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Money for nothing and your beer for free


Probably the best strike in the world: beer manufacturers in Denmark have gone on strike because their bosses have changed a rule that allowed them to drink as much beer as they liked throughout the working day. Under new regulations workers are now only allowed to drink at lunchtime.

“We were not consulted,” slurred a union spokesman before adding, “We have never had a problem with accidents or anything involving alcohol” and “I love you, you’re my best friend”.

It’s the principle of the thing I suppose. One day you can drink all the beer you want while you work, the next you can only drink all the beer you want at lunchtime. And did anyone discuss this draconian attempt to cut down on free beer and people constantly running to the toilet? Nope. They just went and did it.

‘Nurses rarely protect their “rights” to a lunch break or pay progression. They may quietly moan but ultimately they will absorb change rather than confront it’

It would be a bit like nurses being told that they were not allowed to take proper lunch breaks, or had to work bank holidays, or had to tolerate a pay freeze. Hard to imagine I know, but if that happened nurses would surely strike
like beer producers. Single minded in their outrage, determined to draw a line around what is acceptable and what is unacceptable. Boy, would there be a strike. Wouldn’t there? Wasn’t there?

Of course nurses rarely protect their “rights” to a lunch break or pay progression. They may quietly moan now and then, and I know some nurses who could win cynicism medals for Britain should cynicism ever find its way into the Olympics. But, ultimately, either nurses are too nice to confront any erosion in their working conditions, or they feel too deep a responsibility to the patients and services they work for to do anything other than absorb change rather than confront it.

So far this election campaign has been predictable and dull. Lots of name calling and some tub thumping. Maybe there isn’t much to choose between the self serving rabble that call themselves politicians. Maybe it’s hard to see what any of these people actually believe because they are so desperate for your vote. But underneath the posturing and the promises, there are one or two warnings that perhaps signal that something unnerving and even dark might be happening.

One of the proposals the Tories have made is to freeze public sector pay and claw back some of the deficit by making unspecified cuts. Meanwhile, they plan to give a £1.2bn inheritance tax cut to the richest 2 per cent in Britain and to end the 50p top rate of tax, giving another £2.4bn to the richest 1 per cent. They also plan to cut taxes on the pensions of the rich, which will hand them another £3.2bn. Essentially, while the responsible working people will be asked to absorb the difficulties of a messy economy, the richest - they are the blustery ones shouting loudly about their financial needs - will be presented with money for nothing.

I don’t have much time for any politicians. But servicing the undeserving rich at the expense of public services? That isn’t just bad politics - it is immoral.


Readers' comments (2)

  • A very good argument for the Labour vote, and if Labour were to introduce free beer all day, well enough said!

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  • Well said Mark!

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