UNISONActive is an unofficial blog produced by UNISON activists for UNISON activists. Bringing news, briefings and events from a progressive left perspective.

Saturday, 11 August 2012

The art of talking a good fight

As the London 2012 Olympics draws to a close it is worth recalling the blanket media coverage given to the views of Unite leader Len McCluskey back in February when he intimated that the tactic of civil disobedience might be deployed to disrupt the Olympics “the idea the world should arrive in London and have these wonderful Olympic Games as though everything is nice and rosy in the garden is unthinkable"

Perhaps only gullible Guardian journalists took these views literally at the time but nonetheless Len McCluskey used the Olympics build up to project popular opposition to the devastating effects of cuts in jobs, public services and the welfare state.

All unions do this stuff. The GMB is perenially prone at conference time to talk up its intentions to deliver a knockout blow to Labour funding and the next UNISON strike is always likely to be the biggest and most historic since the 1926 General Strike, 1984/85 Miners Strike etc.

In an era of 24/7 news and superficial celebrity culture, any column inches or air time secured for the union message is an achievement. And in order to be heard that message must pack a punch.

But actions speak louder than words and, unless unions begin to follow through militant talk with militant deeds, eventually the credibility of the trade union movement will be called into question.