Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Down the Tubes

I am so pleased that I no longer commute via the London Underground. I used to drive to Brixton and take the 'tube' from there, but no more!

Therefore I am unaffected by the strikes that are now afflicting that otherwise generally quite good facility. Okay, it has never been perfect, but it has tended to be good on the whole and certainly better than the equivalents in a number of other cities around the world.

Long ago, when I were but a lad, strikes were usually for genuine reasons (at least as far as I could tell), and then they became mainly political. This seems to have been something that really came into its own during the 1960s and (in some sectors) the 1970s, and has been almost entirely that way ever since, especially in the public sector where near-enough all strikes are in reality political.

Yes, there are pretences that they are being called for other reasons; but these all tend to follow the same pattern in any particular period, giving away the vital clue that the excuse given is just that - an excuse that has been found to work. Iain Dale has this well sussed; and it's fairly obvious anyway!

Of course, the tube strike fits in very neatly with Ken Livingstone's recently-launched bid to be re-elected as London's Mayor, which is why his tweets now come from "Ken4London", such as this anti-Boris tweet that clearly relates to the current wave of tube worker strikes. That message becomes even clearer in this tweet-linked "Livingstone Team" blog-post.

It's all of a piece, carefully orchestrated to facilitate the desired message. Of course, the Red Ken/Union connection is easy enough to see, as tweeted from Tory Press HQ, so we can take all of that with a suitably large pinch of salt:
"Thought for the day: Ken Livingstone's campaign offices are based in the HQ of tube striking union the TSSA "
The equally Communistic Greens are tweeting (and otherwise communicating) a similar view to Livingstone, one Jenny Jones calling Boris a "rubbish mayor" via a hashtag, even though he has been vastly better than his predecessor.

Perhaps the word of a regular user who also happens to be a Tory might usefully sum it all up, if one spots the underlying message in this Tweet from one Amy Jackson (no, I'd never heard of her either):
"I could rant about how selfish lazy idiotic ridiculous striking tube workers are, but what's the point? I'd only have to do it all again next week."
Well, I'll give the lady her due: that is the kind of sentiment that will ring most true with the millions of regular commuting users of the London Underground service. What can they do? It'll only keep on happening, week in and week out, because in reality it is an anti-Boris pro-Ken political programme intended to get the Unions' Trotskyite man back into City Hall as Mayor.

This is only the start of a two-year campaign, and it will get worse (and far more political, though I expect that only the more astute will spot this) from now on, no doubt culminating in a staged really severe disruption of public services prior to the London Olympics and a personal "intervention" by Red Ken that magically solves it all, making him the hero of the Olympics' salvation.

Remember: you read it here first...

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