Sunday, September 09, 2007

Will Hutton and his big ideas are as dead as the dodo.....

Usually I view Sunday mornings as a relaxing time to do sod all and revelling in this Iuxury I watch the Hollyoaks omnibus while reading The Observer.

And my state of tranquillity and calm was destroyed when I read Will Hutton’s article attacking Bob Crow and the RMT. Metronet workers striked and Hutton writes that Crow is, “part of the problem rather than the solution”.

The problem with Hutton is that he believes we live in some social democratic paradise where all that needs to be done is to educate employers to be nice to the employees.

Eh, no Will, wake up and smell the class struggle. Bob Crow refused to compromise unlike “house trained” bureaucrats like Woodley and Prentis who fall over themselves to back Gordon Brown and wait for the gong in the post. Obviously, for the Hutton, it is the audacity of the workers and the likes of Crow who refuse to capitulate at the end of the day. How dare the workers strike!

Hutton offers the stake holder society as a solution and the way forward. And looking to China for ideas where “Crow-style socialism is dead”. No one but the most swivel-eyed free marketer thinks that “socialism with Chinese characteristics” is the kind of society that anyone wants. The Chinese people who dare to challenge the society in China get sent to prison for long periods of time.

Hutton has rather a cuddly view of capitalism and that all we need to make an equitable society is to remove the activism, militancy and collective muscle of unions. Instead it will all about soft soaped demands like “mentoring” and “coaching”. Unions will be reduced to a personnel function. But how many employers want to develop their employees skills and knowledge? It is usually about how much work they can get out of you for as little pay they can get away with.

The 21st –century worker will be spirited back to the 19th-century. In Hutton’s imagination it is all about partnership but it will be the employer running the show, bending the rules and workers “knowing their place”. Nowhere in Hutton’s piece does he write about exploitation, low pay, gender pay gap and oppression. These are the realities of capitalism. Hutton chooses to look at this through the old rose-tinted glasses.

Actually, it is the opposite, it should be the likes of Bob Crow leading the way rather than silencing the voice of the unions. Brown may be having an easy time at the moment and luxuriating in his bounce. But a winter of discontented striking public sector workers demanding better pay is ever possible. Long live “Old style” trade unionism!

Btw: Thanks to Paddy Garcia for sending me the pic.

Labels: ,