At the End of the Day

mesmile Call me a daft old fish, but something tells me that Tim Roache – the General Secretary of the GMB Trade Union – doesn’t approve of Brexit. Here and there in yesterday’s press release from the Union about May’s White Paper were occasional hints, clues and Dave Spartisms that lead me to this stick-neck-out conclusion. It was, I suspect, my unerring hack’s nose for tone and manner giveaways that, let’s be clear about this, gave him away:

‘Today’s white paper borders on a fairy tale, a lack of detail so glaring that another white paper has already been promised to try and paper over the cracks, still waiting for the government to tell us the impact on jobs and wages of leaving the single market. Either they have no idea what they are doing and are playing fast and loose with people’s livelihoods – or the truth is too awful to share, not a single reference to the NHS, Brexit should not mean a fire sale of public assets, If they mean what they say, they’ll put their money where their mouth is and put guarantees into legislation,  We cannot allow Brexit to mean a bargain basement for workers’ rights’

The relief I felt when the standard word ‘ENDS’ appeared was invigorating. The certainty of the word – with its promise that there wouldn’t be ‘and another thing’  – allowed me to breathe out at last without fear of becoming a rant-reader unto eternity.

The sad thing is he’s right – the Paper is a load of old woffle – but his ability to drag every issue since Magna Carta into the heat of his kitchen in order to provide company for the sink was beyond tedious. We didn’t leave the EU to save the NHS or reverse the privatisation programme (although I’d like to do all of the first and some of the second) but for myself, one reason I voted for Brexit as that Mario Draghi has made it clear – with words from his own seven-sided mouth – that a bargain basement for workers’ wages is exactly what he wants….and the sooner the better.

But we shouldn’t be surprised, for Red Roache is not really a trade unionist, he’s a politician – or to be more exact, an ideologist. It gets harder and harder these days to discern the truth of anything, but the veracity of my conclusion on this issue is based on the blokes life history, not bigoted assertion.

For Tim has never had a proper job in his life.

He grew up in London, where his father was a shop steward on the docks. In 1979, he began work in the postroom of the GMB, over time being promoted to become a legal officer, then an organiser, and then a regional officer.

His main claim to fame is that, in 2009, he led a strike of refuse workers…the longest strike in the history of the GMB. I bet the voters of Leeds enjoyed that one.

However, this factoid is a belter: Roache called the strike because the Council wanted to equalise male and female rates for the job.

A fortnight ago, on 23rd January 2017, Leeds Council announced a decision to slash collections and employee numbers involved in refuse disposal.

So as can see, Tim’s long-term strategy to raise wage levels and create jobs went almost as well as the one vaunted by Scameron and Unborne.

But let us not write Tim Roache off as an unelected Union Boss of the old school: he was elected General Secretary and Treasurer of the GMB in November 2015, receiving a whopping 56.7% of the vote.

This resounding outcome was based on 4.2% of those entitled to vote.


Despite that niche success, Tim Roache has been persistently voluble on the subject of “the Tories’ unacceptable 25% mandate to rule”.

As I have been known to opine on several occasions before, hype in 2017 is the unwanted child of hyperbole’s violent gang rape by hypocrisy.

A person from Exeter keeps harassing me on email about my dislike of the term Human Rights. She is of course entitled so to do, given that I am silly enough to display an email address at The Slog for anyone who wishes to abuse it. However, I thought it might be pertinent to explain for any interested neutrals why the term irritates me. I list the reasons below in reverse order of importance.

First, it has become one of those robotic descriptions that the Mob uses without ever having given a moment’s thought to what on Earth it means.

Second, it is a standard piece of Homo sapiens hubris, in that it suggests we – an insignificant thuggish species on one tiny speck of Galactic dust – have rights because we’re here. What about the millions of other species who are here?

Third – and connected to the preceding points – until society developed, none of us had any rights whatsoever to so much as enjoy regular bowel movements and something to eat. For the first 800,000 years we didn’t have the right to fire, clean water, disposable razors, deodorant or languages – let alone the right to a fair trial, the vote or public bloody parks.

None of us have any human rights. The only thing we have is civil rights….and these are conditional, not absolute.

Joining together with others of our species in communities mean that – in surrendering our right to kill Grannie because she shuffles her feet and has a runny nose – we are entitled to civil rights. We join in with society to enjoy the benefits of cooperation, healthcare, gainful employment, friendship, getting pissed down the Piglet & Petrol Station and so forth. But if we maim, kill, steal, bear false witness and torture children, we lose the rights to civil rights. If you are perpetually uncivil and anti social in civil society, whyTF should you expect anything else?

This novel-writing lark is not as easy as it sounds. Five days into the mission, I have written 7,790 words.

So far, I’ve set the character hares running. That’s the easy bit. Next comes how they drive the plot. Then, how the plot resolves.

Don’t hold your breath waiting for its publication.