Saturday 30 October 2010

Unhealthy obsession with dangerous policies

I feel I must decry Ed Miliband, for his condemnation of the London firefighters strike. They are striking to defend not just their pay, conditions and jobs, but those of all public sector workers. Of course the strike is set to cause disruption - the whole idea of a strike is to have the maximum impact, in order to make the bullying bosses back off. So expecting the firefighters to postpone their strike is a bit like expecting Christmas card makers to go on strike in August :P

But my main condemnation must go to the Con Dems themselves, both in London - currently run by Boris Johnson - and nationally, who are attacking public services, including the fire brigade. And it's not surprising the fire brigade are not being taken seriously by the Con Dems, who have recently launched an attack on Health and Safety itself.

The Establishment media go out of their way to ridicule health and safety, by citing ridiculous examples - which often have little to do with health and safety, but possibly have a less savoury underlying motive (eg when cinemas used to cover up disability prejudice against people in wheelchairs by bleating 'fire risk'). Indeed, the Health & Safety Executive website even has a section dedicated to debunking many of these pernicious myths.

The real root cause of the capitalist Establishment's hostility to health and safety is that it costs money. Extra time must be taken to ensure safe practices are carried out, and investment must be made in safe equipment. But the cost of dangerous practices is far greater, in terms of human life - as the sinking in the 1980s of the Townsend Thoresen ferry Herald of Free Enterprise, and the Potters Bar train disaster, show only too well. On an international level, this year alone we have seen the environmental catastrophe caused by the Deepwater Horizon oil platform in the caribbean, and the trapping underground of Chilean miners. If the Con Dems have their way, how many more lives will be sacrificed on the bloody altar of profit?

Also of note are plans to restrict the operation of personal injury lawyers - as if workers who are injured, as a result of negligence in the pursuit of profit, ain't entitled to compensation. This is often justified by the capitalist Establishment pointing to a 'culture of litigation'. Well, if it's litigious lawsuits they really want to stop, allow me to suggest a few they could clamp down on:
  • Record and film companies suing the kegs off teenagers who file-share a few records and videos online
  • Establishment radio stations suing free (aka "pirate") radio stations for alleged 'loss of advertising revenue'
  • Draconian use of the libel laws to stifle the truth about capitalist businesses, as epitomised by the McLibel trial
  • Last but certainly not least, the anti-union laws must be repealed, to stop bosses bullying unions to end lawful and necessary strikes!
As Halloween approaches, I must say, I'm not scared of the ghosties. But I am scared of the ghoulies (typo) which the Con Dem government are talking :/

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