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This Summer of Discontent lark is starting to get silly. Everyone wants in on the act. Yesterday, it was the turn of British Airways workers to threaten walkouts over the school holidays. As if the airports aren’t hellish enough as it is.
The railways are in chaos, teachers, doctors and nurses are gearing up for strikes, and now the postmen are kicking off, along with dustmen, bus drivers and just about everyone else employed by local government. Soon the whole country will be on strike.
How long before millions of people currently ‘working from home’ decide to down Hobnobs and join in? Zoom screens will be turned off, mobile phones switched to silent mode.
Mums will refuse to cook dinner unless they get an inflation-busting increase in their housekeeping budget. Dad will stop mowing the lawn in protest at the rising cost of running the Flymo. The kids won’t tidy their rooms unless they get a 100 per cent increase in their pocket money.
The police are prevented by law from going on strike, but since they’ve largely given up patrolling the streets and refuse to investigate anything apart from internet ‘hate speech’, to all intents and purposes they withdrew their labour years ago.
Same goes for dustmen, I suppose. In most areas they only collect the rubbish once every three weeks, so it could be the best part of a month before anyone realises they’ve walked out.
Britain could be shut down permanently. The rail strikes have already plunged our major towns and cities back into Covid-style lockdown.
At this rate, it will be easier for TV and radio presenters to read out a list of people still working, rather than reciting the daily roll call of those on strike.
No sector is immune. Even barristers are planning to down wigs and picket courts across the country next week in support of a demand for a minimum 25 per cent wage increase.
Maybe Labour leader Keir Starmer QC will have to climb down from his precarious perch on the fence and stage a show of solidarity with his fellow legal eagles by joining a picket line outside the High Court
Leaders of the Criminal Bar Association have voted not to accept any new cases until they receive a large hike in legal aid payments, despite being warned that any such action could amount to professional misconduct and lead to them being fined or disbarred.
Maybe Labour leader Keir Starmer QC will have to climb down from his precarious perch on the fence and stage a show of solidarity with his fellow legal eagles by joining a picket line outside the High Court in the Strand. Starmer, a former Director of Public Prosecutions, is said to sympathise with junior lawyers in particular, who complain they are struggling to make ends meet.
I guess it was only a matter of time before barristers wanted a piece of the industrial action.
Over recent decades, the Bar has increasingly dressed to the Left, regularly indulging in judicial activism to further the woke agenda. No wonder some of these expensively educated, privileged practitioners have embraced the cult of victimhood.
TV these days portrays lawyers as feisty female seekers of social justice, rather than crusty, gravy-stained Old Bailey hacks. Maxine Peake, the actress who played barrister Martha Costello in the BBC series Silk, was a proud Corbynista in real life.
If they ever remade Rumpole today, he’d be a member of that yuman rites chamber co-founded by Cherie Blair and instead of defending petty criminals like the South London Timson family, he’d be appearing before the Supreme Court trying to overturn Brexit or prevent the deportation of foreign rapists and terrorists.
This Summer of Discontent lark is starting to get silly. Everyone wants in on the act.
Even Arthur Scargill was seen on the picket line – evoking memories of the miners’ strike
Horace would be leading the strike next week, picketing Equity Court with the full support of the lovely Portia, livid at the mounting cost of small cigars and bottles of Chateau Thames Embankment. While a ghetto blaster pumps out the Strawbs singing (You Don’t Get Me I’m) Part Of The Union.
Rampant inflation now means that the Rumpoles can only afford to run one bar of the electric fire in their draughty mansion flat and She Who Must Be Obeyed has been forced to cut down on her once extensive use of Vim and is reduced to accepting hand-outs from the food bank outside Gloucester Road Underground station, currently closed because of the RMT strike.
The Lord Chief Justice is warning that a walkout by barristers would bring the legal system to a grinding halt and could lead to a backlog of 60,000 cases in crown courts alone.
Still, look on the bright side. If there aren’t any barristers to represent the constant flow of illegal cross-Channel migrants landing in Kent every day, maybe that plane to Rwanda will finally be able to take off.
Provided the airline’s not on strike.
Thank goodness Sharron has got some balls
Bathing caps off to Sharron Davies, who has won her brave campaign to stop trans swimmers who have been through male puberty from taking part in women’s competitions.
In the process she had to suffer vile abuse and death threats from the deranged minority of increasingly violent and vocal trans activists.
But Sharron’s made of sterner stuff and was determined to prevail after missing out on Olympic gold in 1980, finishing behind an East German woman with a five o’clock shadow who had been pumped full of testosterone and steroids.
At least that East German started out all-female. Today, some trans athletes with male physical attributes are demanding to compete against females, giving them an unfair advantage and making a mockery of women’s sport.
Let’s hope Sharron’s landmark victory leads to other sports bodies finding some backbone in the face of unreasonable pressure from the minuscule trans lobby. In the dim and distant, I worked on a couple of TV shows with Sharron and found her delightful and committed.
Last time out she had taught herself juggling to raise money for charity. Trans activists may smear Sharron as a Terf, but she’s proved she’s a Terf with balls.
The Church of Scotland has apologised for the ‘historical persecution’ of thousands of woman accused of being witches. Does that include Wee Burney?
In yesterday’s Mail, I reminisced about some of the industrial disputes on the railways which I covered as a young labour correspondent. One of daftest was when the drivers’ union ASLEF (aka Asleep) demanded that stokers, who found themselves redundant when coal-powered steam trains were phased out, must still be employed in the cabs of the new electric trains.
So I was amused to discover subsequently that Network Rail’s chief negotiator in the current unrest is called Tim Shoveller.
TV psychologist Jo Hemmings is suing a Harley Street cosmetic surgeon for £35,000 after a facelift which left her with ‘pixie ears’. The good news is that if they ever remake Star Trek, she’s nailed on for the part of Mrs Spock.
The Wild North-West
As if Blackpool hasn’t got enough problems, the local council has removed a popular Wild West-themed display from the famous Illuminations.
Even though just two people took offence because it features six Red Indians dancing round a totem pole, it was deemed ‘racist’ and therefore had to be dragged off to the happy hunting ground. Blackpool’s tourism industry is in terminal decline, but it is sitting on vast resources of shale gas and oil which, if fracked, could turn it into a boom town and bring down Britain’s crippling energy bills.
Never mind the Wild West, what Blackpool needs is to become Texas-on-Sea.
When I heard that Boris had been taken into hospital for a routine but essential operation, I naturally assumed that Carrie had insisted on him having a vasectomy.