Tag Archives: TURC

Dominic Raab and the Sweatshop Charter

Raabid politician in sweatshop economy shocker!

Here’s an interesting article from last Wednesday’s Guardian. It tells of a book, Britannia Unchanged, which advocates, (surprise, surprise) policies that are even further to the right of the current right-wing government. The book is due to be published before the Tory Party conference in the autumn. Here’s the article’s opening paragraph,

‘The talented and hard-working have nothing to fear,” says Dominic Raab, Conservative MP for Esher and Walton, with just the faintest hint of menace. It is an airless, lazy day in mid-August. The House of Commons cafe is half-deserted. But Raab, firm-jawed, slightly gaunt and a rising star of the Tory right, is spending the parliamentary recess in the traditional manner of ambitious politicians: using the Westminster news vacuum to attract attention to himself and his ideas.

Dominic Raab is a familiar name to Nowhere Towers, not only because he’s on TURC’s parliamentary council but also because he believes “feminists” are oppressing men. In other words, like so many Tories, he’s a dimwit who is over-confident about his limited intellectual capacity. So limited is his intellect, that he inverts reality to suit his narrative. Given half the chance, Raab would transform Britain into a sweatshop economy overnight.

Wearing jeans, the 38-year-old backbencher is talking – warily – about transforming the British workplace. He thinks current employment law offers “excessive protections” to workers. “People who are coasting – it should be easier to let them go, to give the unemployed a chance. It is a delicate balancing act, but it should be decided in favour of the latter.”

I wouldn’t be surprised if the jeans that he was wearing were produced by sweatshop labour. The book follows on, as The Guardian reminds us, from a deeply-insulting statement made a couple of weeks ago by the book’s authors that Britain is a nation of “idlers”.

When Raab isn’t involved in TURC he also writes pamphlets for the Thatcherite Centre for Policy Studies. This one is called “Escaping the Straightjacket: Ten Regulatory Reforms to Create Jobs”. Here’s an excerpt,

More radical change has been suggested. In a leaked report in October 2011, venture capitalist Adrian Beecroft called for the
abolition of unfair dismissal and the introduction of “Compensated No Fault Dismissal”, where employers would be allowed to sack unproductive staff with basic redundancy pay and notice.

What Raab is doing here is repeating what the Beecroft Report proposed. It isn’t original and it points to one thing: no workplace security for workers.

The theory is simple. If employers have clearer powers to dismiss underperforming or uncommitted workers, more of them would
take a chance on hiring more staff. As Beecroft argues, the change would “lead to greater competitiveness, growth and employment”.
Employees would have the chance of a fresh start, without reputational damage. They would also benefit from the more flexible labour market that would result.

This is dishonest stuff. The only people who benefit from the so-called “flexible labour market” are the employers who pay a lower rate of National Insurance contribution and who don’t have to pay holiday or sick pay to their workers. Furthermore, the “theory” isn’t actually a theory in the true sense of the word, it is an assertion that is based upon fundamental Tory principle: the subaltern classes are there to be exploited. Denying them rights is part of the process to ensure the middle and upper classes continue to enjoy their disproportionate privileges and rights and the expense of those who graft in their factories, call-centres and workshops for a pittance.

By the time we get to page 10 of his ‘report’, it’s apparent that he cannot contain his excitement any longer,

Trade unions might seem a diminishing threat to business. Their membership has halved since 1979, and today only 15% of private sector employees belong to one.65 But this underestimates the extent of strike action in the public sector, where union membership is concentrated. The consequences spill over into the wider economy. According to the London Chamber of Commerce, each day of tube closures costs the capital’s economy £48 million. Similarly, if schools are shut, working parents may struggle to find childcare.

Four days of industrial action will not destroy an economy. Notice how Raab falls back on Francis Maude’s lie about last year’s teachers strike. He then proceeds to repeat the same hoary auld canard about minimum thresholds for strike votes while ignoring the fact that his party often wins elections on a lower share of the vote. Many local councils are also elected on turnouts of less than 25% but he doesn’t call for those elections to be declared null and void.

