Thursday, April 24, 2008

Why I Have (A Little) Sympathy With the Strikers

Did you realise Alistair Darling put a penny on income tax in last month's budget? No, nor did I, but thanks to Tory MP Justine Greening we now know that the car tax rises announced in March have added £2.5 billion to Treasury coffers. Revenue neutral, they said. It will improve our carbon footprint, they said. Yup, by achieving a 1 per cent emissions reduction. And who's hit most by this tax rise? You're ahead of me ... It's the not so well off, of course.

So, if you are a junior civil servant earning £20,000, living in a Band D house with a family and driving a ten year old Renault Espace, you'll be paying another £120 council tax, an extra £200 income tax and another £600 for food. Another Triple Whammy Labour income bombshell?

People aren't stupid. They have grown wise to these stealth taxes. So when they are offered a pay rise of 2.4 per cent they feel insulted. They know the real rate of inflation - ie their own cost of living index is far higher. This is why public sector workers are on strike today. They have seen through Brown's deception and lies. I will not be at all surprised if we are about to see the beginnings of an upsurge in trade union militancy. There's one man to blame for that.


Anonymous said...

What ho, a Summer of Discontent. Or at least a Simmering of Discontent.

Anonymous said...

I drive my 30mpg car about 4,000 miles a year, and am now selling my car because the car tax is due to rise to £415 in April 09, so it isn't worth the fixed costs of keeping it sitting on the road. It is 6 years old, so it won't be scrapped, i.e. the tax change won't help the environment at all (could make it worse as the new owner will doubtless drive more), its just a massively disproportionate tax hit. The car's value probably dropped over £1,000 on budget day, but this won't feature anywhere in the budget winners/losers calculations. There will be a number of seriously annoyed people when the penny drops (or rather the £415 tax bill hits) next year (deferred bad news like the 10p rate comes home to roost eventually). When you look at how grossly mismanaged public services are, how the only ones I might use like the police are utterly rubbish, you might start to get the flavour of just how annoyed I am with these scumbags in Government.

Anonymous said...

Nationally, council tax for a Band D property has just gone up by £50 on average not £120.

Anonymous said...

We should increase taxes on the rich anc cut taxes on the poor. Labour revels should press home and get some more left wing measures.

Scipio said...

Iain. Sorry but I don't have any sympathy for the strikers.

If UK plc were a real business, and the board was going cap-in-hand to the bank, and asked to borrow more money to fund a pay rise for our staff, they would tell us to go away and get real.

Things are tight, and belts have to be tightened. The public sector should rightly be the first to feel the tightening because they are paid direct by our taxes. Every penny more we pay the public sector comes from increased taxes or borrowing.

Borrowing is simply a tax on future generations.

Anyway, the public sector have done hugely well over the last ten years thanks to the tax payer's generosity.

Yes inflation is really higher than Brown admits. Yes 2.5% is probably a below inflation pay rise. Yes, Brown is the enemy of the peace. But many of us in the private sector won't even get that - so why should we cough up yet more taxes to pay for the pay rise of other people when we cannot afford our own?

Almost finally, what is the point of negotiated agreements if they can be ignored by a union.

And finally, my son is revising for his exams next week - and his school is closed today.

Thanks for nothing the NUT!

Anonymous said...

Alastair Darling, Gordon Brown and the rest of the CND-wannabees should be required to present absolutely water-tight evidence that mankind has any effect WHATSOEVER on the atsmosphere of the earth, the solar system or the sun before they squander the taxpayers' money "off-setting" it.

They have bought into a communist, controlling programme without a scrap of evidence that it is so, and an overwhelming amount of evidence that it is a manipulative lie.

Tory MPs, who, for God's sake, must be good for something, should insist on seeing the evidence before agreeing to run our country along the lines of Al Gore's self-interest (he has the largest "carbon offset" ... OK, I got up off the floor from laughing and can continue ... trading company in the world).

Isn't there one Tory MP who will hold these historically illiterate liars to account?

By the way, in which one of the climate sciences did Alastair Darling take his Master's?

Newmania said...

How would you know the teachers were striking ? They would have to time it carefully to coincide with the odd few days of work they do ? They are vastly overpaid.

