The Trade Union Bill 309

A government which claims the right to kill its own citizens with no judicial process on the basis of the vote of 24.4% of the qualified electorate, legislates that workers cannot strike without the support of 40% of their qualified electorate because strikes can inconvenience people. Not as inconvenient as being sliced to pulp by flying metal, I should have thought.

David Davis, a decent Tory, said that some of the provisions of the Trade Union bill are Francoist, and he was not exaggerating. You can read the dispassionate official analysis of the bill by Parliament staff here. One of least publicised yet appalling aspects of the bill is the arbitrary power given to an anti-strike witchfinder, the Certification Officer. He is specifically given the powers of the High Court to compel individuals to give evidence or produce documents, and to make arbitrary judgements.

That extreme authoritarian stance is reflected throughout the bill. It is more publicised that notice must be given of picketing, with names reported to the police and identifying armbands worn, with letters of authority from the union to be there which the Bill states must be produced not only to the Police but to anybody who asks on request. This gives employers a whole new avenue of harassment of strikers.

The provision that 14 days notice must be given of any strike is obviously designed to reduce the effectiveness of strike action. The right to bring in agency staff to replace agency workers is not in the Bill, but the parliamentary staff analysis indicates it is intended to bring that in under secondary legislation – power delegated to the Secretary of State. That obviously is designed to combine with the 14 day notice to make strikes ineffective. The regulation of what individuals say about the industrial dispute on social media is so repressive as to verge on the incredible.

It is obvious the Tory government serve the agenda of corporatism, pure and simple. But it is perhaps surprising they are so entirely open about it. If you do not have the chance to withdraw your Labour, you are a slave. In the days of real slavery in Jamaica, foremen or gangmasters were generally slaves themselves (as opposed to the southern United States where they were generally poor whites). Very often the black gangmasters were extremely brutal to the slaves under them, imparting floggings with gusto to try to cement themselves in the favour of their white masters.

That is the function that token Muslim Sajid Javid plays in this Conservative government, flogging the workers with more gusto than his Old Etonian masters would dare to do. Plus they wouldn’t want to get blood on their trousers. Javid is a most enthusiastic Uncle Tom determined to tick all the establishment boxes. He certified the Trade Union Bill as compatible with the European Convention on Human Rights, when it is plainly in contravention of Article 11. But his most spectacular effort to fit in with his Tory masters came at the Conservative Friends of Israel where ignoring completely the terrible suffering, humiliation and repression of the Palestinian people, he declared

“Mr Javid, who described himself as a “proud British-born Muslim”, announced that if he had to leave Britain to live in the Middle East, then he would choose Israel as home. Only there, he said, would his children feel the “warm embrace of freedom and liberty”. For him, only Israel shared the democratic values of the UK.”

Sajid Javid promotes measures rightly called Francoist because he is a person it is perfectly reasonable to call a fascist.

Sajid Javid Hankers After "Israel's Warm Embrace"

Sajid Javid Hankers After “Israel’s Warm Embrace”

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309 thoughts on “The Trade Union Bill

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  • Mary

    RoS Your link to Patel on Neil’s Daily Politics coincides with a link to that programme I just came across.

    This week’s draconian Tory legislation continues with the plan to increase the number of academies, thus dismantling the existing local authority controlled education system.

    The minister putting this bill forward is Nick Gibb. His brother Robbie is a BBC editor of the programme. Nick Gibb’s partner is the CEO of Populus.

    ‘He is the brother of Robbie Gibb, a former PR consultant who is now editor of the BBC’s political programmes, The Daily Politics and (in an executive capacity) This Week.

    In May 2015, Gibb came out as gay and announced his engagement to Michael Simmonds, the chief executive of the Populus polling organisation. They have been together for 29 years and are to marry later in 2015.’ Wikipedia

    Gibb is another one of the 80% of Conservative MPs who are said to be members of CFoI.

    6. Overseas visits
    •20-25 July 2002, to Israel as a guest of the Israeli Government and Conservative Friends of Israel. (Registered 21 August 2002)

    Israel and America are listed as countries of interest to him in his Parliamentary biography.

    He was commended in the JC for keeping Holocaust education in the curriculum. Is there any compulsion in the education system to teach children about the Occupation and al Naqba?

  • Mary

    Another BBC connection. This is Michael Simmonds, Nick Gibbs’ partner.

    ‘Michael set up Populus with Andrew Cooper in 2003. He is responsible for the management of the company and its research team as well as for developing the growth of the business.

