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Tuesday 29 November 2011

UK Strikes 30th November, 2011

Back In the days... before Margaret Thatcher broke the stranglehold the unions had on the UK, the wildcat strikes, let alone the 'official' strikes gave the country a 'reputation'. The British disease, as it was called throughout Europe, reflected this seemingly suicidal attempt at destroying an economy which was already fragile. It also destroyed the majority of the goodwill that had been gained by the UK's involvement in the Second World War. There was a genuine admiration for the sacrifices made by so many, including all those who made the ultimate sacrifice. There was even a tendency to 'buy British', obviously after favouring their own nation. This lasted until the era of strikes, when Europeans became disaffected with lateness in deliveries and shoddy workmanship; this new Britain did not impress people the other side of the Channel. The collapse of the UK manufacturing industry followed. A country famed for its plethora of car manufacturers rapidly became bereft of any British-owned and UK assembled vehicles.

The UK reinvented itself as a service economy, with financial services being a substantial element. The risks inherent in relying on a service economy are for another day.

Civil servants are going on strike tomorrow in order to make everyone aware that they are not happy. This displeasure is because their extremely generous pensions will require more funding. They will, in general terms, be required to save more of their income into their pension; a concept which is somewhat familiar to the rest of the population.

In this age of transparency, I have attempted to research exactly who voted for this proposed strike. To my astonishment, the information is not exactly easy to extract. I am indebted (in a non-financial sense, that is) to the Socialist Worker for the results of individual ballots. The intention was to establish the percentage of civil servants who had actually voted to strike... shouldn't prove too difficult. In order to establish the figure, all we need is the size of the 'electorate' and the number of people who voted (either for or against).

The members balloted by individual unions include the mentions "estimated, around, nearly and over"... unbelievable. There are also a number of unions where the turnout is not disclosed, so it is impossible to know what proportion of members actually voted for a strike.

Undaunted by the lack of information provided by the unions representing civil servants... perhaps even more surprising, given that they are people one would associate with administration, I made a few assumptions. This basically revolves around the qualified votes, which have been assumed to be accurate. From a statistical point of view, the benefit is very much being given to the "yes" vote (won't bore you with the details here).

If you're sitting comfortably, here is the result: 26.12% of the people balloted voted for a strike tomorrow, or if you prefer very nearly three quarters of those entitled to vote did not vote to go on strike.

So the gun is being held to the head of the UK by 26.12% of civil servants. These people are paid by the tax payer (in whatever guise it might be). They only exist to service the nation, which we have already established is based on services; somewhat flimsy foundations. These people are worried about their pensions; a relatively long-term concept. They would be better advised to concentrate on the job in hand and hope that a pension will be worthwhile having.

The gun is indeed being held to the head but, it is suicide. Who wants to pay more taxes to fund the pensions of people who hold one to ransom? Do you?

The only thing history teaches us is that we don't learn from our mistakes.

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