The other thing we can do now is to try to support those, like the unions and the judiciary, who are trying to fight the increasing roll back of little things like democracy and the rule of law. I confess to some change of heart in this respect. I used to feel that the RMT were basically very little different to people like Rupert Murdoch and Boris Johnson, in that they were trying to protect their own whilst not caring about what damage they caused to others. I disliked them intensely, although I always had a soft spot for Bob Crowe on the grounds that he made his points well and cogently, and also because he owned cats, and liking cats is always the royal road to my heart.
I am not sure that I have entirely changed this opinion. The RMT does seem to have a bit of a penchant for striking just because a supervisor looked at one of their members funny, and Bob Crowe, alas, has gone. Having said that, they and the other unions are one of the few pillars of the liberal, for want of a better word, establishment currently fighting the good fight against the right wing tide for the rights of those who are not wealthy and powerful to have at least a tiny bit of the cake. The unions need to be supported when they say that it’s actually not ok to treat human beings like replaceable automatons who should pay to work and be grateful for the chance, who have no say or autonomy in what they do or how or when they do it, and to whom their employers bear no obligation at all, not even the obligation to pay them.
That being said, it’s easy to support the unions when they bring cases against Uber to force them to give their drivers sick pay; it’s harder when you’re affected by one of their strikes. I am lucky in that I am only very remotely affected by the current wave of strikes, but on Monday mornings when there is a strike on Southern Rail and the Northern Line is packed with Southern refugees, meaning that I don’t get a seat for my twenty minute journey, a first world problem if ever I heard one, I will avoid cursing the RMT. I will remember instead that they are fighting the good fight against the desire of the right to dismantle all worker protection, including the unions themselves, so that their rapacious exploitation can proceed unopposed, and I will hate the government, who could easily stop the strikes by forcing the employers back to the table if it didn’t have the ulterior motive of destroying the last bastion of working people’s champions, instead.