Now -read the book!

Here is a link to my memoirs which, if you are a glutton for punishment, you can purchase online at
Men fight and lose the battle, and the thing that they fought for comes about in spite of their defeat, and when it comes turns out not to be what they meant, and other men have to fight for what they meant under another name. (William Morris - A Dream of John Ball)

Monday, October 15, 2012

Learn from Barnet

The weekend saw renewed coverage of the ongoing scandal of the blinkered rush to privatisation in Tory Barnet (

Barnet Council - the long standing "flagship" for Tory policies in London local government is clearly staggering from crisis to crisis. Less than six months after losing it's unpopular Leader, the Chief Executive who has steered Barnet towards massive outsourcing has jumped ship before the implementation of the approach with which he has been so closely associated.

The departure of the Chief Executive rightly prompted UNISON's Regional Secretary to write to the (new)(ish) Council Leader last week to urge suspension of the "One Barnet" outsourcing programme (

However, what's driving this blinkered rush to privatise is more than just the odd individual. Those who are ideologically (or personally and financially) committed to privatisation are trying, up and down the country, to persuade fellow Councillors that privatisation of "back office" services will save money to protect the front-line.

Since local government is not (whatever its faults) a meritocracy, such flawed arguments can and do hold sway (particularly where Labour Councillors have not yet truly recanted "New Labour" distaste for in-house services.

Trade unionists need to raise our game in opposition to this onslaught - and we could not do much better than learn from the exemplary struggle of Barnet's opposition.

You can (and should) keep up to date with developments over at the Barnet UNISON website (

Sent using BlackBerry® from Orange

1 comment:

nick said...

Why are unions losing members or perhaps why is it that union members lose faith with those they perceive as being part of the ruling bureaucracy?

The simple answer is that whilst many union activists on the front line are fighting to protect fellow workers rights those who are in a position to make things happen and help them when they have a work related problem take for ever to do anything. This is an endemic problem and one that full time 'orators' and followers of hot air who spend most of their lives up their own M25 should deal with.

I am currently dealing with a case of a low paid member who has been asking for legal advice on a matter to do with his employment position. This member is facing dismissal at the end of the month. We submitted case forms and requested legal advice more then 4 weeks ago but nothing is coming forward it's one excuse after another.

My argument is what is the point of having a revolution to save the class struggle when you can't be bothered to help an ordinary loyal member who needs support? And I know for a fact that this is not an isolated case. The orators who love the sound of their own voice and are so obsessed with the theory of revolution should do something practical and actively support a low paid member?? Do I f...g need me to state the obvious?? What is the purpose of the uprising if you can't save a single member?? No wonder more than half of those who work in public service don't bloody join!! Lets change that!