Thursday, 1 December 2011

Machine-gun the strikers

I don't know if it's something in the genetic make-up of people who hold right-wing political views that makes them feel the need to express their unsolicited opinions to whoever has the misfortune of being in their proximity, but when the taxi driver who was picking my wife up from the station went into a rant about the striking public sector workers, and how things would be better off if everything was privatised, she didn't know whether to stop the cab and walk the rest of the way, have a debate with him, or just close her ears and hope the journey would soon be over. Being tired after a long day at work, she chose the latter, and refrained from leaving a tip.
And yesterday in the shop, as the protesters were marching down St. Stephen's Street, customers were chuntering to me that the strikers were a bunch of lazy so-and-sos, and that they ought to get back to work. "If I had my way", said one regular, "I'd machine-gun the lot of them".
"That's a bit extreme, sir", I replied. "I was thinking of going out and joining them".
He gave me a withering look, then stomped out to harangue a Socialist Worker seller.

And then this morning, I read that Jeremy Clarkson  said that the strikers should be shot...

The thing that's struck me in a lot of the media reporting of the strike has been the way that the public sector has been portrayed as somehow unpatriotic. The millions of pounds it has cost the British economy. The fact that their action could lead to acts of terrorism. The kids who should be at school roaming the streets. The disruption - oh God, not the disruption to the smooth running of our lives...well, teachers, nurses and civil servants never caused this sorry financial mess, but they're the ones who're having to carry the can. Without them the country wouldn't run, and they're being repaid by being ripped off.

We're all in this together? I don't think so.

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