In the row over public sector pensions which led to tens of thousands of workers going on strike today, the Tories have behaved as you’d expect: with threats and continuing to turn the word ‘fairness’ into newspeak. You would think, however, that the party whose roots are entrenched in the labour movement, hence the name ‘Labour’, would be sympathetic, if not supportive of the public workers’ battle to secure the pensions which compensate for poorer salaries than those in the private sector.
But alas, the Labour leadership has shown no sign of returning from the centre-right ground staked out by Tony Blair. For all the taunts of ‘Red Ed’ and suggestions of radicalism, Ed Miliband is not so much Marx as Milquetoast: an ineffective leader who put himself in the ridiculous position of attempting to bash the Government while offering absolutely no support to to the striking workers, calling the strikes ‘wrong':
Labour leader Ed Miliband has delivered a blunt message to striking teachers and council workers: “You’ve made a mistake.”
Addressing the Local Government Association conference at the ICC in Birmingham, Mr Miliband said: “I understand the anger of workers who feel they are being singled out by a provocative and reckless government.
“But I also believe this strike is wrong. Negotiations are on-going and it was a mistake to go on strike.”
And days earlier, Ed Balls adopted the mantle of concern troll by telling mutinous workers that striking would just play into the Tories hands, and so they shouldn’t strike:
Ed Balls has urged public sector workers not to strike over the government’s planned pension reforms saying: “The trade unions must not walk into the trap of giving George Osborne the confrontation he wants.”
Between the two of them, the Eds illustrate exactly why people did decide to take industrial action – because if they didn’t stand up and fight for their rights, who would? Certainly not this awful Labour Party that has never been less worthy of the name. Tony Blair created ‘New Labour’, perhaps the current incarnation should be called ‘Hard Labour’.
UPDATE: Paperback Rioter has a good piece up giving background to the whole sorry situation and showing what a crock the Tory and Miliband positions are,