Thursday, 24 November 2011
I've Made Up My Mind About The 30 November Strike
I was ambivalent about the public sector's strike organised for St Andrews Day, the 30 November, until I read Ian Dunt's article this morning.
Not only is his arrogance annoying, but underlying his words I sense his pure glee at the inconvenience which will be caused to millions. He tells me I'll be angry and my stressful day will be 'made even more difficult by people I rely on' and he continues:
The very fact that this strike inconveniences you demonstrates the value of the public sector. These are the people who look after us; our children, our property and our streets.
He's wrong on all counts. I certainly won't be angry next Wednesday and my existence isn't completely in the hands of public service workers. My sympathies lie with young parents who use public sector childcare services because, from my own experience, that was the aspect of family life which was the vital cog in the wheel. If my own childcare arrangements were disrupted it threw my ability to earn a living into chaos. I've never used public service childcare services because there were none when my family were young, but I have seen the benefits it brings to a large amount of our children whose parents would be unable to afford private facilities.
But the public sector doesn't look after 'us' or our children. We pay taxes for government to provide these services and leave it to local authorities to employ the brightest and the best to deliver it. Schools are there to provide an education to our children. It's the law. One head teacher recognises her responsibility to her pupils. Why shouldn't former Army personnel undertake such duties if they so wish?
Parents and families look after children, not public servants. Of course at times a little help may be required in certain areas, but to generalise in such a way is hyperbole.
As for the public sector looking after 'our property' - they certainly don't look after mine.
I notice Mr Dunt mentions the pensions of Tory and Libdem politicians in his rant but fails to mention those pensions gleaned from the public purse for Labour politicians. But then he wouldn't would he?
All my working life, both in the private and public sectors, I've supported workers standing up for themselves. For years I paid into employers private sector pension schemes and if Gordon Brown hadn't started taxing profits before I'd even set eyes on it, I would have been able to have a comfortable teacher-like pension today. But I don't, yet no public sector worker protested for the hundreds of thousands of us who lost out. Brown's move ensured I still have a mortgage at the age of 65 and there is no possibility the lender will see the loan until I either die or sell.
In the private sector I wasn't highly paid but I had a most enjoyable and challenging career. Thirty years ago I didn't think further than ensuring my family were cared for to the best of my ability and thought I had adequate pension provision in place.
Where were those who will be protesting next Wednesday when 'their' then (Labour) chancellor reduced my pension pot by over a third?
Those of a left-wing political persuasion - how I hate those labels - consider many in the private sector are wealthy. They're not. They should look to the salaries provided within medium to higher local authorities.
Now, if they were to strike against the excessive salaries of their bosses I would certainly take to the streets. Closing down Scotland for a day in the middle of a working week may certainly bring their 'cause' to the public's attention, however, I doubt it they will receive much sympathy. Perhaps many parents are wishing their child's school had a headmistress like Rachel de Souza. If my family were still of school age I certainly would.
Shouldn't we all be protesting against the huge increments the higher echelons both the private and public sector are given? That would be something worth striking for.