc that this pseudo intellectual claims i can. i’m guessing he’s never had a proper job before, or indeed anything remotely resembling one. uni lecturer perhaps?

Michael James
Michael James
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

Some public sector workers have no right to strike. I think none of them should have that right, since they are employed by the public, who often can access no alternative service providers. If private sector workers strike, they harm their employers but the public can access alternative suppliers.

Last edited 1 year ago by Michael James
M Lux
M Lux
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

Spoken like a 1 percenter.

Russell Caplan
Russell Caplan
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

Typical neo-liberal nonsense, that denies the collective, social nature of work, in pursuit of greed and profit. As a trade unionist and university lecturer now retired I spent years fighting this clap trap that sought to reduce academics to the parlous state that private industry has succeeded in doing as a consequence of breaking the unions.
Divide and rule has always been the way of the bosses if they could get away with it. And get away with it they have for far too long. Doctors, nurses, ambulance workers, teachers, academics, railway workers, civil servants, BT engineers and more are finally discovering the collective power of the mass.
This advantage should not be squandered. The greed this government oversees rewarding their corporate cronies in the private sector despite their underperformance needs to be reversed so that all the workers can be paid a decent living wage. And this will only be achieved through such struggle as mass strikes.
The Guardian reported the Health Secretary claiming the 26% pay demand by junior doctors was unaffordable because it would add ÂŁ2bln to the public purse that would threaten the government’s efforts to control inflation. But the Defence Secretary has been given another ÂŁ2bln to replenish ammunition stocks that have been shipped off to Ukraine. A more perverse moral logic you could not make up, even if you tried. Inflation is acceptable when it comes to killing people in Ukraine, but unacceptable when it comes to paying the people who save lives and treat the sick in the UK!

Deb Grant
Deb Grant
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

The article is anti- capitalist, which makes me laugh. Capitalism is just barter. There is no other way of valuing human endeavour.

Striking is bartering but it does hold the whole public to ransom when it comes to essential public services.

What will junior doctors think of future generations of doctors who ask for more pay and less work than their predecessors, when they’re older and need more medical services? Why don’t they realise that the more they get for less work, the less doctors a free public system can afford to hire………

The reasons that Australian doctors are better paid and health insurance is more affordable is that it is a mixed public/private system with more money per capita going into healthcare.

Peter B
Peter B
1 year ago

“Nobody objects to the right to withhold one’s labour”.
Actually, I do. I do not accept that this is an absolute right without any corresponding responsibilities.
If you are a professional and have signed an employment contract to deliver services in return for a salary, then you have accepted responsiblity to deliver those services to the terms of the contract. You also have responsibilities to customers and co-workers.
Of course, if you don’t care about professionalism and taking your responsibilities seriously, that need not concern you.
In my view, it is extremely unwise for professionals like doctors to strike since it fundamentally undermines the professional ethos expected from them. Reputations take years to build and moments to destroy.
Having said all that, I can imagine that in practice it’s not an easy decision for teachers – for example – whether to strike.
But the fundamental reason they lack any negotatiating power is that they still insist on being treated as a mass and not as individuals as in private industry. If they accepted regional/local pay based on individual performance without things like automatic progression pay every year (this apparently still exists in the NHS), then a lot of the problems would go away. Except for the fact that lower performing employees would be paid less.
Since the public sector unions still insist that lower performing employees must be paid the same as higher performers and that they cannot be fired (drunk on the job train drivers seem impossible to dismiss), I suggest that the unions as they currently exist are archaic.

Milton Gibbon
Milton Gibbon
1 year ago

I didn’t realise that commenters would have their ramblings published as articles. It’s sixth form stuff, completely incoherent. How did this load of garbled nonsense get past the editors?

I don’t disagree with the first few paragraphs but from “The history of the British working-class…” it reads like mental diarrhoea.

Last edited 1 year ago by Milton Gibbon
Andrew Halliday
Andrew Halliday
1 year ago
Reply to  Milton Gibbon

Terence Francis Eagleton FBA[4] (born 22 February 1943) is an English literary theorist, critic, and public intellectual.[5][6][7][8] He is currently Distinguished Professor of English Literature at Lancaster University. Eagleton has published over forty books, but remains best known for Literary Theory: An Introduction (1983), which has sold over 750,000 copies.[9]

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago

Would it be fair to say that: His is the archetypal Public Sector parasite who has contributed virtually nothing to the public good yet has plundered system on a titanic scale thanks to his fantastic pension? And all through no fault of his own?

Jeff Butcher
Jeff Butcher
1 year ago

You mean like all the bankers we bailed out?

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeff Butcher

Except for one short word: GREED.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeff Butcher

Except for one short word: GREED.

Mr Sketerzen Bhoto
Mr Sketerzen Bhoto
1 year ago

No. Although that certainly describes most of the capitalist elite. Presumably Terry can survive on income from his books, and Charles survives in part on his pension.