    Michael is a graduate of the University of Leeds. After a spell working for a leading think tank, he served as special adviser to three cabinet ministers and as Deputy Director of Research for The Conservative Party. Between these political posts, he worked at the BBC’s Political Research Unit. Following the 1997 General Election, he was Director of Membership and Marketing for The Conservative Party with responsibility for introducing a national membership database.

    Michael has led projects for a wide range of clients including Barclays, PepsiCo and the Football League.’

    The Populus co-founder

    ‘Andrew Cooper (Lord Cooper of Windrush) recently returned to Populus after more than two years leave of absence serving as the Prime Minister’s Director of Strategy in Downing Street.

    He has over 20 years of experience applying the insights of sophisticated research to strategy, helping a wide range of major political and corporate clients in understanding, managing and enhancing their reputation among the audiences that matter to them.

    A graduate of the London School of Economics, his commentary on public opinion and strategy has been published in various books, newspapers & magazines and he is a visiting lecturer at the LSE.’

    HoL register of interests

    Category 1: Directorships
    Director, Populus Limited (research and strategy consultancy); in his role as a Director of Populus Limited the Member has the following personal clients: Asda, BT, RBS Group, Bank of England

    Category 4: Shareholdings (b)
    Populus Limited (research and strategy consultancy)

  • N_

    That was the first PMQ I’ve watched for decades, and it suggests that Jeremy Corbyn’s stint as the leader of her majesty’s loyal opposition could be all about representing ordinary people’s genuine concerns and grievances. “About time”, we can all say. Except when Dennis Skinner is speaking, you rarely hear any of those in the Commons.

    But it could be that he’ll act as if he’s continually presenting petitions. This is what I’m worried about: could it be that the reason many Tories have welcomed Corbyn isn’t because he’s “unelectable” (he isn’t – that’s flaming obvious), but because he will help keep opposition parliamentary, rather than extra-parliamentary, for all the years between now and 2020? And in those years, we could easily see not just a major war with Russia, but also a massive financial and economic collapse that could dwarf Lehman’s. Why the anti-strike legislation unless a large-scale attack on employed workers is envisaged?

    It’s interesting that Tory journalist Toby Young sneers at Corbyn precisely for representing the concerns of ordinary people, in the hallowed chamber of the Commons. Young, whose father contributed so much to the Labour Party’s manifesto in 1945, should be ashamed of himself.

    Why am I thinking of the Duke of Wellington’s comment, when the franchise was expanded, that he’d never seen so many “bad hats”?

    David Cameron is in a position where he can say nothing, other than to refer to the possibility of economic failure and, implicitly or explicitly, defend “austerity”, i.e. cuts to living standards, because of course the rich must never ever get less rich. That’s what the line about needing a “strong economy” is all about – it’s cheerleading a further redistribution of wealth from the poor to the rich. “We can’t do any of those nice social things if we haven’t got a strong economy” means little more than “work harder for lower wages and worse conditions, and don’t whinge if you’re sick or get made unemployed”.

    Of course I welcome Jeremy Corbyn’s election as Labour leader.

    If Corbyn as prime minister takes Britain out of NATO, he will surpass even Clement Attlee, who took Britain in.

    Before 2020 there’s going to be real trouble.

  • bevin

    Malthus was the essential ideologist of Britain of Hard Times, the brain behind the Potato Famine and the apologist for the New Poor Law of 1834.
    N is absolutely right about the part he played in justifying the class hatred of the poor and working class which, though now Tory, is in origin Whig and Liberal- the Tories actually fought the Poor Law and some of them, the likes of Sadler and Oastler, were leaders in the popular resistance.

    This is one of Cobbett’s articles on Malthus. The first one in the Political Register, published in about 1805, was actually written by, the young freelancer, William Hazlitt. But this is the real thing:

  • Fwlster

    KOWN @ 75 min to closing time last night:

    I think the protocol regarding off topic comments is fairly clear. When Craig puts up a new post it is simply good manners to stick to the topic. But after a day or so, when it has run its natural course, people start drifting off to other subjects while they wait for a new post. I don’t have a problem with that, I don’t take it too seriously. This place is more like a saloon bar, as far as I can see, where you meet the same old familiar faces. And just like a bricks-and-mortar saloon bar there are those who always bang on about the same thing and others who have new and interesting things to say. No one is forced to stay, or obliged to drop in. Another way it resembles a saloon bar is, every night we solve all the world’s problems 🙂


    Well said I cldn’t agree more. I remember a bar where there was a customer who used to just howl from time to time. I’ll be him.