Raab is joined in this venture by Priti Patel, Kwasi Kwarteng, Chris Skidmore (we’ve got a nickname for him, don’t you worry!) and Elizabeth Truss, four darlings of the Tory rabid right, who are, along with Raabid, members of the Free Enterprise Group (FEG).

Founded in October 2011, the group lists 38 supporting MPs on its website. The membership is youngish, more female and less white than the Conservative parliamentary party as a whole. It includes many of the new MPs currently identified by Tory-watchers as potential party leaders.

So confident is the FEG that they’ve published a book titled After the Coalition. It’s wishful thinking because it is unlikely that the Conservatives will win an overall majority and may even suffer heavy losses. The only way the party can win the next election is to cheat... which is par for the course for a party that despises workers, the disabled, the poor, the elderly, the youth, mature students, women, Roma, Irish Travellers …

I’ve just had a look at the FEG website and wasn’t surprised to discover that there is some crossover between the FEG and TURC.

Raabid and his colleagues have never had to work in appalling conditions for little pay yet this is what they would force British workers to do. Their contempt for workers comes as naturally to them as breathing.

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Eric Joyce and Stuart Andrew: what the papers failed to mention

It was the political story of the month. It was a gift that had fallen into the lap of the subs on Fleet Street. “Labour MP, Eric Joyce headbutts Tory MP in the Strangers Bar in the House of Commons”.

We heard that Mr Joyce was slightly worse for wear or “pissed up” in the common parlance, but what was the spark that ignited the flame, so to speak? We heard that Joyce had said, upon entering the bar, that there were “too many Tories” in there. Perhaps there were. Perhaps some of them hold views that are, shall we say, a little reprehensible?

The other day while I was linking the extreme-right wing Trade Union Reform Campaign to this blog, I noticed that the alleged victim of Joyce’s headbutt , Stuart Andrew, the member for Pudsey, is on the Parliamentary Council of TURC. Was Joyce aware of this? Surely, he must have been. The Tory press was full of outrage, many of them claiming how Andrew was totally innocent. None of them bothered to inform their readers of Andrew’s other activities, namely TURC’s work to destroy trade unions. Here’s an excerpt from an interview with Mr Andrew in the Daily Mail,

Mr Andrew said: ‘I was having a lovely evening chatting and relaxing. Andrew [Percy] came back to the table and said, “Excuse me, can I just get to my seat?” but Joyce would not let him. He said, “There are too many Tories” and pushed him against the wall. I stood up and said, “You can’t do that.”

But this is the most interesting part,

Mr Andrew, who briefly joined the Labour Party in 1997, said he had never met Mr Joyce before. ‘We had never spoken and there is no history between us whatsoever. I bet he was in that cell thinking, “Who the hell is Stuart Andrew?” ’

[…]
Mr Andrew said he had received ‘superb’ support in recent days. ‘People I don’t even know have been coming up to me and asking if I am all right. Constituents have been phoning with lovely messages, as have schools and sixth formers.’

How nice of them. I wonder how many of them know about his hatred of trade unions? Not knowing Pudsey, it would be improper of me to label each and every elector in his constituency as rabid anti-union types but those who voted for Andrew must be. What I find so odd about Andrew being a former member of Labour Party is his opposition to trade unions. If he joined Labour surely he was aware of the party’s history?

I don’t expect Andrew,  Nazi Boy Burley or any of the other members of TURC to admit to hating trade unions or wanting to destroy them but, then, honesty has never been the strongest suit of this Tory party.

