'Hostility to the imagined threats of trade union power is widespread, but if you look beyond the version told by union-bashing journalists, Conservative politicians & popular historians, it is striking how limited that power actually was & is.'

Robert Taylor, the leading historian of modern trade unions who sadly died in September 2020, concluded the unions’ hold over the British workplace from the 1940s to the 1970s was “always more illusory and less substantial than their many enemies liked to suggest”.
Sections of the UK media are complicit in creating this caricature of overweening trade union power.

For most people the “Winter of Discontent” in January/February 1979 was a crisis experienced second-hand through the media, rather than directly.
Derek Jameson, then editor of the Daily Express, recalled, “We pulled every dirty trick in the book; we made it look like it was general, universal & eternal when in reality it was scattered, here & there, & no great problem”.

Newspapers attack ANY threat to the establishment.
The crisis was nothing like as serious as the one Edward Heath had in 1974 with three-day weeks caused by restricted power supplies. In February 1979, in spite of tabloid newspapers headlines like the Sun’s predicting a “Famine Threat”, supermarkets remained well stocked.
A media myth about union power was created and utilised very effectively by Margaret Thatcher to win in May 1979. In government, legislation to curb trade unions was passed in October 1982. Further laws followed in 1984, 1986, 1988, 1989, 1990 & 1992.
The gap between rich & poor was at its narrowest in the 1970s, a decade when trade unionism was its strongest. In 2021 there is an obscene gap between those flaunting great wealth & working people battered by austerity, low pay, zero hours contacts & #COVID19 - Granville Williams
Fascinating clip of Journalist Mavis Nicholson speaking to three union leaders about the 1978/9 "winter of discontent" public sector workers strike, who feel that the press are treating them unfairly & misrepresenting the reality of the situation.

So what happened to Britain after Margaret Thatcher was elected?

When was the last time we saw a Government Minister having a candid discussion with Union leaders about wages & democracy on TV?

The British media has not just lost its way, but has failed in its role to inform the public & hold the powerful to account.

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More from @docrussjackson

2 Dec

In 2019, one of the USA's foremost civil liberties lawyers published a book describing how America’s constitutional checks & balances were being pushed to the brink by a president consciously following Hitler’s extremist propaganda & policy template from the early 1930s.
Imho, the rhetorical & policy similarities displayed by Boris Johnson & the UK's @Conservatives, to the ones used by the Nazis & the Trump administration, are now impossible to ignore.

British democracy is under threat.

Trump "became the twenty-first-century master of divisive rhetoric... Hitler didn’t take power by force. He used a set of rhetorical tropes codified in Trump’s bedside reading that persuaded enough Germans to welcome Hitler as a populist leader."
Read 25 tweets
2 Dec
Live facial recognition systems have been deployed across England & Wales by the police, supported by the Govt.

Combined with draconian anti-protest legislation & other antidemocratic measures, the UK increasingly resembles an authoritarian regime.

Read 4 tweets
2 Dec
#THREAD on #ToryLies.

Over the last week, Priti Patel lied about funding to tackle domestic violence, Gillian Keegan lied about Randox, Sajid Javid lied about Govt promises, Matt Hancock lied about #NHS contracts, & Boris Johnson lies all the time.

What kind of liars are they? ImageImageImageImage
This #THREAD quotes extensively from, & is based on, an article from US based "online relationship therapy platform" 'Regain' - which imho is appropriate, given the long history of Boris Johnson's affairs & failed relationships.

regain.us/advice/infidel… ImageImageImage
Defining what it means to lie & how bad it is, can be challenging: it involves questions of intent & expectation.

Clearly, when someone deliberately gives a false or misleading statement or answer to a question, this is lying, & it's a big problem - *especially* in politics. Image
Read 28 tweets
1 Dec
Interactive @YouGov tracker, asking "what are the most important issues facing the country at this time?"

Includes options such as health, immigration, crime, the economy, environment etc, with a breakdown by age, gender, politics, region & social grade.

The issues deemed most important overall (latest poll 29th November):

Health: 51%
The economy: 41%
The environment: 39%
Britain leaving the EU: 26%
Immigration & asylum: 26%
Crime: 17%
Housing: 16%
Education: 11%
Welfare benefits: 10%
Defence/security: 8%
Tax: 7%
Pensions: 7% Image
Overall, 26% think 'immigration & asylum' is the most important issue: among 8 - 24 yr olds it's just 12%, but ask the over 65s & it's 48%.

Whereas for 'the environment', it's the most important issue for 39% overall, 46% among 18-24 yr olds, & just 29% for the over 65s. Image
Read 4 tweets
1 Dec
"In 1945, Britain was the leader, not only in democratic & constitutional matters, but in building the welfare state. It was a new Jerusalem, the model for all social democracies elsewhere." - Professor Vernon Bogdanor, 2012.

"Every country would follow the National Health Service, every country would follow British methods of securing full employment, running the economy and so on, and there were predictions in the early 1950s of a new Elizabethan age. Britain was to be an example to the world."
"That was certainly the feeling of the Attlee Govt & the Churchill Govt which succeeded it. People do not feel that anymore. People are much richer than they were, of course, & they have a much wider choice. (But) is it a better world than the one we hoped for in the 1950s?"
Read 4 tweets
29 Nov
We were told markets were the solution to our problems. This was clearly a false promise.

Don't be put off by the use of the word 'woke': please listen to @ProfCarlRhodes discuss his book 'Woke Capitalism: How Corporate Morality is Sabotaging Democracy'.

soundcloud.com/bristol-univer… Image
Markets have NOT solved the problems of eg inequality, populism, transparency, racism or climate change: we urgently need a new form of leadership - one that galvanises people around a renewed democratic vision, where self-interest & profit are no longer the primary objectives.
Sympathetic book review of 'Woke Capitalism' - from the Financial Times!

"It is time to be aware of its [woke capitalism's] characteristics & political effects. It is also time to intervene to put the world on a path towards equality & justice for all." Image
Read 4 tweets

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