  • lysias

    The Tory government of Sir Robert Peel tried to ameliorate the Irish Potato Famine with government relief measures as long as it was in power. Unfortunately, Peel was forced to resign over the Corn Law issue and was replaced by the Liberal/Whig government of Lord John Russell, which ended government relief measures in Ireland. The result was the genocidal dimensions that the famine then took on

  • Ishmael

    It’s doesn’t shock me Craig finds such social engineering talk un-remarkable, suspect it’s just inbuilt ruling class attitude, just waiting for the remarkable ideas to come along no doubt. By the well read…Who haven’t ever done much to help other than document and play with ideas, except when the power exists to carry them out, they often try, utopia. .

    Aside from the moral implications, the whole population argument is fatalistic and assumes people are always some kind of draw on nature and can’t increase natures circumstance to thrive rather than nurture and sustain, (often done as a reward in itself)…No wonder the upper class see it like that as that’s what they do, exploit destroy ect…they are separate in there minds, and from there own good impulses that body’s contain naturally but gets perverted…abandoned for high flung ideas with which to distinguish themselves..And they sure do that…

    The tendency of oppressed populations to just “dance-and-drink-and-screw” that has many negative aspects is the result of the gross disparity in the distribution wealth, education and resources, and empowerment over ones own destiny. That won’t improve with structures that allow this domination, the possibility of social engineering etc to exist…

    So stuck in there heads, in concepts of class and many notions unkown to themselves, they hold on for dear life because they would not be accepted average society in the way they act. Among eathother they are ‘unremarkable’….And people say it’s the cognitive dissonance of the prols that’s an issue, no, it’s the debasement of human nature by the abusers of there fellow man. Fellow men and women with far more progressive attitudes and civilized behavior than the debased and degraded who feel it a duty or responsibility to use great ‘power’, always the cause of most problems, wars death killing etc. It’s a service they provide so why not encourage this ‘tendency’, sick and twisted heads.

    They turn the would on it’s head…the fish rots from the head down. ps

    We all know what slavery is. “Tis to be a slave in soul And to hold no strong control Over your own wills, but be All that others make of ye.”

  • harry law

    Javid would feel the “warm embrace of freedom and liberty”. For him, only Israel shared the democratic values of the UK.” As a non Jew he and his children would be discriminated against in every walk of life as Ben White details in his book, ‘Palestinians in Israel: Segregation, Discrimination and Democracy’,Palestinians are treated as second-class citizens in every area of life (and recall that for almost two decades after Israel’s creation, they were subjected to military law). While non Jews are discriminated in Israel proper, the situation in occupied Palestine is Apartheid on steroids. South African politicians familiar with Apartheid in their country say the situation is far worse in the occupied Palestine Territories than it ever was in South Africa, at least the SA military never used F16 fighter bombers against the Bantustans. Javid is an ignorant fool.

  • glenn

    N_ : “But it could be that he’ll act as if he’s continually presenting petitions. This is what I’m worried about: could it be that the reason many Tories have welcomed Corbyn isn’t because he’s “unelectable” (he isn’t – that’s flaming obvious), but because he will help keep opposition parliamentary, rather than extra-parliamentary, for all the years between now and 2020?

    I was initially concerned that the PMQ performance was a bit weak. But after thinking about it, it does appear rather clever. Cameron could have waved away an attack from any politician on (for instance) the housing problems in this country, by telling them this is what the Free Market is all about, and clearly his opponent doesn’t understand how business works, and so on and so forth.

    But Corbyn was asking a question that thousands of people had written about as their primary concern. Cameron cannot scoff at or dismiss these citizens in that manner (at least, not in public). Corbyn has framed the debate as one between the people and the Tories/ Establishment, with himself representing the people.

    The longer he keeps this up, and the longer the whore-media (no offence to sex workers) hoot, snicker and bloviate about Corbyn’s tie, poppy, and other trivial crap, the more clear that distinction will be. The Tories (both red and blue), along with their good friends in the mainstream media, are making the Establishment’s case. Corbyn is making the case for the rest of us.

  • fedup

    I did understand it, didn’t I?

    Yes you did John Goss, and no, you are not weird.

    BTW I read you links, however i find the sale of polonium a weak angle, who was the customer? What quantity?

    what do you think?

  • Anon1

    The electorate is going to look at Corbyn and think, here is a man who won’t sing his own country’s national anthem.

    He hasn’t a hope.

  • glenn

    Anon1 bleats about the national anthem. But for the likes of Anon1, every form of subservience to the Establishment is followed unquestioningly – crack the whip and the dog jumps – Good German that he is.