The Tories have a serious problem with unions. In other words, they don’t like them. They seem to feel that the anti-union legislation that was put in place by Thatcher didn’t go far enough. They want to break the unions by further limiting their ability to organize and to fight on their members’ behalf. They even coined a meaningless neologism, “Union Pilgrims” as a term of abuse (they’re great at slinging mud but terrible at having a reasoned debate).  Well, when I say “they”, I really mean Paul Staines and Harry Cole, whose blog is filled with bile-saturated articles about trade unionists, none of which I will quote or link to here.

You can see who else is on TURC’s Parliamentary Council here.  Two names stand out from all the others: those of the disgraced Liam Fox and Dominic Raab. The latter writes evidence-free reports, some of which call for an end to hte Equality Act. Raab also thinks that men have it tough and suffer from sex discrimination at the hands of women. He obviously missed the meeting about the patriarchy. Tories are rather adept at tospy-turvy thinking and this is one example of how they try to play victim by inverting the logic of discrimination.

Back to Andrew, this article from The Yorkshire Post tells us that he is a career politician who has no problem switching sides in order to further his career.

One commentator on the ConservativeHome website states: “Stuart Andrew defected to Labour… This was a total disgrace and displayed political treachery of the worst sort – yet now he is back.”

And on the UKPollingReport site, Jenny Whitmann, wrote: “I just find it totally staggering. How can anyone switch from being a Tory councillor to a Labour councillor then back? ”

Last night Mr Andrew said: “After the 1997 general election I was not happy with the direction of the party and found it very difficult to support some of the stances they had taken,” he said. “So foolishly – I was only in my 20s – I joined Labour. But I soon realised the philosophy of the Conservatives was where my beliefs lie.”

Laughable.

Recently on his website, Andrew’s constituency agent wrote,

Stuart Andrew MP and students from Horsforth, Pudsey Grangefield, Crawshaw and St Mary’s Catholic Schools in the Pudsey constituency returned from the Holocaust Educational Trust’s visit to Auschwitz-Birkenau on Thursday 3rd May vowing to act on the lessons learned from the experience.

Now in its thirteenth year, the Project is based on the premise that “hearing is not like seeing”. Students first visited Osweicim, the town where the Auschwitz death and concentration camps were located and where before the war, 58% of the population was Jewish. Students then visited Auschwitz I to see the former camp’s barracks and crematoria and witnessing the piles of belongings that were seized by the Nazis. Finally they spent time at the main killing centre of Birkenau where the day concluded with candle lighting and a period of reflection to remember the 6 million Jews, and the Roma, Sinti, gay, disabled, black people, and other victims of the Nazis killed in the Holocaust.

Interesting, yet he still associates with a Nazi fetishist who was caught texting his chums during a Holocaust memorial lecture.

As I’ve said before: the Nazis were opposed to trade unions and imprisoned union activists. Today’s Tory Party would like to deny that it embraces a similar hatred but it’s transparently obvious that it does. Stuart Andrew, far from being just a hapless victim of a Labour MP’s violent behaviour, is involved in a campaign that seeks to destroy workers’ rights and the ability of trade unions to fight on their behalf. If I had have been in Joyce’s position, I might have reacted in a similar fashion. I despise liars, turncoats, blacklegs, scabs and bullies. It seems to me that Andrew is all of these things and maybe more.

UPDATE: 29/5/12 @ 1203

It seems that one of Andrew’s drinking buddies on that fateful evening is also on TURC’s Parliamentary Council. Alec Shelbrooke, the MP for Elmet and Rothwell was also a fellow councillor on Leeds City Council.

UPDATE: 16/3/13 @ 1023

As I came to the end of this article in The Independent, I noticed a quote from Shelbrooke that was contained in this paragraph,

A Tory MP caught up in last year’s fracas, Alec Shelbrooke, said: “I will be talking about it to a number of my colleagues who were involved last time to see if we want to take it further.”

To be honest, Shelbrooke looks as though he takes full advantage of the Palace’s subsidized food and drink. His waistline has expanded exponentially since he took his Commons seat in 2010.

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