Autumn curtain raisers to winter of discontent

After a month of gloomy previews the UK’s autumn political season is launched, with Gordon “now it’s personal” Brown going melodramatic and staging a cabinet show in Birmingham rep before the warm-up of the TUC annual conference. The unions are staking much on a revival of a spectacular flop with echoes of Shakespeare, a winter of discontent. For once, the programme notes from the right wing Daily Mail and centre left Mirror are chiming together, yes, it’s that serious. Conservative leading supporting player George Osborne comes out with an interesting one-hander, a clear warning to his fellow actors that plans for future Tory all-singing, all-dancing spectaculars face real cuts and may be assessed by an independent panel. Finally that fringe performer Frank Field comes out with a piece that many would like to perform but few have the nerve- a zero net cut in immigration. The season promises to be the most turbulent for a generation. But does the political hoop-la reflect reality among the people? Behind the political show boating lies real fear. “With inflation at 4.4 per cent, a 16-year high, workers are being given pay rises as low as one per cent while others receive no increase at all despite earning close to the minimum wage.”

A sharp cut in immigration is backed by 81% of Labour voters, 83% of Liberal Democrats and 89% of Conservatives, found the (YouGov) survey, commissioned on the group’s behalf by think tank Migrationwatch UK. Frank Field explains his plans

“The government would wish to ensure applicants’ qualifications were genuine. These workers would then be admitted, but only for a maximum of four years. They would come to the UK on that clear understanding. Employers would have to produce evidence that workers had left at the end of their contracts. No departure, no approval for new contracts.”

Can they really make companies responsible for this? Like many of Field’s ideas, these are too complex and have unintended consequences. But what this signifies is that a serious debate about immigration is over. All it’s about now is the best way of controlling it.

Overall, people are beginning to realise that a financial crisis is like floods. You can take emergency measures but they won’t stop it happening. And maybe you shouldn’t have been there in the first place, down in the flood plain of over-spending. We’ll be lucky to get through this winter without mass protests or worse.

  • Ann

    Back me or sack me? Are we really back to that again? And if they do get rid of McBroon will there be another unelected primeminister? Democracy in action under unliebour?

    My God he’s certainly making it personal if he brings into play at the conference the death of his daughter. Is there no limit to what people use as political leverage? An emotional speech won’t cut it, even if they all leave the conference with not a dry eye in the place, what about those families suffering dire economic hardship, who cannot afford the roof over their heads and cannot afford to heat their homes for their children and elderly. couple that with the effects of the recent floods and where will Gordons emotional speech be then?

    As for the immigration debate, well I look forward to see what the others say on this matter. Are we all xenophobic if we agree with 81% of labour voters who want to see a cut or stop to uncontrolled immigration…?

  • Jean Baudrillard

    This bit of research on UK house prices published by Savills at the weekend seems to have been overlooked by the local media.

    It predicts that Northern Ireland’s house prices won’t return to their 2007 values until 2018.

    Are any local politicans considering the implications for the local economy of a housing market that may be dead for almost a decade?

  • Jean Baudrillard

    Sorry – should be been ‘2016’.

  • nineteensixtyseven

    I hope the unions give Brown hell. They’ve been very passive over the last number of years, paying money to Labour when no one else would but Labour has done very little for working people and they have every right to be angry.

  • Any politician that come upwith”no more boom or bust”should be sacked on the spot.The way Brown was going on you would think that former chancellors had wanted busts(no not that type of bust).For his famous catchphrase alone its goodbye Gordon you are the weakest link!