Monday, 19 October 2015

On the steelmens' job losses

Fact: the steelmens' trade union, Community, has an assistant general secretary who is a Scottish Labour activist.

Fact: the steelmens' trade union urged its members to support a No vote in the independence referendum with a poster campaign of "don't put your jobs at risk with a Yes vote".

Fact: the steelworks are now closing down. 

The steelmens' union - with its Scottish Labour-linked leadership - terrorised its members into voting No with the threat that a Yes vote would cost them their jobs, and the implied associated promise that they would be safe with a No vote. Those jobs are now gone, after a No vote. 

It's clear that neither Community, nor Scottish Labour, gave a damn about the workers. They were concerned with a No vote at any and all cost.

Would a Yes vote have saved the steelworks? In truth, most probably not. The issue is capitalism: the steelworks are owned by an Indian-based multinational, motivated by profit rather than the best use of Scotland's resources for the benefit of Scotland's people. Only with nationalisation of all of Scotland's industries can we exploit our natural resources for the common weal. 

But there is this. The No vote didn't just deliver a Scotland within the United Kingdom. It delivered a Scotland governed by the Conservative party, with only one MP here. A Conservative party which has, therefore, no electoral advantage at all in saving steelworks jobs in Scotland. The realpolitik is this: it is far more politically advantageous for the British to shift as many jobs from Scotland as possible. One can see this in their incentive to move the Young's fish-processing plant out of Scotland to northern England. 

There are potential votes for the Conservative party in England that do not exist in Scotland. 

A No vote didn't cause the job losses in the steelworks. But what it does mean is that those men are condemned to take their chances with the Tory welfare state. 

A No vote means that those men will be forced into unpaid menial labour to receive unemployment social security. The result of such unpaid labour is that those who otherwise would have worked at those jobs will not be able to. They, too, will be thrown onto the scrapheap in Tory Britain. 

A No vote means that young people made redundant from these job losses will not be entitled to Housing Benefit. They may well be made homeless.

A Yes vote wouldn't necessarily have saved these jobs. But the Yes campaign never claimed it would. The No campaign did imply that a No vote would save those jobs. This has been demonstrably false. 

The trade union, infested by Scottish Labour supporters, backed those workers being reliant on a Tory social security system in the event of their jobs being lost. 

That is what they campaigned for. 

That is what they wanted. 

That is what they got. 

They terrorised their members into voting No on the basis that they would lose their jobs with a Yes vote. They have now lost their jobs - and the consequence of a No vote is that those who have lost their jobs will fall into a safety net which treats them as shirkers and scroungers, which pays them less than £80 a week in social solidarity payments, which bans many of them from Housing Benefit.

To be afflicted with joblessness is an horrible situation. To be treated as a scrounger when one seeks only to get back from the system what one put in is worse.

The Community union and Scottish Labour got what they wanted. 

It's what we warned about. 

They should hang their heads in shame. 


  1. You can bet your M & S knickers that these selfsame full time activists and "Officials" will not be declared redundant and the Community will still exist as a Zombie union supported from subs from TUC, investments and pension funds.

    Either that or they will go into TUC positions and help fek up another vulnerable union.

  2. The trade union leadership have betrayed their Scottish membership simple as that Hold your heads in shame a no vote has left all members at the mercy of yet another Tory government that didn't have to happen in Scotland. Thanks fools

  3. Hi Tommy, I have been wondering if you are OK. I have always appreciated your amazingly well-informed blog, and have missed it in recent weeks.

  4. I forgot that when there is a shortage of an opportunity for a carnage, there is always fox hunting to keep the blood up.