So comrades come rally

Today millions of public sector workers are striking over pensions.

In the borough where I used to work every school bar one is closing completely or has part closures. These include faith school, academies and special schools. I know some of these head teachers would ensure their schools remained open through snow or illness and would rather snog Michael Gove than close their schools. Today however the schools are closed and the teachers striking over pension changes.

Today public sector workers are marching, rallying and picketing. Many of them will have never been on strike before but this time it feels necessary. Like those head teacher in my ex borough they want to demonstrate their anger and dissatisfaction at the pension changes. It’s indisputable that public sector pensions have to change but the changes are going too far too fast. We Love Local Government explains this far better than I.

Apart from changes to pensions I think the public sector also just wants to make its voice heard. Since the coalition government came into power they’ve constantly criticised the public sector and have branded them feckless and lazy;  greedy pension grabbers that shirk the real world of hard work for a cushy time being babysat by the state.

The government response to this day of action has been one of that teacher who says, ‘you’ve let yourself down, you’ve let the government down but most of all you’ve let the public down.’ If I were them I’d be a bit worried at the anger that has provoked such a massive walk out rather than threatening to withdraw their offer over reforms. But I guess that’s why I’m not in politics. My ego is sadly just not vast enough.

I’ve mentioned before that when I went into the public sector it wasn’t for the pensions or the perks or even the holidays. I wanted to be a teacher and make a difference in children’s lives. I felt I could best do this in the state sector.  As a new teacher of 22 I didn’t care about a pension because it felt like retirement was a million years away (it still is now that the age of retirement is getting higher and higher) and took a big chunk of my wage each month that might be better spent on having fun.

But now after a whole career spent in the public sector I’ve been left high and dry. I don’t pay into a government pension any more because that jo has gone and I have no job to strike from today. But the public sector is where my heart lies so I’m with everyone who strikes today. Good luck and maybe just maybe the government will listen for once.

‘Arise, ye workers from your slumber,
Arise, ye prisoners of want.
For reason in revolt now thunders,
and at last ends the age of cant!
Away with all your superstitions,
Servile masses, arise, arise!
We’ll change henceforth the old tradition,
And spurn the dust to win the prize!
So comrades, come rally,
And the last fight let us face.
The Internationale,
Unites the human race.’

The Internacionale

CSR Redux

The Headmaster looks on as Osborne speaks up in assembly.

I fully intended to blog about the CSR yesterday but was running training for teachers all day and as not everything went according to plan, all I could do was sit in front of the TV last night and eat cakes and dribble.

So here’s my summary of how it went.

Chancellor: Right you lot we’re going to be making lots of cuts and those with broad shoulders will take the burden of the cuts and the cuts will be FAIR.
Crowd: [mutter, mutter.]
Chancellor: We’ll need to lose almost half a million public sector jobs which is not very nice but IT’S NOT OUR FAULT. A big boy called Gordo did it and ran away.
Crowd: [grumble, grumble.]
Chancellor: To make it FAIR there will cuts across each government department because we don’t want to bully anyone in particular. Did I mention it was FAIR and IT’S NOT OUR FAULT?
Crowd: [foment, foment, revolt, revolt.]
Speaker: Right that’s it. It’s not my time you’re wasting. I could sit here all day but if you want to have any playtime left you’d better stop that muttering and listen or you’ll all be in detention.
Chancellor: We’ll be handing over the decisions about redundancies to local authorities. That way it will all be FAIR because the overpaid senior executives will be the ones in charge of the cull and I’m sure they will all take huge pay cuts themselves while ensuring that those on lower salaries are protected because we have to make cuts and IT’S NOT OUR FAULT. You see there was this big boy called Gordo and he’s the one what done it.
Crowd: [mutter, mutter.]
Speaker: What did I tell you about muttering, class?
Chancellor: And we’re overhauling the benefits system to get people back into jobs cos we don’t want any unemployed layabouts.
Crowd: [simmer, simmer]
Chancellor: What’s that, crowd? What jobs? Well I’m sure something will turn up.
Evan Davies: Do you have a plan B, Chancellor?
Chancellor: Oh it’s you Davies. Didn’t I flush your head down the bog in the lower fourth?
Evan Davies: Just answer the question, Chancellor: do you have a plan B?
Chancellor: we don’t need a plan B because it will all be fine and anyway IT’S NOT OUR FAULT because a big boy called Gordo did it and ran away.
Evan Davies: Plan B, Chancellor, Plan B do you have a Plan B? Tell me if you have a Plan B, a Plan B is essential do you have one, do you? [dribble, dribble.]
Chancellor: May we go out to play now please, Speaker?
Speaker: Very well but don’t forget your coats, it’s chilly out there. And play nicely. Davies? See me after class.

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