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

Friday, 4 January 2013

Paranoia of the Tory Class Warriors

At the 2012 Tory Party Conference Local Government Minister Eric Pickles made a speech which verged on self-parody in its Cold War zeal: ‘...without constant vigilance - the cigar-chomping Commies will take over. Well, that isn't going to happen on my watch. After more than two years in government, I've learnt that cigar-chomping Commies come in many guises.’ It would be a mistake to consider Pickles as an isolated crank. Look no further than a Telegraph article yesterday titled ‘Fighting back against the Left-wing guerrillas’ by Sean Worth who until June was David Cameron’s special adviser, based in 10 Downing Street:

Worth now runs the Better Public Services Project at the right wing Policy Exchange ‘think tank’ and his Telegraph article rails against opponents of Con Dem public sector reform - particularly campaigners who are encouraging local people to exercise their democratic rights to participate in the local consultative structures which provide a fig leaf of democracy concealing the break-up of universal public services.

Trapped in a Cold War bubble like Pickles, Worth advocates that the Con Dem Government should use counter insurgency methods formulated by the British military in the aftermath of protracted imperial wars in Malaya and Vietnam:

‘Which brings us back to the analogy of guerrilla warfare. The most effective answer to dealing with that was developed by a free-thinking British Army officer, Robert Thompson, in the Sixties. Unlike the rest of the top brass of his time, Thompson understood that, ultimately, the battle for the hearts and minds of ordinary people was far more important than endlessly chasing after the guerrillas themselves or appealing to intellectual elites. The lesson applies more than ever in politics today’

In 1949 the then US Secretary of Defence, James Forrestal was reported to have said, "The Russians are coming, the Russians are coming. They're right around. I've seen Russian soldiers!" Later that same year he committed suicide by jumping out a hospital window.

That we have Conservative politicians and lobbyists with a similar unhinged mentality calling the shots on Government policy shows the scale of the threat to public services in the UK.