I noted last week that the din of the Summer of Discontent had given way to the quiet sound of negotiation on public sector pensions.
Today comes a co-ordinated release by the Treasury and the Trades Union Congress of Danny Alexander’s letter to Brendan Barber setting out progress made and the next steps in the process.
What’s a commentator to do if they’ve no particular insights to offer on the machinations of the Murdochs, the murkiness of the Met, the paralysis of the Prime Minister or the Making of Ed Miliband?
Fortunately, the wonderful Quotable Christopher Hitchens is here to help.
On Rupert Murdoch:
“… the most deft practitioner yet evolved in the art [...]
No, it’s not my attempt to start a rival series – Questions To Which The Answer Is No.
It’s prompted by Potiche, a seventies-set French comedy “in cinemas now” (but not many).
Starring Gerard Depardieu and Catherine Deneuve, the film revolves round a dispute in an umbrella factory (a nod to Deneuve’s breakthrough role in the 1963 [...]
Not (sorry to disappoint) the latest extravagant description of a one day strike – but a film about how the West Indies built the cricket team that dominated the game from the late 1970s right through the following decade.
In a thoughtful article in the Guardian’s business section Phillip Inman notes that those on both sides of the pension debate largely come from the same, over-50 demographic.
Last week’s ferocious phone-in arguments were mostly between private and public sector workers. The inter-generational dimension got less attention. But it’s the willingness of the future workforce to [...]
In an interesting post at the activist Left Futures site, Andy Newman points out the differences between Dave Prentis and Mark Serwotka aren’t just political (Prentis is a Tankie rather than a Trot – in the Times on Saturday (paywall), given the slam-dunk choice of “Fidel Castro or Barack Obama?”, he went for Castro. Excellent [...]
Off Westbourne Grove in fashionable Notting Hill there’s an apartment block with a lovely art deco awning. I was grateful for it in the 1980s, when the building was my office and it sheltered our regular picket lines.
On strike days we’d rise far earlier than we ever managed on a workday; stand around till about [...]
Thanks to “Neil” in a comment thread on Political Betting for drawing attention to this.
The Public and Commercial Services union are looking for songs to soundtrack their walkout next Thursday.
So obviously they’re going for Billy Bragg, Paul Weller and Tracy Chapman tracks from the 1980s – that great decade of trade union advance.
Plus the Manic Street [...]
Today’s Times (paywall) reports the deteriorating financial health of Britain’s unions – in particular UNITE and the Public and Commercial Services Union. Mainly that’s down to job losses. But there are plenty more to come – and that’s before the growing campaign to end paid time off for public sector representatives hits home.
An ex-union colleague texts me with a pithy request for strategic advice (well, that’s how I interpret it …) on the public sector pension dispute.
My answer – that I wouldn’t have been starting from here – is hardly original. But it’s not entirely flippant either.
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