You forgot to mention the National Insurance hike by the way Iain which infuriated me . The voters obviously saw it but the commentariat were oddly slow

Anonymous said...

I don't have any sympathy with them. Get back to work - if you don't think you're getting paid enough, get another job, but don't start messing with pupils' education days before their exams start.

Anonymous said...

We Conservatives are the unusual position of possibly having to agree with strikes.

Either the CPI is a good measure of cost of living, Gordon Brown has kept things nicely under control and pay deals in excess of 2% are fair…

Or Gordon Brown has been heaping costs upon us, the cost of living has been rising by more than 2.5% p.a., public sector workers have good reason to complain and we should support them.

Anonymous said...

Bloody teachers - they should all get a kick up the arse from all the people they are currently p----ing off in Central london as they march - clogging up the already congested traffic. This bunch of selfish NUTters are a gaggle of stupid lefties, their leaders have never matured beyond their day as students back in the 70's and 80's, they probably miss the GLC and all the other soviets of municipal socialist education authorites from that time. They have contributed to their current postion by their abject failure to support proper education policies over the past 40 years. They've sensed weakness in Brown and are going for it. A few months time it'll resemble 1979. Time for a few 'Labour isn't working' posters? In 1979 the NF were vioewed as the potential victors from the chaos, today it is the BNP/UKIP mob. Come on Cameron, come on Boris, stopping p***ing about too. Be the leaders this country needs and stop talking bollocks.

Anonymous said...

You might also look at the NHS pension scheme which has just increased the level of employee conributions by up to a couple of per cent - .5% for some of the lowest paid. For many hundreds of thousends of NHS workers this is going to hurt in this months pay packet.

Anonymous said...

Is this the same NUT that spends its conference time sneering at the army? Hopefully, inhaling chalk dust can cause lung disease.

Brown should try bribing the strikers: quietly slip Brendan Barber a proverbial brown envelope or increase the contribution from the Union Modernisation Fund to the NUT.

The police are seething over 1.9% but don‘t have the option to strike. Jacqui Smith would be wise to emulate Harman and don body armour. In the event of an attack the loyalties of her protection officer would be sorely tested.

BTW for some reason, the strike is headline news for the BBC but doesn‘t appear at all on the Indie Online, unless I‘ve gone blind. Instead under ‘education‘ it carries an article on the plight of transgender pupils. I think some of the criticism of Liberals may be justified.

Anonymous said...

For any of us who have the slightest choice about what job we do, work isn’t just about pay, it’s about working conditions too. This government could maybe get away with below inflation public sector pay rises if it was delivering happier working conditions.

Taking teaching, I think other professions tend to underestimate how thoroughly soul destroying it is to try your hardest to deliver interesting, high quality lessons while being undermined daily by bad behaviour, unsupportive parents who deny their little darling could be so horrible and management unwilling to take effective action.

Lettersfromatory, you say:

If you don't think you're getting paid enough, get another job...

As the husband of a teacher I can tell you that's unfortunately what many of them are doing. Have you looked at data for staff retention in teaching? And do you think it is the teachers with most or least options who are leaving?

"Newmania", if you have time to be on this blog I would be very surprised if you work as hard as a dedicated teacher. What were you doing last night between 7 and 10pm, for example?

Anonymous said...

I have no sympathy for the strikers. I do have sympathy for honest working indigenous British People who pay their taxes and pay a raft of stealth taxes. I am particularly angry about the proposed car taxes (another fake "it's good for you tax" that will do nothing about green issues but will put more money into this failing government.

I really hope that the masses, the stupid lumpen mob that have kept this government in power, will understand that it is getting more difficult to afford fags and booze and petrol and even they have to pay for their crappy DFS sofas eventually, even if by that time they have fallen to pieces,

and might, just might, vote these crooks into oblivion, along with the worst (unelected) PM this century.

Anonymous said...

dirty european socialist:

"We should increase taxes on the rich anc cut taxes on the poor. Labour revels should press home and get some more left wing measures."

We should cut taxes on the poor and also cut taxes for the rich and the mind-bogglingly rich. The government doesn't need all these hundreds of billions of pounds to govern the country. They are to bribe the client state. Why should your money, that you have earned, go into the service of bribing Gordon Brown et Cie's clients - immigrants and the indigenous welfare class?

