What to do with Clarkson?
Jeremy Clarkson is quite used to being in trouble. In…
By Robert Taylor on the December 5th, 2011
This Wednesday many thousands of public sector workers will take part in a day of strike action to protest against changes to pension arrangements.
Like most people, I have strong opinions on the rights and wrongs of strike action.
But what interests me more is whether these strikes will achieve anything.
In the short term will they make the government back down?
And in the longer term will they make the present and future governments less likely to do things which public sector workers oppose?
One of the keys to all this is public opinion, which so far is evenly divided.
But the strikes are yet to take place and there’s no doubt, when they do, that lots of people will be adversely affected.
Anyone travelling through Heathrow, for example, is expected to face massive delays, and those with school-age children will have to make emergency childcare arrangements or take a day off work.
Many more of us will have our opinions shaped by how it’s all reported in the media.
Will we blame the strikers for being unreasonable or the government for being uncaring?
If this was the 1980s, the unions would be confident of winning public sympathy.
But 30 years on many more people are self-employed and making their own pension arrangements as best they can; still more are working in small businesses where striking to get better terms and conditions is simply impossible; and most of us are resigned to working until 70 (or beyond) before we’ll be able to retire.
I sense the unions have a battle on their hands.
November 28th, 2011