  • MJ

    “The electorate is going to look at Corbyn and think, here is a man who won’t sing his own country’s national anthem”

    Only if they’re signed-up members of the Village Idiots Society. Loads of patriotic Brits won’t sing that stupid ditty because they’re atheistics and republicans. Let’s have a national song that sensible people can sing too. I nominate “Jerusalem”.

  • Republicofscotland

    “The electorate is going to look at Corbyn and think, here is a man who won’t sing his own country’s national anthem.

    He hasn’t a hope.”

    Oh I don’t know, I rather like the idea of a Labour leader not singing God Save the Queen, maybe it will catch on.

    Nor kowtowing to the media’s every whim.

  • twoleftfeet

    Spot on post at 6-59 pm Glenn. It’s amusing that anon1 gives so much significance to a poxy national anthem. It’s only the media (when it’s convenient) and boozed up football supporters who could give a shit, isn’t it? Oh, and anon1.

  • Alcyone

    Bob Smith
    15 Sep, 2015 – 11:15 pm
    “Can anyone tell me what th trick is when readings this blog? It starts off with a serious or humorous post by Craig and is followed for a short while by serious and well thought out comments. It then descends into the usual suspects, no matter what the subject of the post, swapping insults and conspiracy theories, usually about Israel and Jewish people or history. It then becomes extremely difficult to find the posts relevant to the original subject. It’s a great pity and I wish there was a way of screening out these off topic comments.”

    I have on several occasions suggested that there be an ongoing, separate ‘general’ thread for off-topic contributions and conversations.

    Problem is this proposed solution is too simple to introduce. It appears there is no will for it. Perhaps if he sees that this would also make the Mods’ job infinitely easier, Craig might come around to it. Until then, it will remain and idea before its time.

  • Anon1

    It’s not about what I think or what you think about it, Glenn. What matters is what the electorate thinks and it won’t elect a man who refuses to sing his own country’s national anthem. If you want Corbyn to succeed then this sn’t the way to go about it. What does he hope to achieve by it? It’s not going to appeal to voters who aren’t already Corbynistas – you have to accept that a great many people hold these things to be important and play along with them to a certain degree.

    That’s observational, Glenn. You could even call it helpful. But on present form I’d be surprised if Jeremy makes it to Christmas, astonished if he is still leader in 2020.

  • John Spencer-Davis

    16/09/2015 7:58pm

    The whole idea of a national anthem is ridiculous in any case. Why should I (or anyone else) feel obliged to sing a song about a country just because I happened to be born in it? I had no say in the matter. Nonsense.

    The anthem’s not even about the country anyway. It’s about the Queen and God. Neither of which Corbyn cares about, I understand. It’s the same old same old. He didn’t sing, so he’s disrespectful. If he had sung, he’d have been called a hypocrite. He can’t win. I think he was extraordinarily courageous not to sing, in the circumstances he was in. Took a lot of guts to do that.

    Eric Frank Russell had it right (Dreadful Sanctuary, 1953):

    “Do you consider it incumbent upon you – in fact, imperative – to adopt a special attitude whenever a collection of brass instruments produce sonic vibrations in a certain sequence? What, you wouldn’t do anything so ridiculous? Fifty million Frenchmen do it every time the band plays the “Marseillaise” – and fifty million Frenchmen can’t be wrong, can they, sonny boy? Would you hold your right foot in your left hand every time you heard “Skiddin’ With My Shiver-Kid” if a hundred million others did it too, and if they expected you to follow suit?

    You would not?

    You’re a liar!”

    Kind regards,


  • Jon

    One of the Right-wing phenomena I’ve noticed a lot recently is pundits making assertions that they want to be true. For example, “Corbyn’s refusal to sing the national anthem will make him hugely unpopular with the electorate” is an unproven theory whatever one’s personal politics, but shouting it loudly and long enough might actually make it true.

    Of course, pundits here are welcome to their opinions, and the free press can print mostly whatever they like. But it’s important to understand this as a propagandistic strategy: it’s an opinion that attempts to persuade other people of its validity, and thus we’ll never know if independently the British public genuinely are offended that the leader of the opposition is a republican.

    For what it’s worth, I think Corbyn was right not to sing the national anthem. Demanding that he does so is like insisting a vegetarian eat a hamburger out of politeness.

  • Mary

    The last night of the Proms is pure jingoism. I never watch it now. From 2003 onwards when we have been killing and maiming men, women and children predominantly with brown skins in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya to name but three countries, it was nauseating to see and hear the audiences singing Land of Hope and Glory and Jerusalem whilst waving their little Union flags. Enough to make one weep.

