Left on the sidelines

There’s been a welcome return, in recent weeks, for the excellent Philtheone blog, perhaps Blackpool’s best (unless you know better).

He’s come up with some real scoops and, on a few occasions, sailed a little too close to the wind. The opinions are steadfastly right wing (albeit heavily against the current Tory leadership of Blackpool Borough Council. But occasionally Phil – and more to the point, some of his fellow contributors – come out with some real nonsense.

Where to start with this swivel-eyed, crypto-fascist nonsense?

What poster True Blackpudlian are saying is that ordinary working people do not deserve the human right to organise as they see fit. Our unions are already among the most restricted in the world. Union members have a right to vote on whether their union has a political fund or not. If the union has a political fund, members have a right to opt out of contributing to it. What more restrictions do you need? Why should the ordinary working people who make up the trades unions not have the right to have paid professionals at the top of the organisation? After all, if they don’t like them or don’t think they’re up to the job, they can always vote them out. Could it be that the reason (some) trades unions oppose the cuts is because it is not in the interests of their members for their members jobs to be slashed?

If any institution in this country needs to be democratised it is big business and pension funds. They’re supposedly run in the interests of their shareholders, yet can you get rid of or call to account the trustees of your pension fund? Are they made to hold regular conferences at which all members can have their say on policies? Are they hecker’s like. So billions upon billions of pounds ‘belonging’ to ordinary working people is ‘managed’ by a tiny cabal of very wealthy people in shady corners of the City of London, based on whatever ‘relationship’ is ‘bought’ by this powerful yet shadowy elite.

And while we’re at it, how about shedding a little more light on other organisations which play a role in our political process yet fail to follow even the most basic rules of transparency, never mind democracy. Who pays for the Taxdodgers’ Alliance? Who elected its leaders or set it policies? While foreign-based billionaires can buy their way into the political process, ordinary working people are in a vice-like grip. And you want to make it worse. Shame on you.

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51 thoughts on “Left on the sidelines

  1. Fair enough Steve. I in no way tell Mr Blackpudlian what to write and in many cases totally disagree with him, but he’s a voice which prompts many a contentious discussion and I welcome that.

    Regarding the unions, in the last election Unite alone bought into the political process more than twice as much as Lord Ashcroft did, with its political director as right hand man to the Labour party leader at the time. What’s the difference?

    Remember Gordon Brown was totally against the BA strikes, labelling them ‘deplorable’, but he took no action against the union cronies that were orchestrating it because they were bankrolling his party.

    I don’t know what Lord Ashcroft sought to achieve by making his donations to the Tories, but whatever the motive, it’s no different from the principle behind Unite’s relationship with Labour.

    1. no problem Phil – wasn’t suggesting otherwise and TB is, of course, entitled to his view!

      You make the point about Unite vs Lord Ashcroft. I would say the difference is this; Unite represents and is fully accountable to two million UK taxpayers. Lord Ashcroft . . . well, we allknow how many taxpayers he speaks for 😉

      I think the problem is that a lot of people don’t know (or choose to misrepresent) what a union is

  2. I am sorry but I find this article quite insulting and offensive. I find the description as ‘crytpo-fascist nonsense’ quite insulting. I am entitled to an opinion. I am not saying ‘ordinary’ workers should not be represented. I am saying I do not like the way they exist in their current form with their left-wing campaign against the Conservatives. As far as I am concerned they are more interested in campaigning against the Conservatives than representing the workers. My attack was aimed more at champagne socialist hypocrites like Bob Crow and Tony Woodley.

    1. TB you are, of course, entitled to your opinion. But you seem to have ignored my point. Should it not be down to working people to decide the shape of the organisations they created and joined to represent them? The crypto-fascist comment came from the fact that you don’t believe workers should have this choice

  3. So if Lord Ashcroft were to produce a list of names (for example the Tory party membership list) that supported him, and called it a union, would that be ok?

