Wee Scoops

Measure for Measure

Striking Opinion Vacuum

My union have called on me to strike tomorrow over proposed changes to pensions.

I usually have an opinion about everything. The issue of pension changes loses me within seconds. I have found that everyone I spoke to had compelling arguments. Which was fine until I heard the compelling arguments of someone else who opposed their views. When you end up with no strong feeling either way, why would one strike, if the point of a strike is to make a point?

Perhaps my main problem is my poor numeracy. Talk of percentages and interest and years and losing money don’t really mean anything in my head in real terms. The phrase “lump sum” I think of as a great example of assonance, and little else.

I like to think I know how many beans make five. Five? And it turns out the whole world actually didn’t know how many beans made five. They lent all the beans to people who had no concept of the value of a bean, or that fact that beans would have to be paid back at some point in the future. And then, hey, there were no beans after all, let alone five, and all the beans people thought they had shrank and were lost.

And now there just aren’t five beans any more.

Which is why it makes sense to me that pensions should be … cut? adjusted? Based on the reality we are in, rather than the reality we used to think we were in (but weren’t)? As someone who has taken three maternity leaves in the last decade I will be hit by the cuts. But then, I figure, I didn’t go into work for three out of ten years. Why should someone who worked every day not get credit for that? Why should my stints in front of “Murder She Wrote” be subsidised forty years later by everyone else?

If the terms and conditions become so bad, I think I’d rather resign and do something else. If it wasn’t worth my while going in to work, I wouldn’t go into work. I would tutor, teach violin, clean, work in a cafe, paint, write….be skint….  The problem comes if all you want to do is your public sector job, but you feel that you are hard done by if you keep your public sector job and the terms and conditions that go with it. But would things be any better in the private sector? Probably not.

Back to the beans. They just aren’t there.

So, should I go into a rant about who put how many beans where?

I remember back in the pre-recession days, watching those “consolidate-your-loans-into-one-manageable-monthly-payment” ads and thinking how completely immoral they were. Conning people into huge pay-back schemes, just to give them a little breathing space. The world was borrowing mad.  I used to wonder how it all balanced out. And it didn’t. Borrow, borrow, borrow – hey, huge deficit!

People feel threatened with the pension changes. They feel betrayed. They feel as if the goalposts have been moved. But I think they have moved. And we have to deal with that.

All sort of rogue debt black-holes are getting bailed out. Banks, countries… why not the public sector? Then again, why not the private sector, whose pensions have fallen away also?

That’s enough from me for now.

*dons helmet, ducks into trench, awaits…whatever*


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12 thoughts on “Striking Opinion Vacuum

  1. Do you know the song, “I Think That All Grown-ups Have Beans in Their Ears”? Made me think of it.
    So sorry for your troubles. We knew it was a house of cards, though. Even those at the top who seemed so unintelligent, were really just thinking of self and hoping to escape before the house fell.
    We’ve all be sold down river.

  2. theotheri on said:

    The way you put it is a refreshing read. It’s more or less the way it looks to me too. Yes, the goal posts have been moved; yes, people are being asked to bear the burden for the lies they were told and the convenient. if occasionally sincere, mistakes of governments. Yes, they were promised what cannot now be delivered.

    But the beans just aren’t there. My mother promised me it wouldn’t rain on my birthday party. Now it’s raining. My crying or having a temper tantrum and saying it’s not fair won’t make the rain stop. And strikes won’t create any more beans. They will just take them out of somebody else’s pocket, and if that pocket belongs to a private sector worker, s/he probably already has fewer beans than the public sector worker.

    Unless he’s a banker, of course. But if we take too many of the beans out of his pocket, he’ll just move to another country, so we won’t get too many of his beans anyway.

  3. I really like the way you put it simply. I see that here our republicans are bent on destroying the remaining strong unions which are the public sector, our loss of unions here have meant that during the time the upper management have been making enormous salaries, bonuses and stock options, the middle class has seen their wages decline which has only become obvious because the housing bubble exploded and the only value that the middle class had is now worthless. This is not what or how I envisioned my comment, I’m just here to say how much I like your post!

  4. My Gran and Pops help found the Co-operative Labour Party.
    My father was a shop steward. Bolshie credentials established? (I`m prole-ier than thou.)
    They would tell you (as they told me) striking hurts the striker most.
    The best strike I ever heard of was in Portugal many years ago.
    The bus drivers turned up for work but did not gather fares. Wily monkeys.
    The world must change. Most people are not good at change.
    I know I`m no help but it has been nice “talking”.

  5. It’s a tough one. We support the cuts, even though we on benefits will be hard hit as well. There isn’t a bottonless pit of money.

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