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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  • N_

    And many a time in respect of refugee boats – and not just in the past few years – I’ve heard Tories say that they should be refused entry and aid, even if otherwise the vessels would sink and all the refugees die (which seems to be the possibility that they get most pleasure thinking about).

    Some people may do well to take a refresher in just how vile the Tories are.

  • Republicofscotland

    Only nine percent of Scots believes that “The Vow” has been kept, according to a new poll. The Vow, signed by Prime Minister David Cameron, then Labour leader Ed Miliband and then Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg promised Scots more powers if they voted No in the independence referendum.

    Only nine percent eh… So does that me those who voted no have finally woken up…well some have.

  • Habbabkuk (scourge of the Original Trolls)

    “‘Bob Smith’ earlier – Hasbara calling.”


    If anyone needs further proof of Mary’s paranoia, obsessiveness and sheer bad faith they have only to read Bob Smith’s post and then ask themselves how on earth anyone can call it “hasbara”.

    To most normal people it would read like a legitimate comment on how threads tend to develop on CM – something several other posters have commented on in the last 24 hours or so.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    Osborne mixes in the same modish London *metrosexual and metropolitan elite circles as them. He takes their calls, responds to their emails, and is fully abreast of their current agony.

    As does and is the unspeakable Peston. Sample:

    But Steve Bell got there first:

  • lysias

    Well, not all of what Francis Galton said was false. As is discussed in a book I just read, James Surowiecki’s The Wisdom of Crowds, it was Galton who discovered that, if you average the guesses of a large number of people, that average is likely to be closer to the truth than the guesses of almost all single individuals, however expert. (The quantity being guessed at in Galton’s case was the weight of a cow.)

    I mention this because it is highly relevant to the idea I have been advancing on this forum of the desirability of adopting in some form the ancient Athenian system of choosing representatives and officials by lot from the whole citizen body.

  • N_

    Malthus goes a lot further than that. His main thesis was that there was a natural tendency for poor populations to be reduced again and again by famine, filth and animalistic moral depravity.

    As far as I know, rather than being unexceptional, that was the first time that anyone had said that.

    Agreed that much of what he said certainly does prefigure some of the arguments of environmentalists today.

  • Habbabkuk (scourge of the Original Trolls)

    Mary (15h48)

    “How about this latest from Peston? Planting the seed? Pour encourager les autres?” etc, etc, etc…


    Inaccurate use of “pour encourager les autres”.

    Stick to English.

  • Habbabkuk (scourge of the Original Trolls)

    “And many a time in respect of refugee boats – and not just in the past few years – I’ve heard Tories say that they should be refused entry and aid, even if otherwise the vessels would sink and all the refugees die”


    I’ve heard that said occasionally as well, so you’re not alone.

    I’ve also heard people (not only Conservatives) condemn the greed, murderous callousness and criminal irresponsibility of people traffickers packing far too many refugees into flimsy boats.

    But never on this blog. Not once.

  • Habbabkuk (scourge of the Original Trolls)

    Our Transatlantic friend has “just read” so many books it’s a wonder he has time to eat, sleep and, of course, hawk for the umpteenth time his strange obsession about applying 500BC Athenian “democracy” to the C21 world 🙂

  • Pan

    Ba’al Zevul
    16 Sep, 2015 – 3:59 pm

    “the unspeakable Peston”

    Peston is far too limp to warrant the epithet “unspeakable”.

  • Trowbridge H. Ford

    N_, as I recall, the biggest factor in repealing the Corn Laws in 1846 was the complaint of English rate payers, especially in Liverpool, objecting to having to give support to the starving Irish who were coming across the Irish Channel in droves.

  • lysias

    The Resident Invigilator’s apparent surprise at how many books I read implies, I suppose, the extent of his reading.

    No wonder his postings reflect to such an extent the received opinion among our rulers.

  • Pan

    16 Sep, 2015 – 4:03 pm

    “…the idea I have been advancing on this forum of the desirability of adopting in some form the ancient Athenian system of choosing representatives and officials by lot from the whole citizen body.”

    Sounds like my proposition of a “People’s Commission” which was met with derision by some (actually, only one).


  • N_

    @Lysias – I didn’t know it was Galton who discovered that. Mathematician Marcus du Sautoy did a remarkable demonstration of it, where people had to guess the number of sweets in a jar.

    Galton’s rubbish about heredity was probably another case of someone who knows a lot in one field gaining admiration for what he says in another, even if it’s empty or wrongheaded pap.

    Hello the high tables at Oxford and Cambridge (wink)!

    (I think those two cities were the only two non-LibDem areas in Britain where there was a majority in favour of the LibDem’s proposal on electoral reform. Roughly speaking, the proposal was backed by LibDems, because it was in their rational interest, and by dons at Oxford and Cambridge, because they thought backing it was a sign of being clever. Hilarious!)

    There’s no reason that someone who does interesting stuff in mathematics etc. should have views about society that are any more profound than the views of a person chosen at random.

    Today we seem plagued with computer programmers who seem to think they know it all about society too – witness some of the attitudes among those who dominate Wikipedia, and the functionalist way they look at things, and the whole discourse about “emergent structure” (a rebrand of sociobiology?)

    Galton also introduced the sly opposition “nature and nurture”, an application of a rhetorical device that was known in ancient Greece, the name of which for the moment escapes me.

  • lysias

    N_, I think you may have been thinking of this:



    Philosophical use [of the word “physis”, nature] begins very early in pre-Socratic writings, where the meanings fit well with current senses of the English word nature.[3][4] In the Sophist tradition, the term stood in opposition to nomos (νόμος), “law” or “custom”, in the debate on which parts of human existence are natural, and which are due to convention.[5] This is the basis of today’s classic biological debate of “nature vs. nurture”. nomos would refer to “nurture”, and physis would correlate to “nature”. The Greeks believed “physis” and “nomos” correlated to many aspects of science and philosophy, such as the gender debate.