    I think in the case of Ashcroft and Unite, they’re both self-serving in terms of their political involvement. The only difference is that when Unite picks up its ball and goes home, the country has to suffer.

    What does Ashcroft stand to gain by funding the Tories anyway? He’s already got his peerage.

    1. Phil, I think my point is that the Unite money comes directly from the members, who had the complete right to choose to not give to the political fund without losing any of their membership rights whatsoever. The members could, as members of my union did, elect to hold a ballot on whether to have a union political fund at all. They could, as members of my union did, vote not to have a political fund at all, whatever their leadership thinks.

      If Lord Ashcroft wants to set up an organisation on similar democratic lines, he is, of course, free to do so. But one rich man trying to buy off the UK electorate despite deliberately and systematically dodging UK taxes is not democracy.

      1. But this is one of the big problems I have with unions. I don’t agree with their being a political fund at all. I feel they should be non-partisan. Its all very well saying ‘You can opt out of the political fund’ but the union is still funding the Labour Party which goes against what I believe in. Even if I can opt out they are still cosying up with Labour launching this vendettal against the Tories.

      2. what’s it got to do with you whether they’re non-partisan or not? No union member has to pay into a political fund if they don’t want to – in fact I was speaking to a union member at the weekend who opts out of the political fund, it just means she can’t vote in the Labour leadership election. Union members can abolish the political fund if they want. My union voted not to have a political fund despite the fact that the union leadership was 100 per cent united in favour of having one. What gives you or anyone the authority to tell working people who form a union what they can do with that union?

      3. You are missing the point, I never said workers cannot form a union. I simply said I do not like the left-wing nature of the unions. The Royal College of Nursing is non-partisan and it works fine. It is not fair on right-wing people like me who don’t want to back an organisation that is going around campaigning against my party.

  4. That is not what I said, I feel my article has been misinterpreted. What I am saying is I want trade unions to be radically reformed. I want rid of these Tory hating left-wing militants like Crow and Woodley and Simpson and make unions non-partisan organisations banned from linking with parties. I refuse to support an organisation that supports Labour. And I am appalled by this witchhunt against the Tories with all these proposed strikes and ‘civil disobedience’. I feel they are being too political and not representing workers. The deficit needs to be tackled and I feel the unions are doing nothing to help that cause. They are simply trying to cripple the Coalition. But the hypocrisy of these men appalls me also. They blast ‘Tory toffs’ when they are millionaires living in country mansions on six-figure salaries.

    1. ok, let’s see if I’m understasnding you right;

      You want to ‘radically reform’ trade unions, whether the members who make up those unions having absolutely no say in it whatsoever.
      You want to ban groups of working people who come together as a union from employing full-time staff, with those working people having absolutely no say in the matter whatsoever
      You want to ban working people who come together as a union from affiliating that union to a political party, be it the Tories, Labour or the Monster Raving Loony Party, even if 100 per cent of those members believe it is to their benefit of their interests as workers to make such an affilitation?

      Am I wrong? Please tell me how?

      Thoroughly enjoying the debate by the way gentlemen, good to have you here!

  5. No that is not what I am saying, I am not saying workers should not be able to form unions. I have no objection to the concept of unions. The only thing I have a problem with is the political links. I do not feel unions should be able to affilliate to ANY political party as this is unfair to other members. If they were non-partisan then everybody is happy. The Royal College of Nursing is non-partisan. It still represents nurses but does not fund or support any political party so it is not biased. What annoys is the way these Labour-loving Tory-hating lefties like Crow and Woodley are just abusing their positions to try and crush the Tories.

    1. other members don’t have to pay into the political fund! Other members can vote for different candidates who don’t want to affiliate to a political party! Other members can vote to abolish the political fund! These are democratic organisations and you want to curtail their right to do what members want to do, even if 100 per cent of members vote in favour of it!

      1. I think they would be much more democratic if they were non-partisan. I want an impartial organisation that represents the workers. What I see them as now is militant left-wing pressure groups simply trying to cripple the Coalition because of their left-wing leanings. They are playing politics rather than representing workers.

