Today, the Conservative party confirm their plans (that if elected in 2015) they will change their future policies to drastically limit the efficacy of strike action on grounds that the current legal framework (which the upcoming strikes operate under) are not democratic and proportionate. On the same day the party announce their aims to bypass established democratic constructs to overrule a European law. This will in effect oblige telephonic communication companies to continue mass collection of personal data exchanged by their civilian clients. The process of rushing ’emergency legislation’ into law based on changes to a European law passed 6 weeks previously (plenty of time to prioritize a bill’s traditional passage through parliament). The emergency legislation however, allows the incumbent leaders of the dominant parties to bypass the democratic constructs where MP’s present, discuss and review bills before they are made into law (or rejected through the voting system). The desire to bypass democratic processes on the day when criticizing union workers, working within the law, in an attempt to limit the legal framework in which they can operate is hypocritical at best.
The significant aims of the planed restrictions are (1) to require a 50% threshold in favour of action before a strike can take place (2) to make picketing rules (limiting size and location) legally binding and thus an offence (3) limit mandated/voted actions to occur within 3 months.
The hypocrisy of this position extends if you examine both the low turnout percentage or support that sitting MPs, and party’s receive; which is never in danger of approaching the 50% mark. Similarly, the laws restricting union voting to postal ballots does not (by law) allow union action to engage with contemporary digital forms of voting as most voting system now do such as general elections.
What this signifies is the growing separation between the embodied power of citizen action to affect political decision making. This divide is increasingly pursued by the consensus at the apex of the dominant political parties, which this latest decision typifies.
This article was written in 2015 and as such is written in the context of the social and political conditions of the time