PS An armed society is a polite society and keeps the government in line.

Dave H - I realise that this wasn't your main point and was just a little frill at the end, but I'd like to see the dropping of the caring-socialist term 'transgender'. There's no such thing. People who feel they're really the opposite sex should be free to have as much surgery, hormones and silicone as they can personally afford to pay for, but surgery and artificial hormones do not change DNA. They remain the sex of their birth. Transgender belongs in the same club as "man made climate change".

Janus said...

Blimey, bolt on a caveat about ensuring acceptable public transport and cut phrases like 'militancy' and I basically agree with Dale!

Anonymous said...

In the borough I live in, one in eight of the council's employees is off sick at any one time.

For the council to be able to function - at all - let alone effectively - there must be a huge degree of over-manning in most departments, just to cover for this ongoing absenteeism.

If the public sector policed absenteeism half as effectively as the private sector, we could reduce the public sector payroll by about 10% without anyone really noticing.

By all means, use some of the savings to better reward those who actually do turn up for work every day and work hard.

Alternatively, take the "Verity Option" - sack 75% of them, out-source most of the services to the private sector and let the tax payer decide where to spend his or her money. If any of them are any good at their jobs, they'll be snapped up by private sector employers.

You know it makes sense.

Anonymous said...

Labour has failed to persuade voters that all these extra taxes are being put to good use.

Probably because they are not.

Under Brown's guidance Labour will be wiped out at the next election.

I write as a natural labour supporter .

Anonymous said...

Saltmaker said:

"What were you doing last night between 7 and 10pm, for example?"

Newmania was probably putting his feet up, after a hard days' work if he had any sense, much the same as your wife probably does for 14 weeks of the year when she's on paid leave.

And - as Newmania is a self-employed person, I don't see why he should have to justify how he spends his time to you.

If your wife doesn't feel valued as a teacher, she should move schools or change job.

She's not alone in feeling under-valued; half the population does and manage to get on with it.

Anyway, if she was any good at her job, she'd be teaching in a public school, where pay and conditions reflect skill and worth to society.

Anonymous said...


Transgender is a medical term, not a "caring socialist" thing at all - and even if it were, what's wrong with caring for people?

Surgery may not change DNA, but then gender is not always defined by Chemistry - something you would know if you had half a clue what you were on about.

Personally, I'd like to see the end of the term "fatuous moron" but then, there are so many of them around these days, I can't see it happening.

Anonymous said...

"People aren't stupid."

I don't know, they elected these cretins three times in a row, didn't they?

Anonymous said...

I don't know why there's all this fuss about teachers going on strike just when their pupils are about to sit exams. The students will all be given A grades, as usual, whatever they write in the exam room. In fact you could sack all the teachers in the country and all students would still be awarded "straight As" -- even those of them unable to write their names on the front of the answer booklet.

Anonymous said...

verity - No the government does need money to stop poverty, to pay for education and health, food subsidies, the army and the police force.
I support a consitent redistribution of wealth to the poor and the ill should be provided for in any decent society.
The welfare class is the poor.

Anonymous said...

Sgt Pepper, I really don't think you have a clue.

If your wife doesn't feel valued as a teacher...

Which is why she's handed her notice in -- another science teacher down the pan. Personally, being more financially motivated than her, I'm quite glad. The pharma industry, where she worked for 10 years in senior management, isn't perfect but the extra £100K will sort of make up for it.

Anonymous said...

Let's see what Gordon's homework is for tonight:

1) Make a U-turn on the U-turn on the 10% tax support;

2) Explain why petrol and oil are about to become scarce;

3) Ponder how to address the food shortages that are approaching this country's shores. (Even Eire is flagging up the rationing of rice by Walmart);

4) Deal with the mortgage shortage;

5) Explain away housing negative equity;

6) Improve my explanation to the teachers (and others)that it is alright that the pay rise is less than inflation because they had a better deal a few years ago - hence after 11 years of a Labour government they will overall be no better off.

As derieme said @ 12:31

"A summer of discontent"

asquith said...