      2. how can they be more democratic if you are forcing them to be non-partisan with sheer contempt for the views of the workers who make up the union? Unions don’t ‘represent’ workers – they ARE the workers. Why do you want workers to have their human right to organise further eroded while the mega-rich can do whatever they want?

  6. Trade union leaders are not ‘workers’ they are just as ‘super rich’. It makes my blood boil seeing smarmy champagne socialists like Bob Crow on the news blasting ‘Tory millionaires’ when he is a six-figure earner himself living in a country mansion. It is total hypocrisy. I am not denying the views of workers, I am simply sick of this anti-Tory witchhunt by trade union leaders.

    1. trade union leaders are elected, democratically, by workers! Why should those workers have their human right to organise further diminished because you object to anyone who holds different views to you having a say?

      1. Because I feel it is unfair on workers with differing views. I am a Conservative and I joined the Conservative Party because I support them by my own choice. I wouldn’t join Labour because I despise them. But with unions people don’t have that choice because they are politicial (and 99% of the time left-wing) I have to join an organisation that backs Labour and that goes against my beliefs. Unions represent people from a wide spectrum of political views and I find it unfair that just because the leaders are left-wing they have to become left-wing anti-Tory groups. That is why I don’t join unions because I would be supporting the Labour Party and supporting this militancy against my party.

      2. but, for the millionth time, any worker, any time can pull out of funding the union’s political fund and the membership at large can get rid of that fund, or sack the leadership or whatever. It’d called democracy. Now when I have a pension, I could have my money invested in any manner of company that, for all I know, is giving money to the Tories, the BNP, the Taxdodgers’ Alliance or whatever other organisation and I have no say whatsoever in it. It’s one rule for the4 mega-rich and another for the ordinary working person.

        There’ll be no further replies from me tonight, but feel free to chat among yourselves. Thank you, it’s been illuminating.

        Steve

      3. I disagree, but got to dash myself anyway. It has been a heated but lively debate. Thank you to you too.

  7. No matter which way you swing it TB, you ARE saying you want to cutdown on the rights union members have by denying the members of that union the right to form ties with political parties if there members choose too.

    Atm the union members CHOOSE what they want or don’t. You are saying you want to take some of that choice away.

    Its bizarre when you say “I am simply sick of this anti-Tory witchhunt by trade union leaders.” and think BANNING ties with political parties would some how fix this? First off there is a REASON unions have ties to parties and secondly how can you think stripping a union of its political powerbase will help any of the workers in that union?

    1. But what about the choice of workers like me who despise the Labour Party? I am lucky being a nurse in that I can avoid unions and join a non-partisan professional body (the Royal College of Nursing) but other ordinary workers don’t have that option and are forced to join a Labour supporting union like Unison instead, where is their choice? Stripping unions of party links will help workers because they are not representing the workers now. All these stupid strikes are just a pathetic attack on the Tories by the militant leaders, this is nothing to do with fighting for the workers. I am a public sector worker and I despise the thought of strikes.

  8. Just going to put in my two pennies worth.
    TB think unions should be allowed to run like his the RCN with one or two exceptions it would appear. First of all unions shouldn’t have full time reps like the RCN does, secondly the head of Unions shouldn’t be paid the same salary as the head of the RCN some would say this is double standards but what do you expect from a Tory. Let’s be fair the RCN represents poorly paid nurses unlike unison or unite well unison does represent nurses and both represents workers on far lower paid then TB but lets forget that.
    Anyway that’s not the point unions should not be allowed to support political parties because its undemocratic it should be made illegal for workers to join a union of their own free will and donate their own money to a political party that would be democracy? After all there are so many people out there who are forced to join these unions against their own political believe and are forced to pay over their money to these unions. Hold on there isn’t anyone like that is there.
    Now I am a nurse myself and I don’t belong to the RCN I belong to UNISON because I don’t feel the RCN represents nurses to well in a national way. I fear for the NHS under the conservatives I remember how it was the last time they were in charge of it. The RCN did not put up a very good fight for the nurses then and they will not now. TB says that nurses are poorly paid if he feels this then surly he must be asking why he is not represented by a good union if he feels this way. TB says nurses will not strike their not that shellfish but I know nurses who work for the NHS who will take some form of industrial action I am not saying they will all walk out “the last one out of ICU turn off the ventilators”. Most of these nurses no longer belong to the RCN they have joined unions like UNISON for reasons TB would like to make illegal but isn’t that their democratic right to do this. Well the answer as far as TB is concerned is NO so much for choice.