  • N_

    @Lysias – You’d probably get on with a friend of mine who holds a hereditary title but who is in favour of replacing the House of Lords with an assembly of individuals chosen at random (which I agree would be a great improvement).

  • N_

    @Lysias – No, what I’m thinking of is a rhetorical device where you set up an opposition between two terms that sound similar, which can be – and in the case of “nature” and “nurture”, has been – very powerful.

  • Pan


    “@Lysias – No, what I’m thinking of is a rhetorical device where you set up an opposition between two terms that sound similar, which can be – and in the case of “nature” and “nurture”, has been – very powerful.”

    Thanks for elaborating. I was puzzled as to why you used the term “sly”!

  • N_

    @Lysias – Found it! It’s agnominatio.

    Other English-language examples include “ballot/bullet” (by Malcolm X) and “mad/bad”.

  • Republicofscotland

    David Cameron has told Jeremy Corbyn’s shadow chancellor John McDonnell that he should be “ashamed” of himself for comments he made praising members of the IRA for their role in the armed struggle.

    The Prime Minister left out personal attacks from his first head-to-head with the new Labour leader, saving it for his right-hand man Mr McDonnell – a controversial choice to shadow George Osborne.

    Referring to Mr McDonnell’s remarks in 2003, when he said it was “about time we started honouring those people involved in the armed struggle” in Northern Ireland and praised the “bravery of the IRA and people like Bobby Sands”, the DUP’s Westminster leader Nigel Dodds asked whether the Mr Cameron would “join with all of us… in denouncing that sentiment”.

    It would fit David Cameron better if he apologised for the hundreds of years that Westminster pillaged and taxed Ireland, which resulted in many deaths and emigrations.

    Yes the IRA killed, but so did the British army, I think I’m going to like Mr McDonnell.–david-cameron-attacks-shadow-chancellor-10503704.html

  • John Spencer-Davis

    16/09/2015 4:39pm

    “Physis” is also a term used in psychoanalysis.

    Definition: “The growth force of nature, which makes organisms evolve into higher forms, embryos develop into adults, sick people get better, and healthy people strive to attain their ideals.”

    (Eric Berne, A Layman’s Guide to Psychiatry and Psychoanalysis, Penguin Books 1969).

    It pretty well corresponds to the “actualising tendency” as defined by Carl Rogers.

    Kind regards,


  • lysias

    N_, Would your titled friend happen by any chance to be either Anthony Barnett or Peter Carty, the two authors of The Athenian Option: Radical Reform for the House of Lords (Sortition and Public Policy)?

  • John Goss


    Thank you for your detailed analysis of Malthus’s Essay on the Principle of Population which was informative. As to Francis Galton, he was son of Samuel Tertius and grandson of Erasmus Darwin, a luminary round these parts, and cousin to Charles Darwin. As to the tome you mention Hereditary Genius the title does sound pretentious. I haven’t read it – not my period. However he did discover fingerprinting as a unique means of identification, and did some sterling work on colour-blindness (as did John Dalton before him).

    Galton’s grandfather Samuel was, like Erasmus Darwin, Matthew Boulton, Josiah Wedgwood, John Wilkinson and others a member of the Lunar Society which discussed science as an art state in the 18th century (my period). The Galtons were a Birmingham Quaker family who made much of their vast wealth from arms manufacture (nothing changes). This caused a stir at the Meeting House in 1795 and Galton was not allowed to worship because he was selling arms to the slave traders. They must have missed his contributions since they let him back in. His defence, like other arms traders, was it is a lucrative business and if he did not manufacture and sell them someone else would.

    English novelist Robert Bage almost certainly takes a dig at him in Fidel’s Story from Man as he is when he informs that Fidel was sold into slavery for a “Birmingham musket” (A Radical Novelist in Eighteenth Century England: Robert Bage on Poverty, Slavery and Women p 116). Of course the genius gene does not exist and although these luminaries were educated and largely considerate people the reasom they were in the upper echelons of society and science was largely down to their wealth, as you say, contacts and education.

  • Mary

    The phrase ‘pour encourager les autres’ was used in a strictly literal sense, (encourage the others) and not in its historical context as our learned contributor/know all on a foreign shore implied. He cannot resist making pointless interjections.

  • Republicofscotland

    As Labour seems to be the relevant topic on this thread here’s an oldie but goodie, as John McTernan (the man who sank Labour in Scotland and Australia) takes on George Galloway over Tony Blair.

    Your referee for the five minute no holds barred bout is the slightly (McTernan biased) Jon Snow

    Ding ding…seconds out.

  • Habbabkuk (scourge of the Original Trolls)


    In that case you should perhaps have said it in English so as to make it clear you were using it in a literal sense?

  • Habbabkuk (scourge of the Original Trolls)

    “The Resident Invigilator’s apparent surprise at how many books I read implies, I suppose, the extent of his reading.”


    If I may take issue with an Oxford Greatsman (college still most modestly un-mentioned) I shall redraft the above as follows:

    “The Resident Invigilator’s apparent surprise at how many books I read reveals, I suppose, the extent of his disbelief.”


    And now, away with you – no more attention from me today!

  • Rehmat

    “proud British-born Muslim”!! I just fell from my chair laughing.

    Sajid Javid who proudly claims himself to be Zionist – and non-believer of any religion, said that he feel more secure in Israel after United Kingdom than his parents’ country Pakistan.

    Javid is married to an Orthodox Christian woman who is raising their children as Christians.

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