What next? Come 2013 the answer will be self evident

Warren Town: “Maybe there is truth in the joke that if this Xmas you are having a party, do not ask Nick Clegg to organise it”

HAVING marched through London in good weather, if a little chilly (or is this me being old) we have had members ask in our union –what now?


It’s a good question and one where the answer does not flow easily, especially when you consider the extraordinary events that we have seen since we traipsed through London.


We have had the election of police commissioners. With all the hype and hullabaloo it appears that the public either did not understand the relevance of the elections or just could not be bothered. (My money is on the latter) Never mind we only spent 100 million on this exercise. Obviously money well spent when hospitals are failing and local services are under threat of closure.


I did hear that the failure to turn up was the fault of the weather but this is a lame excuse and such an easy target. Given that the turnout was in the order of 13%, with one polling booth in Wales failing to attract even one punter, the government still had the gall to hail this election as a success and that despite the low (understatement of the year) turnout are of the view that any commissioner has a mandate.


Now cast your mind back to the pension dispute and the strike and union ballots for action. Dave, George and Boris were appalled by the results of union ballots. Cries of unrepresentative ballots and calls for ballots that had to have a 50% turnout to be conclusive, where heard cross the halls of Westminster and Boris’s pad. Well nothing like a good old fashioned dose of hypocrisy to help you appreciate that there may well be one good reason for the low turnout for the elections of commissioners.


Now let us move onto the other election that has been in the news – Corby. Yep, only this time, not the weather but ‘mid-term blues’ for the Government. I have heard this repeatedly over the years and never understood why we put up with it. What it is actually saying is that the public are not happy with the government and if this is the case should this not be cause for concern?


With Labour taking the seat and the Libs (remember them) being knocked out of the running I wonder what the rank and file in the party think. It must have really hurt to lose out to UKIP. Maybe there is truth in the joke that if this Xmas you are having a party, do not ask Nick Clegg to organise it.


And finally we have the economy. Unfortunately for George he has failed to stem the tide of borrowing and we are now borrowing nearly twice as much as we did this time last year. Perhaps when he presents his speech on the budget today the Labour Party benches should break into song and sing the chorus of the Seasick Steve classic ‘I started out with nothing and I’ve got most of it left.’ But the serious side of this is that having charted a course of slash (our wages) and burn (our bridges) George has no room for manoeuvre and can only accelerate the policy.


So what is the answer to the question posed from the union member who wants to know- what next? Well the problem with mid -term politics is that we are just too far away from the next election to get excited and too near Christmas to care. The real battle will come to us next year when the cuts and austerity are really beginning to bite. Perhaps there is no answer to what next because come 2013 the answer will be self evident.


Have a good xmas and see you on the streets in 2013.


Warren Town is SoR’s director of industrial relations


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