If we are going to talk about runaway pension entitlements maybe we should concentrate not, or not just, on the public sector which is being reformed, but in the generation that made off like gangbusters with the triple lock. About whom the octogenarians on Unherd don’t seem to be so pushed about.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago

In many cases, including my own that would be rather too hypocritical, but you are perfectly correct.

Last edited 1 year ago by CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago

In many cases, including my own that would be rather too hypocritical, but you are perfectly correct.

Last edited 1 year ago by CHARLES STANHOPE
Nicky Hamlyn
Nicky Hamlyn
1 year ago

No it would not. Would it be fair to say that you’re a troll? He’s a university professor who works in one of those places where new knowledge is generated and culture is preserved, but hey, who cares about that crap? What do you mean by ‘public sector parasite’? Are all public sector workers parasites? What does ‘plundered the system’ actually mean? His book on literary theory has been very influential and an important contribution to literature studies but hey, what’s the point of studying literature?

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Nicky Hamlyn

Calm down Ms Hamlyn you ONLY demean yourself by such vulgarity, do you not? And to think you claim to be a University Lecturer, need I say more?

However to indulge you, culture may have been preserved and “new knowledge generated” in some, in fact very few of our plethora of Universities, but frankly most should be closed.

No, not all Public Sector Workers are parasites but an enormous number obviously are and this must cease.

“Plundered the system” translates as doing very little if any work, yet claiming a decent salary and in all cases a fantastic pension, with the extraordinary bonus of being virtually unsackable.

I dare say Eagleton’s book on Literary Theory is a notable tome but is rather niche is it not? As to why one should study Literature, you tell me.

ps: How is your little spat over speciality/specialty going with Steve Murray? (of this Parish.)

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Nicky Hamlyn

Calm down Ms Hamlyn you ONLY demean yourself by such vulgarity, do you not? And to think you claim to be a University Lecturer, need I say more?

However to indulge you, culture may have been preserved and “new knowledge generated” in some, in fact very few of our plethora of Universities, but frankly most should be closed.

No, not all Public Sector Workers are parasites but an enormous number obviously are and this must cease.

“Plundered the system” translates as doing very little if any work, yet claiming a decent salary and in all cases a fantastic pension, with the extraordinary bonus of being virtually unsackable.

I dare say Eagleton’s book on Literary Theory is a notable tome but is rather niche is it not? As to why one should study Literature, you tell me.

ps: How is your little spat over speciality/specialty going with Steve Murray? (of this Parish.)

Jeff Butcher
Jeff Butcher
1 year ago

You mean like all the bankers we bailed out?

Mr Sketerzen Bhoto
Mr Sketerzen Bhoto
1 year ago

No. Although that certainly describes most of the capitalist elite. Presumably Terry can survive on income from his books, and Charles survives in part on his pension.

If we are going to talk about runaway pension entitlements maybe we should concentrate not, or not just, on the public sector which is being reformed, but in the generation that made off like gangbusters with the triple lock. About whom the octogenarians on Unherd don’t seem to be so pushed about.

Nicky Hamlyn
Nicky Hamlyn
1 year ago

No it would not. Would it be fair to say that you’re a troll? He’s a university professor who works in one of those places where new knowledge is generated and culture is preserved, but hey, who cares about that crap? What do you mean by ‘public sector parasite’? Are all public sector workers parasites? What does ‘plundered the system’ actually mean? His book on literary theory has been very influential and an important contribution to literature studies but hey, what’s the point of studying literature?

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago

Would it be fair to say that: His is the archetypal Public Sector parasite who has contributed virtually nothing to the public good yet has plundered system on a titanic scale thanks to his fantastic pension? And all through no fault of his own?

Trevor B
Trevor B
1 year ago
Reply to  Milton Gibbon

I conclude from this that you can barely read. Irony?

Milton Gibbon
Milton Gibbon
1 year ago
Reply to  Trevor B

The trouble is that I can and have. My (very modest) criticism was that he could and should have stopped half way through and the article would have been better for it.
Nice try. I upvoted you.

Milton Gibbon
Milton Gibbon
1 year ago
Reply to  Trevor B

The trouble is that I can and have. My (very modest) criticism was that he could and should have stopped half way through and the article would have been better for it.
Nice try. I upvoted you.

Andrew Halliday
Andrew Halliday
1 year ago
Reply to  Milton Gibbon

Terence Francis Eagleton FBA[4] (born 22 February 1943) is an English literary theorist, critic, and public intellectual.[5][6][7][8] He is currently Distinguished Professor of English Literature at Lancaster University. Eagleton has published over forty books, but remains best known for Literary Theory: An Introduction (1983), which has sold over 750,000 copies.[9]

Trevor B
Trevor B
1 year ago
Reply to  Milton Gibbon

I conclude from this that you can barely read. Irony?

Milton Gibbon
Milton Gibbon
1 year ago

I didn’t realise that commenters would have their ramblings published as articles. It’s sixth form stuff, completely incoherent. How did this load of garbled nonsense get past the editors?

