In general, the phrase, ‘A Nation gets the Government it deserves’ ought to be emblazoned, prominently, over the main gates of the Palace of Westminster, and again over the Lobby to the House of Commons within that august structure. Over the time I have been a close observer of the shenanigans happening within those gothic walls, I have seen and heard of many scandals, much deceit, a very few moments of genuine honesty & pathos, and a great deal of pusillanimous speechmaking, angling for personal power and blatant lying untruthfulness.
The business of Parliament, which used to be about how we were governed and how we are to be defended, has been abolished, as many if not most decisions are taken by an unelected cabal of bureaucrats based in Brussels. What we are left with is an expensive version of the deck chairs being moved around on the sun-deck of the Titanic. But the Left still tries to carry on with it’s Big State ideas, always being helpful to the Unions, who after all demand such gratitude without a whisper of the truth, which is simply that behind the modernised exteriors and amalgamations; They, and They alone, are the Paymasters of the Labour Party, the Labour movement and the wider Labour acolytes and hangers-on!
We see the bitter fruits of the Thatcher years, when one fearless woman stood up to the burners, the bullies and the backbiters; and forced through the necessary legislation to reform and re-write the Legislation governing strikes, ballots, secondary picketing and all the evils of the Big Union Bullying tactics which had nearly destroyed our Nation as an political and democratic entity. Yes, bitter, because when medicine is made palatable, and easy to swallow, it usually doesn’t effect a cure. Bitter because she had to fight not only the Left, in the shape of Labour and the Left, but also many of her own Party who only wanted a quiet life, and retirement to their clubs and manor houses, wrapped around with their peerages and knighthoods, having also sold out their heritage and nation.
Remember, that is if you are old enough, the ‘Winter of Discontent’. That is the kind of attitude supported by the big Unions, the bullies of Unite and Unison, of the R.M.T. and of the P.C.S. unions. If you are too young, read about it, and study how the Left nearly brought us all down. My own uncle, now dead these few years, a life-long Labour voter and supporter, changed totally as he witnessed for himself the carnage wrought by an unfettered Union onslaught; whispered to me, “Mike, they wouldn’t even let them bury the dead!”
A Private Members’ Bill was brought to the House yesterday morning. It was called the Lawful Industrial Action (Minor Errors) Bill and it was time for the Second Reading. It consisted of only two clauses, and wished to allow the outcome of Trade Union dispute ballots to be valid, even though there were ‘Minor Errors’, as detailed within the title of the Bill. Now when the Law of the Land is being discussed, there should be absolute clarity, especially when items of such importance as Industrial disputes are involved, and when an M.P. with the known proclivities towards Left-Wing actions as well as John McDonnell is, backs and places the Bill, it deserved all the scutiny it got.
In recent Strike Ballots, such as those between B.A. and Unite, or between RMT and Network Rail, the employers had successfully applied for an Injunction on grounds which some might claim were ‘minor errors’, but as the High Court stated, the Law must be observed, all of the Law, not just the majority of the Law.
So the House sat, and deliberated the Bill, including a small gem from Philip Davies: ‘My hon. Friend made a good point when he said that the Bill’s title refers to “minor errors”. I believe that the Network Rail v. RMT case was cited in support of this Bill, but does my hon. Friend agree that balloting people from 11 signal boxes that did not exist, some of which had been shut down 44 years ago and one of which, on the union’s own admission, had burned down hardly constitutes a “minor error”?’ Another highpoint in the debate was the inclusion, again from Philip Davies (Conservative) of ‘In passing, I wonder about the titles of Bills because they often seem to contradict completely their supposed purpose. For example, the Equality Bill was about all sorts of things but it certainly was not about equality. The Bill that the previous Government introduced to restrict jury trial should have been called the “We think the public are thick Bill”. We should have some honesty about what Bills are trying to do.’ The Debate is rather lengthy, but I would encourage the reader to view it, and witness the forensic use of the English language in unarmed combat.
The Parliamentary Wars, which commenced sometime around five seconds after the formation of the first Chambers in 1275, have been debating, counselling and arranging ever since, and Fridays’ gathering was no different.
The Parliamentary rules governing Debates are time-related and strictly observed, which is probably why so few Private Members’ Bills get through the mincing machine which is what remains of our old Parliamentary strengths. So the Conservatives went at the Bill hammer and tongs, and made certain that ‘time’ ran out, minor errors or not, and the Bill failed. But it need not have failed! It failed because not enough Labour Party M.P supporters could be either bothered to attend, or wanted to attend. It failed not because the Tories talked it out, but because the Bill’s supporters could not gather together the 100 M.P.s who wanted to support the Bill forward into Comittee. The Labour Party might be antediluvian, it may well be silly, stupid and authoritarian, but the one thing it is not is suicidal. To go the way of John McDonnell’s ‘Minor Errors’ bill would have been suicidal in the extreme, to return to the pre-Thatcher days of Strikes at the wave of a hand, and not much more.
Unfortunately for Britain, and for Democracy, the future that Tony Blair showed for Labour still beckons the hopeful!