This year saw a wide range of fringe meetings at the TUC conference and it was only possible to attend a few of them.
If you spit alone you can’t do nothing but together you can drown the bastards
Che Guevara’s daughter, Aleida, 52, was the star attraction at a rum fueled fringe on Monday evening. Che Guevara was an Argentine Marxist revolutionary who made history when he joined Fidel Castro’s Cuban Revolution in the 1950’s. Guevara died in Boliva in 1967 aged 39.
I indeed bought a Che Guevara T-shirt for my daughter remembering how cool her Mum looked in one in 1980. This underlined the problem with the TUC conference and the wider Union movement; it’s stuck in the past.
I last attended a union conference in1977. The slogans and merchandise were the same now as then. It was like walking into a time capsule. There was a furore over a T-Shirt insulting Lady Thatcher, Tory prime minister 1979-90. But shouldn’t they be more concerned with current prime minister David Cameron? Or Labour’s last one Gordon Brown who didn’t repeal the trade union laws which had so angered the unions despite Labour’s huge Commons’ majority.
Do they want to be seen as similar to a bunch of ageing German Nazis day dreaming the Second World War never happened?
The Trade Union did great things for British workers in Victorian times when life was crushingly hard for many. In the days before MPs were paid workers had to club together to send someone to Westminster. Few people could read and had to get their local vicar to write letters for them.
Today we can all write to our local MP direct so we don’t need a union to do it for us.
The NUJ fringe was typical of the old and the new. NUJ General Secretary Michelle Stanistreet is a brilliant listener.
She chaired two meetings with a skillful maturity which belied her youthful years. Yet too many guests speakers poured scorn upon the past and failed to offer hope for the future.
The Union movement must accept that in the 1960’s and 70’s their used their unwieldy powers to wreck British industry. Parliament took those union powers away. They will never be returned. It is no good living in a fairy dream past. Modern unions should end their political associations and concentrate on the mundane day to day things which are so vitally important to us all. Making sure staff are trained adequately to ensure the high standards of British workmanship are maintained for one.
It’s time to move on.