I don’t disagree with the first few paragraphs but from “The history of the British working-class…” it reads like mental diarrhoea.

Last edited 1 year ago by Milton Gibbon
rob drummond
rob drummond
1 year ago

As usual there is much spoken about the current series of disputes – much of it WRONG.
The latest was:
NEWLY QUALIFIED – Junior Doctors:
”A (Junior) Doctor earns the same as a Barista (coffee not the other one) – this is not true. a simple online check shows Costa Coffee Baristas are paid less than or around ÂŁ10 an hour – not the same as a Jr Doc Starting Salary at all. – also a Jr Doc salary has an upward career path. I imagine a Barista stays the same.
”Newly Qualified” comment:
I heard someone on the radio just this week saying
”I am on ÂŁ14 yes (I dont know if that was true or not obviously) and I have to pay ÂŁ5.80 per day tube fare”
”then the cheapest meal for lunch in the canteen is (cant remember exactly) ÂŁ4”
– plus I have to be the first on-call and I get asked to do overtime – Plus I get all the ”dogsbody” jobs.
Awww how terrible – the key point here is ”You are Newly Qualified” – also in my day, we used to make our own lunch and take that with us to work…….. What happened to that strange idea?

Tax-Payers:
I am not saying these people dont deserve a pay rise – but there are lots of TAX-Payers who have to pay for yoru salary from theirs and they too have probably (in the main) suffered a real terms pay cut.

Last edited 1 year ago by rob drummond
CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  rob drummond

Bravo! Well said.

Desmond Wolf
Desmond Wolf
1 year ago
Reply to  rob drummond

And the ÂŁ22bn* of our money being pumped directly into the hands of landlords via rental allowance? I suppose that money is well worth it? OR we could support the strikers in trying to move us towards a high wage economy where employers pay workers properly (i.e. where no one has to rely on state support to help them pay for overpriced private rental accomodation) and then hard work rather than asset hoarding can become a real route out of poverty.
*https://propertyindustryeye.com/housing-benefits-costs-taxpayers-22bn-a-year-more-than-we-spend-on-police/

Brendan O'Leary
Brendan O'Leary
1 year ago
Reply to  Desmond Wolf

Great, take away housing benefit then.

Desmond Wolf
Desmond Wolf
1 year ago

Fair play! Already got 4 million working people living in poverty – what’s another million?
https://www.jrf.org.uk/data/overall-uk-poverty-rates#:~:text=In%202020%2F21%2C%20around%20one,living%20in%20poverty%20(27%25).

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Desmond Wolf

What poverty exactly?

It’s all relative, just because ‘they’ can’t get as “pissed as a fart” every night of the week is hardly poverty in the old sense of the word is it?

Desmond Wolf
Desmond Wolf
1 year ago

Indeed it is relative, as the Rowntree website makes clear, but the point is that in the 5th wealthiest economy in the world (though soon destined to be as poor as Poland we are often told), ordinary people should not be getting poorer (often to the benefit of those enjoying record profits, and in ways far disprortionate to their efforts or services for others – speculators, landowners, investers etc). It is not merely material deprivation though, but the sense of ownership people are losing over their lives doing menial low-skill jobs (supermarkets, amazon warehouses etc) that can’t provide them with a sense of pride or purpose in the way that skilled industrial jobs used to for the lower classes. Additionally, having a lot of disenfranchised people around makes us vulnerable to the seductions of demagogues. What do you say to that?
https://www.jrf.org.uk/our-work/what-is-poverty
PS getting pissed on no money at all has been possible ever since supermarkets were first allowed to sell alcohol in 1962

Last edited 1 year ago by Desmond Wolf
Desmond Wolf
Desmond Wolf
1 year ago
Reply to  Desmond Wolf

Come on Charles, holding out hopes for you as a Blue Labourite who believes in a strong, productive Britain that rewards work over wealth, need over demand and doesn’t want to let our families, communities and town centres get torn apart by the ravages of the market..

Last edited 1 year ago by Desmond Wolf
CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Desmond Wolf

Working Class pride was destroyed eons ago by ‘Social Services’, ‘ Town Planners’ and countless other socialist busybodies trying to create some form of pseudo Marxist Utopia.

Then State Education tried to destroy their sense of National pride by ‘guilt tripping’ them over arrant nonsense about slavery, Empire etc.
As Orwell pointed out there nothing a Quislington socialist despises more than the Working class. All that whoring, drinking, dog fighting and general exuberance was just TOO much for them, and still is.

However let us rejoice, despite this socialist onslaught, it didn’t work!
‘They’ voted for Brexit, Boris and given half a chance would bring back the Gallows.

Twice in the last century ‘they’ have saved us and shall do so again, so poverty be damned!

Desmond Wolf
Desmond Wolf
1 year ago

Ok you haven’t really answered my question about whether you think living standards are going in a good direction in this country and on what the possible ramifications/solutions might be, but I’ll address your points in any case.
Yes the left does not have a completely sh