Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Pampered, privileged and protected?

Mark Littlewood doesn’t have (has never had) a real job. Instead he is Director General of the Institute of Economic Affairs, a (mysteriously funded) weirdo right-wing “unthink tank” (as explained here) – but he knows what’s what!

Writing for the Daily Mail he explains that public servants are the pampered, the privileged and the protected.

This fabulous insight has certainly turned my world upside down.

I can certainly see that the Adventure Playground workers in my branch who lost their jobs this summer when the employer made 70% funding cuts earlier this year were “pampered” by being offered a massive and unaffordable cut in their hours. And all local government workers are truly “privileged” to be in the third year of a pay freeze. Most of all though, the many workers made redundant against their will this past year are truly “protected” from the pain of continuing at work with the kind offer of their P45.

Or, on the other hand, maybe not.

Maybe those who are pampered, privileged and protected are those who move between easy jobs with libertarian campaigns, rightwing political parties and reactionary think tanks? Does Mr Littlewood deal with difficult casework, work unsocial shifts or live under constant fear of losing his job? What do you think dear reader? I doubt it.

Those of us with real life experience of public service work know that this reactionary nonsense is rubbish. However, we need to bear in mind that the odious Mail, which is, in fact, the most widely read daily newspaper amongst UNISON members, is also read by many with no such experience.

Therefore, all of us who care about the future of public services – and all of us who want to win the pensions dispute – need to be alive to the need to rebut lazy reactionary nonsense wherever it is vomited into public consciousness.

Public services are as important to the functioning of the private sector of the economy as is the “wealth generating” private sector to the funding of the private sector. Neither one is parasitic upon the other, both are in a symbiotic relationship – which is one reason why we campaign in defence of public services.

As we move towards 30 November every one of the foaming-at-the-mouth reactionaries like Littlewood will be unleashed. We need to face them down and expose their lazy and ill-informed arguments.

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