The Business Secretary, Vince Cable received a less than welcoming reception at the GMB union conference today when he suggested that legislation covering industrial action may need to be revised.
Mr. Cable’s remarks came as part of a speech given to the union’s conference and was a thinly veiled warning that they should not engage in major and co-ordinated industrial action. Needless to say, his remarks did not go down well, has infuriated union leaders and are likely only to make matters worse rather than better.
Furthermore, Mr. Cable seems to again be illustrating very vividly the fact that the Liberal Democrats have betrayed their principles and are slowly but surely being enveloped into the ideology of David Cameron’s Conservative party.
TheOpinionSite.org and many others are astonished at just how quickly the Liberal Democrats have gone back on policies that they have been advocating for years in order to satisfy the requirements of David Cameron.
It is also hard to comprehend the stupidity of the Liberal Democrats in yet again putting themselves in the firing line whilst the Conservatives hide behind them, protected from any political flak that may come their way. It is almost as if Nick Clegg has taken a decision to commit political suicide and is prepared to face the annihilation of his party’s independence for the sake of staying in power.
Mr. Cable is not stupid. On the contrary, he is one of the most intelligent members of the Liberal Democrat hierarchy and is also distinguished by his ability to speak plainly and free from the restriction of parliamentary niceties. Nevertheless, TheOpinionSite.org believes that he is wrong to try and emulate and support the Thatcherite principles being advocated by David Cameron and his over-privileged Cabinet.
The right to strike is one of the few weapons left to ordinary people who live in a country that is becoming increasingly divided in terms of rich and poor. The UK already has the most restrictive union laws anywhere in the EU and to further threaten ordinary workers in this way is, certainly from the standpoint of Liberal Democrat principles, unforgivable.
Not only that but is also politically inept and also slightly pathetic to try and restrict union activity at a time when ordinary working people have less money in their pockets, increased distrust of politicians generally and a feeling of being dreadfully let down. They are also feeling betrayed as, although the government is nominally a coalition, in practice and day by day it seems to be coming more Conservative in nature.
A mass demonstration is planned for 30 June this year when it is estimated that a possible 750,000 people may march on the streets in protest against public sector cuts. It is unlikely that the government will take any notice of such protestations; certainly they have not done so in the past.
However, it is important that those organisations representing ordinary working people, in other words the unions, are allowed to protest in the way that has been a fundamental right of people in this country for many years.
As prices continue to rise and wages continue to fall and as inflation slowly but surely eats into the incomes of everybody, those at the bottom end of the pay scale are going to feel more and more aggrieved and less and less well served by a government that is not what they thought it would be and seems to be intent on hitting the poor harder than anyone else.
From a purely political point of view, TheOpinionSite.org believes that it is about time that Nick Clegg forced the conservative party into the front line for a change and instead of capitulating with David Cameron’s misguided policies, stood up for his own liberal principles.
To fail to do so, especially at this juncture, can only lead to the destruction of the Liberal Democrats who are already deeply distrusted by their own supporters and are viewed as having betrayed everything for which they previously stood.
As the rich get richer and the poor have less and less, it is indeed to the Liberal Democrats that people will turn – if Nick Clegg can re-establish contact with his voters and with those who are desperately hoping that he and his party will stand up for what is right rather than going along with the 18 other millionaires in David Cameron’s Cabinet.
Whilst Clegg and his colleagues may be making some limited progress, for example in the field of penal reform and justice, such progress is woefully lacking when it comes to dealing with the inequalities between those who have most and those who have virtually nothing. Mr. Clegg therefore needs to seize the opportunity that is being presented to him, gather the necessary strength to stand up to Cameron and start pushing forward truly Liberal Democrat policies in the way in which he promised prior to the last general election.
If it fails to do this, not only will he destroy his own political career but will also destroy his party. No amount of encouragement from the likes of Paddy Ashdown and others will repair the damage that Clegg has already inflicted on his once loyal followers.
It is now up to him to ensure that it is the Conservatives who are on the receiving end of the next kicking and not his own party; to do anything else would be a betrayal of his own principles as well as those of his supporters and of the country.