Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Where Every Night Is 70s Night

Like many people, I was shocked by the news that one and a half million council workers were going on strike today. Chiefly, I was shocked by the revelation that we have one and a half million smoking cessation officers, diversity coordinators and sundry other bottom inspectors.

Strangely, civilisation has managed to survive a day without their input (and without millions suddenly sparking up). Some would say this raises the question of whether the nation needs so many outreach officers. Not at the BBC though. Jeremy Vine featured as its two examples of striking workers, a teaching assistant and a fingerprint technician. Yep, that is exactly representative of the average council worker. Hey, with 1.5 million sucking hard on the public teat, every cop in the country could have his own technician and every teacher their own assistant and we still couldn’t account for half of them.

In so far as they have an actual argument as to why their lifestyle should be subsidised by people with real jobs, it’s that they’re being discriminated against. Don’t laugh – they claim they should be allowed to retire early because people like cops are allowed to. A-huh. So pen pushers who get their paycheque from Her Majesty’s Government should be given privileges denied folks who push pens for an insurance company because policing is a dangerous and violent job. Of course.

The other argument deployed is that Enron-style pensions are written into their contract and employers can’t arbitrarily change the terms of the employment contract, an argument which surely proves beyond all reasonable doubt that these people exist in a world of their own. In the private sector employers screw around with contracts all the time. They also fire people, make massive redundancies and randomly redeploy people around the country. All the government wants to do is make the Turkey Army work to the same age as everyone else. There is no better explanation of why our public services are so decisively screwed than the sight of red-faced bloaters screeching their outrage at the fact they’re being treated as though they worked in the real world.

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