Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Labour need a history lesson

Yesterday I commented Mark Wadsworth's post, Winter of Discontent:

The daft buggers have only just repealed the law preventing prison officers striking in favour of a voluntary ban on strikes. Clearly nobody in New Labour is either old enough to remember the 60's and 70's or has read a history book.

This was more prescient than I thought because Labour has now started talking about 3 year pay deals for public sector workers, in effect a pay cut, with an expected union response which is covered with the usual rigour of Watt Tyler here:

One cave-in we should particularly look out for is the RPI-linked deal. Already this morning we've heard the GMB calling for RPI plus o.5%, which at present would mean nearly 5%. On a public sector paybill in excess of £150bn pa.

BOM's more mature readers will recall RPI-plus was precisely the formula that hopeless Heath visited on Britain in 1973- just before the first OPEC oil price hike. And it really did turn a drama into a wage-price spiralling crisis.

Like Watt, I too remember the euphoria of getting a monthly pay rise, only to find that it didn't anywhere near compensate for a pint of beer increasing in price just about every night.

As George Santayana said:
Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

Lets just hope it isn't going to be 7 years before we get a "Thatcher" to untangle the mess again, it would be just too painful a second time round.

1 comment:

Mark Wadsworth said...

Ta for link, apart from that, totally agreed.