Monday, September 13 2010
Hearing trade unions leaders at the TUC conference was a frightening reminder of the dark days of the 1970s.
It had all the echoes of the three-day week, the Winter of Discontent, Arthur Scargill and other horrors that plunged the nation into doom and gloom.
It was a far more "darker, brutish and frightening place" in those dismal days than it could ever be now, despite the apocalyptic warning by Brendan Barber.
Well done to the Balpa chief for injecting the only note of sanity into a tribal rant by the band of brothers.
Sure, the Government has handed union rabble-rousers an open goal with its continual harping on about draconian cuts.
They should have been a lot more subtle. They have given the impression that cutting spending is their only goal whereas they should be stressing the need for sensible spending, increasing it in some areas where the payback is substantial or where fairness to the vulnerable is concerned.
Tax and public spending went too far under the last Government and has to be reined back. It would have been better PR for the new union barons to have tempered their anti-Government tirade with recognition that the nation cannot go on spending beyond its means for ever.
The public sector has been protected for too long. It is time it shared some of the suffering felt across the private sector. And public spending does not of itself buy civilisation as the union leaders claim because you cannot trust the recipients of our cash to spend it wisely.
Sensible spending is what we need, and with the nation's economy in such a parlous state, we need to cut our cloth accordingly. Threatening massive disruption, and carrying it out, will surely lead to far greater economic and social crisis.