I'd like to see all the sneering, braying Tories on here try to teach at the school near me. Then you might see what a hard, thankless job they do. Maybe the education of the working and middle classes doesn't matter to Camoron and his mates, but it matters to society. Until teachers are properly valued and rewarded, we won't have a decent education system. If they were properly valued and rewarded, we might just have a better society in 20 years. But not so long as one of the two conservative parties is in office.

Roger Thornhill said...

An end to the nonsense of national pay deals. An end to the State monopoly on education.

Teachers should be employed by their schools so market rates can apply to teachers.

We are being taxed more so teachers strike so we have to be taxed more.

As WSC said, taxing our way to prosperity is like someone standing in a bucket and trying to lift it up by the handle.

Anonymous said...

Balls has the "Brown touch" - first NUT strike in 20 years.

Anonymous said...

Asquith, teaching in State schools would not be such a hard and thankless task were it not for the Gobby Left, who have sadly influenced Education for the last 50 years.

Don't correct the kiddies, it'll stifle their creativity!
Don't teach them to read via phonics, they'll pick it up somehow!
Don't make anything too difficult or challenging, it won't be fair!
Don't let them fail, it'll dent their confidence!
Don't sit them in rows facing the teacher, don't allow any discipline, don't insist on manner s, respect and self-control.
Don't allow the system to sack bad teachers, it'll upset the bloody Unions.

Well, we've had two generations being brought up with that kind of dangerous twaddle, and what do we have?

A substantial underclass, a disdain for hard work and culture, and an ethos of free-for-all in every aspect of life leading to a horrifying rise in youth crime.

And by the way, despite being a so-called 'sneering, braying Tory', I've spent years as a state school governor, I've brought up two children (state grammar schools), I see what's on offer to my two grandchildren - and I weep.

Anonymous said...


I would have hoped that you could have spotted a wind-up from a mile away...!

As a former governor of a High School - in a rather poor part of town - I have the very highest regard for good teachers. They do a job that I could never do.

Sadly, it's only when the best of a profession (and yes, I do consider teaching to be a "profession") start leaving in droves that government takes notice.

Over the years, it's a sad fact that governments have relied upon too much goodwill from genuinely dedicated state employees to make schools, hospitals et al work.

Demoralise these people with a lack of recognition and minimal pay rises and, what do you get?

Britain 2008 c/o Nu Labour

Please wish Mrs Saltmaker the best for her new job. Can I recommend the purchase of something German with over 200 bhp as compensation for all those years?

Scipio said...

Asquith - I expect more of you! You are not thinking this one through!

The unruly child at the failing school is as much the fault of the parent as it is of the teacher.

The trouble is that the state wishes to be the parent, and as with so many things in modern Britian, we do not have to take responsibility for our actions - even when those actions lead to the creation of feral children! we just wash our hands and let 'the state' deal with the results.

Teachers should stop acting like social workers and form fillers, and start doing what they were trained to do. Teach. If there is some little scrote getting in the way of this goal, then it should be removed from class forthwith, and its parents hauled in for a roasting from a school superintendent - and duly read the riot act.

If the child still does not tow the line, then it gets excluded permenently and the parents get punished too (perhaps by having to do community service or sumfink - yea?).

Shame for the scrote (who might miss out on his education), but better for the poor kids who are having their education ruined. Why should the majority suffer because of the idiot minority? I suspect that after a few words from a father who has been forced to drag himself away from the pub for some community service will soon 'motivate' his offspring to tow the line in class.

Failing that - reopen the borstals and let the army have a go at breaking the cocky little scrotes!

Perhaps we can reward the parents who up their game after a visist from the Superintendent with beer and fags?

Sorry - but we need more middle class values - self respect, self control and self-reliance and personal responsibility - not scorn them.

Bring back school superintendents with real authority to make demands of parents to take responsibility for their children.

SUPERINTENDENTS NOT SOCIAL WORKERS!!! Perhaps we can redeploy all those busy body parking attendents as school superintendednt? Kill two birds with one stone.

The priorities are all wrong!

What I find puzzling is why the state can turn up on a guys door step in a stab vest and issue a fixed penalty for a wheely bin with its lid not closed, but we cannot instill a sense of discipline in feral chav begotten kids who make life a misery for teachers and kids who genuinely wish to learn.

Anonymous said...

Interesting Iain, they haven't turned on you in the way they turned on Guido when he supported Boris's call for an amnesty on immigrants.

