Thursday, 29 January 2009
Compare and contrast: 2.5 million people in France take to the streets in protest at their government's handling of the worsening economic situation. Unemployment is heading towards 10% and people want the Sarkozy government to protect jobs, wages and key services.
Meanwhile in Britain the unions issue limp proclamations in support of a measly 1000 workers on a demo - against the Italians. A key construction contract at the Lindsey Oil refinery in Lincolnshire was awarded to IREM, an Italian company.
To be honest, it doesn't surprise me in the slightest. Some years ago, I went on a demo in solidarity with Rover workers at longbridge in the English midlands. I stood and listened with some discomfort as T&GWU supremo Tony Woodley launched into a jingiostic tirade against the Germans and French. I came away less than impressed. For people like Woodley, it seems, solidarity stops at the English Channel.
You're just left with the sense that the French Unions have a rather broader and more nuanced grasp of the seriousness of our situation. A comment placed by one of the French on the BBC website sums it all up for me:
"I will join in the demonstrations today. I have taken a day's unpaid leave to express my anger. Promises made to the working people about the success of the Euro, globalisation and benign capitalism have been broken by those in power. If the Brits had guts they would join us in general strike rather than contribute to their own problems by grovelling before their unelected and discredited prime minister."
I couldn't agree more mate. Viva la France!
Posted by Draig at 17:57