  • glenn

    Thanks, TwoLeftFeet.

    Jon: I think it’s a bit more sinister than you suggest. It’s not mere “politeness” – the suggestion is implicit that if you fail to Wear The Poppy (and for godsake make sure it’s a red one), fail to Sing The Anthem, and soon, Salute The Flag – then you must be one of those America– Britain- hating commies who’s in love with terrorists and wants us all to be murdered in our beds.

    What’s next, a Union Jack lapel badge, which is absolutely obligatory when in public at all times by US politicians / media pundits, lest they be accused of not loving Amerika enough?

    Genuine fascists, like Anon1, would have us all saluting the flag each morning, or be forced to explain ourselves to some star chamber investigating un-British activities.

    This creeping nationalism as religion is yet another import from Amerika that we absolutely do not need.

  • fedup

    This creeping nationalism as religion is yet another import from Amerika that we absolutely do not need.

    Add to it the militarism and the promotion of martial “spirit” every other day there is an anniversary of some war or two week past anniversary of VE day, then there is three week past anniversary of VJ day not fore=getting the Hitler’s birthday that is invariably celebrated by revisiting the “rivers of blood” speech of Powell. Then there is the Falklands, battle of omdurman, …………

    The fucking media are debating, will Corby wear a white poppy or red poppy, and why did he not sing the anthem, and ,……. meanwhile back at the ranch the economy is fucked and people are hungry and roads are full of potholes ………

    What will be the headlines tomorrow? Corby did not sing!!! If we the people wanted a singer, we would be watching/voting in the fucking xfactor, you media wankers! We would not be watching an old bearded chap standing there alongside the rest of the pofaced wrinkly brigade lipping away!!!

  • glenn

    Well said, Fedup. Maybe it’s time to remind ourselves that a lot of our cities don’t look an awful lot better than they did after the Germans had finished with them. Laandaan may look fine, saturated with skyscrapers and billionaires using the UK as their tax-haven, but a lot of the rest of the country is looking distinctly shabby – almost as if they’d been ravaged by post-war austerity.

    And also as you say, it’s always going to be the anniversary of some momentous event, marked by a number of years divisible by 5 – particularly 10, and most especially 25. That’s what the media section of the Establishment is concerned with, thinking the rest of us are breathlessly following along, and troubled only by the fact that someone coughed or shuffled their feet when they were supposed to be demonstrating utter servility to the Crown, Flag, National Anthem or any other Holy relic.

  • Jives


    Yer battering on about the national anthem and Corbyn riffs mate but where exactly in our famously unwritten constitution does it mention we ought be flag waving monarchists eh?

    Are you suggesting being anti-monarchist is an adjunct of being a swivel eyed loon that supports Turrrr$m??

    Very poor exegesis Anon1….really shallow point mate tbh…

  • Ba'al Zevul

    Jives – I think you need to appreciate what a threat to all we hold dear Mr Corbyn is. Yesterday the R4 News headlined on the terrifying revelation that he had actually worn a yellow and brown tie at PMQ’s. A clear indication that he is in league with both China (and/or N.Korea) as well as ISIS. We must heed Anon1 and his patriotic colleagues: Corbyn will destroy our bankers’ way of life and laugh maniacally as he does so.

    And I bet you didn’t know he once had a fluffy bunny which disappeared in *mysterious circumstances*? We all know what that means.

  • Jon

    Glenn, interesting, thanks.

    Another phenomenon I’ve noticed – I mentioned it recently hereabouts – is that people to the Right in the Labour party may now wish to sabotage Corbyn because they are worried his politics will do a better job (e.g. of ameliorating poverty) and show Blairism as a failure in this regard.

    I have no reason to defend such saboteurs but I wonder if this process is entirely subconscious – “our faction failed in the Labour movement so we’ll make sure yours does too”.

    There is one Lab MP doing the rounds on the telly at the moment, John Mann, and he seems to me to exemplify this trend. He is clearly not happy with his new party leader, and is very willing to say so.

  • doug scorgie

    Harry law
    16 Sep, 2015 – 6:52 pm

    “Javid would feel the “warm embrace of freedom and liberty”. For him, only Israel shared the democratic values of the UK.” As a non Jew he and his children would be discriminated against in every walk of life…”

    His wife and children might not be happy in Israel:

    “Christians in Jerusalem have attacked what they say is the increasingly common phenomenon of ultra-orthodox Jews spitting on them.”

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