    1. No offence John, but and I can’t properly understand what your are trying to say in some parts because of the grammar. I don’t mean that as a crticism I seriously can’t understand some of it some of it is very confusing.

      Also to clarify a few points I never advocated for ‘double standards’ for the RCN, so don’t trot out all that ‘What do you expect from a Tory?’ tripe. I never said such thing.

      Also while I am here, I am still awaiting an apology from you when you accused me of having a Gazette thread stopped because I ‘disagreed’ with comments. That has never happened and I find your accusation quite insulting. I don’t know where you got that from but it is a total lie. Please apologise.

    1. I have plenty of understand of people and the workforce so I will thank you not to insult me. I am entitled an opinion it is called democracy.

      1. Well I agree with Paul I think you are being blinkered and I don’t think you do understand where a lot of the work force of this country is coming from. As you have said on the BG that you have a safe government job so basically stuff everyone else. I don’t think you should go on about democracy when one of your so important opinions is that we should curb others democratic rights.

      2. I am not blinkered at all, I never said ‘stuff everyone’ else, stop making such rash generalisations about me. I was saying my job is safe to put a sock in the mouthes of Labour supporters on the Gasjet who keeping saying stupid things like ‘The Tories will sack nurses’ and I am proving a point to them. I never said ‘stuff everyone else’. If I could get a job in the private sector I would, nurses are treated much better in the private sector. I am not trying to curb democratic rights at all, I am entitled to an opinion.

  9. Well I understood ;ohn comment.but TB is doing that old trick when you can not argue against the points being made talk about somerthing else spelling structure of the comments past postings
    I think this is very silly.

    1. Don’t you speak to me like that, I am NOT being ‘silly’ at all. I can argue against points, there is no ‘trick’. I really cannot understand some of the comment because of the sentence structure, some of it doesn’t make sense. He didn’t make it clear whether he was making a point or quoting me, it is very hard to read. Now don’t you make such silly assumptions about me.

      1. They were not very straightforward at all. The grammar is appalling and I don’t mean that insultingly it is. The way it is written makes no sense. I can’t tell if he is trying to quote me or make a point of his own because there is no punctuation. The third paragraph is fine but the first two make no sense.

  10. Also John I am a member of the RCN because I feel they are doing a good job and I am backing a union which supports Labour. Nurses are poorly paid but I don’t want nurses going on strike and causing ‘civil disobedience’ I simply want a decent wage. Also I fear for Labour getting control of the NHS again, they have wrecked the NHS, but you don’t even work in the NHS anymore so I feel I am in a stronger position to comment on the NHS. Also I am sure I read somewhere you are an ODP not a nurse.

  11. My points are clear you are setting double standards between unions yours and the ones you don’t like. I qualified in 86 do you want my pin number? You’re a member of the RCN because you say they are doing a good job I am a member of UNISON because I believe they are not. I choose to pay into the political fund because I feel the Labour party will support me and my colleges in Britain better then any other. As for the rest of your comments I don’t even know what you are on about. I also don’t think your far right views make you someone I want to talk to.

