Introducing a new political concept – ‘daisanaid’..

by Pseud O'Nym

In this week’s post I’m going to introduce you to a new political concept. Well, new insofar as I’ve just given a name to a concept that has had many practical and devastating consequences, both personal and political, since time immemorial. It’s the daisanaid philosophy, better known as the ‘Do as I say and not as I do’ principle. Or lack of one, given as it’s as foolproof as it is self-serving.

A textbook example of diasanaid in the political sphere is evident in the brazen hypocrisy of this government who, if they’d been subject to the same legislation they propose for trade unions, would be illegal. The government’s own press release announcing these plans stated, that in addition to 50% of union members voting, “there had to be an additional threshold of 40% of support to take industrial action from all members eligible to vote…this will ensure strikes are the result of a clear and positive democratic mandate.” This ‘democratic mandate’ they are so keen on only applies to others it seems. This was, after all, a government elected in an election in which, yes, more than 50% eligible to vote did so, but only 36.9% of those who did vote, voted for them. But what’s the point of controlling the legislative branch of government if you can’t make laws to suit your own political agenda?

And whilst it appears that public support for the principle of strikes is high, when that principle is effected, public support for a strike seems to be directly related to the affect on them – the amount of personal inconvienience that they themselves experience. But here’s the rub. It never occurs to them as they are crossing a picket line or denouncing strikes that they themselves might one day be on a picket line and striking themselves in pursuit of a grievance. This selective myopia – whereby people are seemingly incapable of looking beyond their own immediate needs and are unable to see how curtailing liberty for one ultimately curtails it for all – seemingly affects large swathes of the population.

I was going to go further with this point and suggest that the planned clampdown on strikes is in any way related to the governments plans to drastically curtail the working conditions of public sector employees. And so by putting the legislation in place they can greatly reduce the legal manoeuvres open to workers in pursuit of a grievance, the government has not so much changed the rules of the game, but limited the amount of players the opposition can field whilst increasing their own. I was worried that suggesting it was a calculated move by a government, aware that changes to the working conditions of many public sector workers would provoke fury and that by limiting the scope available to workers to legitimately pursue an industrial grievance, would greatly benefit them. However, since it was announced last week that George Osborne has instructed all government departments to slash their budgets by 40%, this is a moot point because a large amount will be ex public sector employees.

Again, I won’t point out the rather striking – no pun intended – dichotomy that the creator of the very conditions that caused the dispute in the first place, is then allowed to define what kind of protest is legitimate in response. It’s a bit like a publican serving someone drinks all night only to then complain when the drunk spectacularly projectile vomits everywhere. Like this guy. Nor will I draw your attention to The European Convention on Human Rights, which repeatedly asserts that restrictions may be permitted if they are in ‘accordance with the law’ or ‘necessary in a democratic society’.

Speaking of funding brings me neatly on to my main point concerning political party funding. The Labour Party has, for some wholly inexplicable reason, sought to distance itself from any financial link between it and the trade unions. The Conservative Party has made much of this, leveling the charge that somehow the Labour Party is in some way beholden to the unions. Bizarrely, the Labour Party is frightened that this charge will resonate with the voters and therefore the more frightened they seem, the more the Conservative Party bang on about it. Whereas – it seems to me at any rate – that the Labour Party should be proud and unashamed of its historic links to the trade unions. It emerged, after all out of the trade union movement and the expansion of the franchise to give the working man a political voice that had been hitherto denied them. Under government proposals ironically, union members will have to choose to pay the union levy that the union then passes on to the Labour Party.

Ironic, inasmuch as no mention is made of Conservative Party funding. If a political party is set up in order to promote and pursue an ideological agenda, one would presume that all of its funding would come from individuals and interest groups who either agreed with it or stood to benefit financially from it. Therefore, it won’t be that great a shock to learn that a sizeable proportion of Conservative Party funding comes from hedge funds. But there is no suggestion that their funding is in anyway related to a tax break given to them in 2013. Not least because as it’s worth under a £150 million. And hedge funds made a meagre $21.9 billion profit last year. Equally ironic is the omission from the proposals that shareholders are consulted before any such donation is made.

Yet another textbook example of daisanaid politics.

Next week…How my eyelid might resemble a kebab…