Tactics demeaned our democracy

01 July 2016

The EU referendum – and the long campaign to 23 June – is finally over but, having been at the eye of the storm, as one of the few unions which declared for out – of the EU, not Europe, there is a difference – I have to say I was disappointed by the tactics employed by politicians. Every debate, discussion, rally or forum I attended that was organised by trade unions or civil society was dignified, data-based, and often conducted with great humour. But the fear tactics and misinformation propagated by the right-wing press, and both sides of the Tory Party, as well as that horrendous UKIP poster, demeaned our democracy.


The disenfranchising of 1 million young people by the government in an attempt to keep the Tories in power is a farce while £9 million of taxpayers’ money to place a leaflet putting one side of the EU debate through every household is, apparently, not a sign of bias. The referendum should have been about where a better future lies for Britain. Shame, then, it cannot be measured that way.


The dirty tactics employed by GTR Southern, which are a matter of public record, taking away colleagues’ terms and conditions, and encouraging them to go against their union, has resulted in a letter from the RMT general secretary thanking our members for allowing them to park at their homes and giving them lifts when the company removes staff travel and car parking from them. The government has not removed the contract from GTR despite it being in default, and its ever increasing failures. David Brown, the boss, has had his pay packet increased to £2 million which is more than the company pays in performance penalties and Claire Perry, the Rail Minister, has taken to quoting our members’ comments, from conference, as DfT officials declare war on us. They created this problem: it’s not really about DOO, it’s about dwell times; when will they ever tell the truth?


There are politicians of all parties I respect, and get on be condoned. We send our condolences to the family and friends of Jo Cox who enriched our Parliament and touched many lives locally, nationally and internationally.

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