Controlling the news

Vince Cable’s office announced (Monday 6th June) in advance that there could be further restrictions on unions if they take disruptive industrial action over pensions this autumn.  Why in advance of his speech, why not let the speech happen and then be reported? But that’s not the modern way. Early release means you control the space. The unions on the other hand would prefer the shop floor meeting, the local ballot, the simple majority, the sway of oratory rather than heated argument in a largely right-wing national press. Pension reform is inevitable and so I can’t support union action. But I can share their frustration as not just the means of protest but the means of argument are taken away from them. Union leaders may still find some sympathy from the Mirror but their members are as likely to read the Sun, the Star, the Mail, the Express… so it’s hard to get their opinion across and that in its way contributes to their militancy. If there’s no forum for discussion and the opposition try and shout you down, you shout back.

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