    1. I didn’t mean that point as an attack or anything, the first half of the comment I found very difficult to understand. I did not advocate any double standards. The RCN are a professional body not a union. I feel the RCN are doing a good job, if you disagree that’s fair enough but I do not want to back a Labour loving left-wing union like Unison. I feel Labour has wrecked the NHS and will do nothing for nurses which is why I vote Conservative. Don’t you dare call me ‘far right’, I am centre-right/right-wing Conservative. Also please answer my question; Why on Philtheonecom did you accuse me of stopping a whole Gazette thread when that never happened?

  12. I know I am right peter lol. I have read some of TB posts about what he think people should be paid. I am a long haul driver and because I get twice TBs wage its wrong or so he has posted in the past. He has no understanding of my job but he feels he has the right to dictate what I should get paid. Now that’s fair.

    1. That is called a typo, my stupid laptop keyboard skips letters out when I am typing, there is nothing wrong with my grammar. I seriously cannot understand what on earth John’s comment is trying to say and I do not appreciate your tone Paul, why do you keep hurling abuse at me?

    2. I point to Banks, Doyle and Joyce to my writing style and I do apologise for people who don’t find it easy to read, perhaps they should boarded their reading they my find its expands their horizons.
      I don’t blame anyone for not supporting Labour or joining any union they don’t wish to join and I wouldn’t try to curtail their right to do so. I suppose that is the difference between me and TB it would appear that TB not only wishes to oppose Labour but also wishes to stop people supporting them. I have to mention that I am well aware that the RCN is not a union “but a rose by any other name…”.
      I do own TB one apology and that is when I called him far right he says he isn’t he is just centre right of the right wing of the Labour party. Just read that sentence back and that does make him far right doesn’t it?
      As for TB understand(ing) other jobs outside his own well I don’t feel he does either. TB claims nurses are treated much better in the private sector this isn’t true it’s just something TB feels to help him along with his martyr complex. “Woe am I a poorly paid nurse working my fingers to the bone I should become a saint”.

      1. I am not far-right at all John and I find that label quite offensive. I am not trying to stop anyone supporting Labour. Yes I despise Labour but if people want to vote for them, than that is their choice. You are totally misinterpreting my comments like the original article.

    1. When you keep insulting me. Saying things like ‘Oh he always does this when cannot argue a point’, I was not doing that at all and I never do, I am always happy to debate a point. I genuinely could not understand that comment, the grammar is very sloppy and hard to read. Yes I do feel it is wrong lorry drivers like you outearn nurses and teachers, but I am entitled to that opinion and you have no right to dictate to me what I can think. Also for your information I have a very good understanding as I am good friends with a lorry driver and even then its not exactly difficult, you drive lorries between destinations, what’s to understand?

  13. “Oh he alwayas…” Comment is wrong never posted that some would say you are lying. As for my job I put more hours in then you I am away from home days if not weeks at a time, my working conditions bring on medical conditions and reduces my life span, and according to insurence companies I am of high risk of dying on the job. My wage reflexs all this so yes TB you don’t know what you are talking about.

  14. Stop being so abusive with your comments. Yes you did accuse me of the above I am not lying at all. You don’t need to be abusive. Here is a quote of your comment

    “Well I understood ;ohn comment.but TB is doing that old trick when you can not argue against the points being made talk about somerthing else spelling structure of the comments past postings
    I think this is very silly.” You wrote that look September 19 2010 you can’t deny it. You are the one who is wrong with that ridiculous comment.

    I do know about your job it is not exactly difficult to understand. You know nothing about my job which is much more complex. You don’t know how many hours I work or what my job involves. My job also carries the risk of medical problems like stress and back problems. I don’t mean this as an insult but driving a lorry is not exactly rocket science and I feel you are overpaid. That is my opinion and I am entitled to it.

    1. Me sad? Lol, look at you and your childish remarks. Paul owes me an apology and I will not stop until I get one. This site is a total joke biggest load of nonsense I have ever read. You should all be ashamed of yourselves trying to deny me my freedom of speech.

      1. TB, a truly disgraceful remark. You’ve had more than enough ‘free speech’ on this site. You will need to develop a far thicker skin if you are to enter the world of local government.

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