Now that they have seized power, with more than a little assistance from the Lib Dems, the Tories are getting ready to start their attack on worker’s and workers rights.
For those that can remember the previous Tory governments, the sight of David Cameron welcoming Margaret Thatcher at the door of 10 Downing Street is a chilling reminder of the devastation inflicted on people and their communities when they last had power.
Margaret Thatcher was not welcomed back to number 10 for sentimental reasons; she was welcomed back to send out a clear message.
To the Tory hierarchy the message is that David Cameron has not lost his roots and remains committed to the Free Market philosophy of Milton Friedman and will continue where Thatcher left off.
To the Lib Dems the message is thanks for giving power back to us, now sit back, be quiet and watch you implode.
To the people of this nation the message is we will look after the few at the top at the expense of the many who are not as privileged.
The Tories need a crisis to push forward their ideology “Free Market Capitalism”.
As Milton Friedman wrote “Only a crisis – actual or perceived – produces real change.
Thatcher’s “crisis” was the Falklands War. Cameron’s “crisis” is national debt.
As with Thatcher, these Tories will argue that structural adjustment is required to save the economy from crisis and that will require transferring, in their view, inefficient public services into private hands.
This week the Chancellor, George Osborne, will deliver a tough austerity budget. They are already lining up the arguments to persuade us that things are worse than they thought and therefore the cuts that they were proposing will have to go deeper and over a longer period.
We are being lined up to believe that the economic problems that affect us are not the fault of the banks, who have quickly returned to their old ways; instead they will argue that it is the fault of the public sector.
We can anticipate that they will then lay out their initial plans to cut jobs and services in the public sector and we will have to listen to some very wealthy people telling us that public sector pensions are too generous.
I hasten to add that they will not say that the public sector pensions paid to MP’s are too generous.
This will just be the beginning of the attacks and we can anticipate that they will then roll out attacks on all working people and their families and communities.
We’ve already seen the Tories auction off BT, Steel and Public Utilities. Next up will be Royal Mail (Letters), Health, Education and other parts of the public sector that they have not yet got their private sector hands on.
Let’s make no mistake about it. The Tories have learnt from the past and have had 13 years to develop their strategies for pushing forward their “Free Market” dream.
As a union, we also must learn from the past and not be drawn into the errors that some trade unions made during the Thatcher years.
We will have at least 5 years of a Tory Government and it would be folly to even think about our initial response being to march the members up to the top of the hill and leaving them there and suffering a glorified defeat.
We need to develop our response to the attacks that are coming in a far more pragmatic way.
Before we contemplate responding to the attacks through a programme of action, we need to ensure that our members understand the politics behind the attacks, to articulate the arguments against the extension of the “Free Market” and persuade our members that there is an alternative.
The time for action, if it is to be successful, will only come when we have articulated the arguments to the stage where our members, their families and communities and the general public support the need for change.
Les Bayliss understands this and that is why his first task will be to unite all elements that go to make up our union and to ensure that we have an organisation that will support all members, officers and staff and that is why I am supporting him in the election for General Secretary.