Sunday, December 23, 2012
Plebgate - it's our fault comrades...
“Plebgate” poses a real problem for socialists of a certain age. It’s hard not laugh out loud. Unfortunately the underlying truth is less amusing.
Of course, when a former Tory Police Minister takes to the liberal press to take pot shots at the Police FederationI can think of nothing so much as the saying beloved of an old friend and comrade; “when thieves fall out, honest people smile.”
The shock with which Tories appear to be discovering that sometimes police officers fabricate evidenceis even funnier, to a cynical old 1980s lefty, than the shock with which the previously willing tools of Tory policy are experiencing their betrayal.
However, if trade unionists are the honest people in all of this, then I’m afraid we have few reasons to smile, because the reason this falling out is even possible is our own weakness.
The belated recognition being given officially to the blatantly partisan policing of the Miners’ strike of 1984/5 (reflected in Early Day Motion 775) is a reminder of how closely intertwined were the police with the last Conservative Government.
Thatcher protected the Police from her attacks upon public services because she needed a force prepared to restrain the resistance of a trade union movement thirteen million strong, twice as large as we are today.
Today our membership density is 26% across the economy, compared with a peak of 50% in 1979. The Coalition have concluded that we are not a threat and, as they have no “enemy within” they have no need to cushion the “thin blue line” from cuts to the extent that Thatcher did.
This begs the questions, are we really this weak and what can we do to strengthen ourselves?