Just a quick one this evening, I’ve been a little busy.
I note that Francis Maude has stepped back from his calls to introduce tougher union laws.
Now, as I’ve made clear on here previously, I don’t have a lot of love for the unions, but the ballots to strike have been carried out in a perfectly democratic fashion. I don’t think it is right that a small portion (in percentage terms) of the population can hold the government to ransom, but by the same token, a parliament of around 650 regularly hold the rest of the country to ransom, and I ain’t too keen on that either.
The parallel between government and unions is an important one to draw. I understand that Maude was demanding that in order for a strike ballot to be acceptable that the union concerned would have to have at least a 50% turnout. As an aside, I think the main reason turnout wasn’t higher in this round of industrial action ballots was because the result was a foregone conclusion.
And here really is the point; that is exactly the same reason why turnouts are so poor in general, by, local authority and European elections in this country – for many constituencies and wards the result is a foregone conclusion.
So, what’s good for the goose must also be good for the gander and any calls for a 50% turnout to legitimise a union industrial action ballot must also be met with a 50% turnout threshold in any constituency or ward for that constituency or ward to return an MP, MEP or councillor.
Not only would it make the unions think a little more about how they conduct business, it would also focus the minds of the politicians a little more.
Just saying. . .