It's in-fashion to bash the unions, which makes me somewhat reluctant to do it, but I really can't say anything positive about the November 30th strikes: they are simply a gratuitous power grab by the unions. And not against the government. They are a power grab against us, the taxpayer; we, who pay the gold-plated wages and pensions of public sector workers.
But isn't it illiberal to say that they can't strike? Surely the right to withdraw one's labour is reasonable? After all, it just levels the playing field, right?
No, actually, it really doesn't. In an equal relationship, the worker must have no right to which the employer cannot have an equal right. This would mean that if the worker can suspend his/her labour, or essentially suspend his/her half of the contract, then the employer should be able to do the same: to withdraw pay at any time that he/she feels the labour provided doesn't meet his/her standard.
What, in effect, this would mean is that contracts would be utterly pointless. We could simply refuse to pay taxes whilst the government failed to meet our standards, and the public sector workers could withdraw their labour all they wanted, but at least it would be an equal relationship.
I'd like to speak to you about your message, your method and your aims. So, I'm going to take your mission statement (or, what I perceive to be a summary of it -- you don't have a mission statement) from your website and put it here:
We are told that the only way to reduce the deficit is to cut public services. This is certainly not the case. There are alternatives, but the government chooses to ignore them, highlighting the fact that the cuts are based on ideology, not necessity.
- One alternative is to clamp down on tax dodging by corporations and the rich, estimated to cost the state £95bn a year
- Another is to make the banks pay for a crisis they created: last year they paid out over £7bn in bonuses and just four banks made £24bn in profit
The tax avoided and evaded in a single year could pay for the £81bn, four-year cuts programme.
Let's ignore the banks for now, and concentrate on UKUncut's mission against corporate tax avoidance, because certainly if we can just increase tax yield by £95 billion a year, it's well worth looking at.
First of all, we need to distinguish tax evasion, which is the illegal non-payment of tax via false accounting or other methods, from tax avoidance, which is finding legal loopholes in order to pay less tax than is required.
It is a fact that some businesses do use tax loopholes to avoid taxation which they should pay. It is also true that some businesses which UKUncut have targetted are in fact only guilty of not paying tax twice on the same profits.
I'm not sure how many of you have heard of the Rally Against Debt, but it's going to be a small peaceful gathering for the silent majority to air their concerns about the delusions which are being spread in the mainstream that our level of borrowing is reasonable.
The national debt is not a partisan issue -- whether you prefer great public services or business-friendly taxes, everybody should understand that running sustained deficits is an issue; so people of all political persuasions are welcome to come to the rally and show their support.