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Chopper’s politics for 2022 December 06

Chopper's Politics

By Christopher ‘Chopper’ Hope,


Boris Johnson won a landslide at the 2019 general election on a pledge that a Tory government “will require that a minimum service operates during transport strikes“.

What has happened since then? A new piece of legislation – Transport Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Bill was introduced to the House of Commons.

It had its first reading in the Commons in October, and then – nothing. This feels like a missed opportunity for Rishi Sunak’s Government.

I have been writing in this newsletter and for The Telegraph since the summer about the prospect of a “winter of discontent” of striking public sector unions.

Yet the political response from the Conservative Government has been oddly lily-livered. The union leaders themselves are presenting wide open goals for ministers.

The RMT’s Mick Lynch admitted today that strike action on the nation’s railways over the Christmas period will cause “real damage” to ordinary people. As I write, the GMB, Unison and Unite union have announced plans to strike on December 21 in coordinated action.

Plenty of us can see that if the Government caved to the demands for double digit pay increases it would just fuel inflation, which is currently planned to fall back to low single digits in a year’s time.

This industrial action should allow ministers to put themselves on the side of people who just want to get to work, pick up the children from school or see their families at Christmas.

Yet ministers like Mark Harper, the Transport Secretary, appear to be hampered in their response by his insistence that he should not be involved in a dispute between employers and employees.

But there is so much more Sunak and his team can do. Why not go on the front foot and speak up for the millions of strivers who just want to get to work?

Why not use Parliamentary time to force through the manifesto pledge on minimum service levels? Why can’t this happen before Christmas?

I wrote last week how the Commons appears to be winding down with MPs knocking off work at 4.54pm last Wednesday, normally a busy day in Parliament.

There are opportunities for political advantage if the Tories want to take them. Instead they seem to be held captive by the fear of what comes next.

It is not just industrial relations – we report today the fury of lorry drivers having to drive slowly behind Just Stop Oil protesters, as they were shepherded along by strolling police officers in the rush hour in London this morning.

“Police need to get a backbone,” one lorry driver told us. The same could apply to our Government.



Published by Guestspeaker

A joint effort of several authors who do find that nobody can keep standing at the side and that “Everyone" must care about what is going on in today’s world. We are a bunch of people who do not mind that somebody has a totally different idea but is willing to share the ideas with others and to be Active and willing to let others understand how "today’s decisions will influence the future”. Therefore we would love to see many others to "Act today".

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