But don't do it again, there's a good chap, else they'll turn round and bite, and it'll be nasty. Just switch off and keep on sating the usuals (you know the drill: Europe, those demmed Scots, lovely Nad, repeat) and they'll love you. But it's three strikes and out buddy.

John Pickworth said...

I'm sorry, I have no sympathy with the strikers...

Why can't they bloody starve like the rest of us?

Scipio said...

Annon 9.52, all I can say is: A useless prime minister, a downturning economy, public sector strikes, inflation creeping up, people getting made redundant - must be a Labour Government!

As for an amnesty on illegal immigrants - do you not think that all that would happen is that even more would come and squat awaiting the next amnesty?

Managed immigration - yes definitely!

But what we have at the moment - no border controls (or at least border controls which we have allowed the Romanians and the Poles to manage for us)....not a great way to run a welk stall!

Anonymous said...

Anon 1.49 pm ... "their leaders have never matured beyond their day as students back in the 70's and 80's, they probably miss the GLC and all the other soviets of municipal socialist education authorites from that time."

For nearly half the time that it existed the GLC was Conservative controlled.

Anonymous said...

Sgt Pepper, in my keenness to defend Mrs S and her profession I overlooked the obvious. Thank you for your patience.

Anonymous said...

The car tax changes are a complete rip-off; e.g. someone in a new Astra 2-litre will see their tax more than double to £430. 88% of vehicles will be have tax increases applied.

The solution? Buy an older car (any model) and you pay 'only' £200ish. And you'll be saving precious non-renewables too, way in excess of additional fuel consumption assuming you choose the right car.

The figures and facts make a mockery of the stated 'environmental' reasons for punishing car-owners yet again.

JuliaM said...

"I'd like to see all the sneering, braying Tories on here try to teach at the school near me. Then you might see what a hard, thankless job they do."

Yeah, it's not at all the case that they've made a rod for their own backs with their 'prizes for all!' and 'don't stifle the kiddiewinks!' policies, is it..?

"Until teachers are properly valued and rewarded, we won't have a decent education system."

Translation: 'Give us the money or the kiddies get it!'

"If they were properly valued and rewarded, we might just have a better society in 20 years."

Really...? As has been pointed out to you at great length, teachers can't help when the raw material they have to work with is, in many cases, flawed from the start. Sadly, in many areas, the 'Shannon Matthews family unit' is becoming the norm.

Suggest you read Frank Chalk's blog, or for a little more diversity, 'To Miss With Love'. The stories on it will curl your hair....

"The car tax changes are a complete rip-off; e.g. someone in a new Astra 2-litre will see their tax more than double to £430. 88% of vehicles will be have tax increases applied."

Another nail in Brown's coffin when people start to realise this...

Anonymous said...

It is beyond satire that their pay is linked to the Consumer Prices Index, which is calculated to exclude the Council Tax, which the Government can thus increase with impunity..


Anonymous said...

"It is beyond satire that their pay is linked to the Consumer Prices Index, which is calculated to exclude the Council Tax, which the Government can thus increase with impunity.."

The Government doesn't determine the council tax. The most they can do is cap it.

Anonymous said...

verity said...

"Tory MPs, who, for God's sake, must be good for something,"

I wouldn't put money on it.

Saltmaker said...

""Newmania", if you have time to be on this blog I would be very surprised if you work as hard as a dedicated teacher. What were you doing last night between 7 and 10pm, for example?"

It's true that teaching can be a very demanding job etc etc. On the other hand -

I used to have a girlfriend who worked as a teacher. She led a busy life having to prepare meals for her husband and children, attend lots of Labour party meetings, and bonk her lover(s). She got all her school work done during school hours by utilising her lunch hours and other spare moments. She told me the other staff wasted their time lounging around the staff room yakking to each other. Within the last few years nulab have introduced PPA time i.e. every teacher is now entitled to 10% of the working week (i.e. half a day per week) for marking and preparing. Every state school has had to employ more staff to cater for this provision. I suggest you train your wife to have sex with more men - I'm sure it will greatly improve her time-management skills.

Adrian said...

Like other teachers, I earn at least four times the minimum wage, so I hardly feel in a position to strike for more pay.