Pensions, turnout and Planet Clarkson

I’m proud to say that many of my ex-colleagues in the U.K. took part in strike action over the Government’s proposed changes to pensions. I was with them in spirit, if not in body.

The Government is engaging in divide and rule tactics. Get the private sector to turn angrily on the public sector and the Coalition can avoid coming under fire. There is, of course, no reason why the public sector should receive better pensions than the private sector. I have yet to see a reason why one has to be worsened to gain parity, rather than the other improved. There is debate in relation to the sustainability of public sector pensions, The Hutton Report which reviewed public sector pensions shows that as a proportion of GDP, the cost of public sector pensions will fall from 2%, to 1.8% in 2030 and 1.4% in 2060. If we’re to have a debate about sustainability, surely we should first question how long we can sustain the enormous wealth of the highest earners. Directors from 346 of the UK’s top companies are set to earn 201,000 GBP per annum from their pensions, that’s 25 times the average pension of 8,100 GBP. Why was this not included in the “sustainability” debate?

Ministers regularly draw attention to the levels of turnout to vote for or against, strike action. I was a member of Unison which had a 29% turnout with a majority of 78% voting for strike action. Francis Maude described this as “extremely limited support” for the strike. That was over 245,000 people voting for strike action and meant that 22% of those eligible to vote, did so in favor of the strike. It’s strange that Maude et al regard a person not voting, as a vote against strike action. People are members of unions for all sorts of reasons, many simply as an insurance policy to be utilised in the event of personal problems with their employer. One must also consider that anyone going on strike will forgo that day’s wages, for many that is too big a hit but are not necessarily against strike action, therefore they may well not vote. Union’s also have a difficult time maintaining a presence in their workplaces with which to promote and discuss the issues; time at Union meetings is considered time away from work, shop stewards are pressed for time to do Union work, communication is hindered as you can’t use work email to discuss union matters. Remember this; union strength is a pain in the arse to the upper echelons and government, so of course they would try to weaken unions in any way that they can. Finally, let’s not forget, Cameron is sitting in Downing Street right now after only 23% of the population who are eligible to vote, did so for The Conservatives. It’s a bit rich to describe support for the strike as “extremely limited”, particularly in light of the issues I’ve just discussed.

I have also recently paid a brief visit to Planet Clarkson. This is a place where you can include yourself in the phrase “the rest of us have to work for a living” when your work involves, driving cars, talking sh*t and being obnoxious.  It’s a world where you can imply that Paramedics, Nurses, Doctors (like the ones who saved Hammond’s life), Police Officers, Social Workers, Probation Officers and Teachers do not work for a living. It’s a  wonderful world where you can propose that those people are executed in front of their families, a land where you can dedicate yourself to saying shocking and hurtful things because you think it’s entertainment. You may only earn 1,000,000 GBP a year from your employer, so occasionally you have to say really, really disgusting things to boost your ratings. I never said Planet Clarkson was perfect. Planet Clarkson, is not very densely populated, in fact only one person lives there. Heed my warning, you won’t like him, so take a Gameboy.

If you’d like to send any suggestions for improvements on Planet Clarkson, please do so using this link.

This entry was posted in pensions, strikes, Uncategorized, unions. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Pensions, turnout and Planet Clarkson

  1. Phil says:

    Well said. I work in the private sector and I’m done with hearing people moan about their pay and conditions and then doing nothing about it – organise yourselves!!

    Clarkson’s opinions are part of the lucrative niche he has carved out for himself. As Stuart Lee points out he makes his obnoxious remarks to a deadline in the Sunday Times. As you point out what he ”does” for a living is of little or no social value and that he attacks the workers who saved his colleague’s life is despicable.

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