The Trade Union Bill – an attempt by the Tories to entrench themselves in power

You might think that 18th Century British politics is not an obvious starting point for an analysis of the current Tory Government’s Trade Union Bill.

Here’s why I think it is.

David Cameron and George Osborne have taken inspiration from the Whig Supremacy the period 1715 – 1760 when the Whigs took total control of Government and during which time they successfully purged their political opponents from all major positions in Government, the armed forces, the Church and the legal system. Whig leaders such as Robert Walpole, and his protégé, Henry Pelham, set about entrenching themselves in power and a key tool was the Septennial Act, when they extended the Parliamentary term from three years to seven.

Not since Walpole have we seen a Government so determined to entrench themselves in power. Today, three hundred years later, we have a Prime Minister intent upon doing just that EVEL, the boundary review, and the Trade Union Bill are clear examples. They each seek, albeit shrouded with different intent, to undermine the ability of the Labour Party to win future elections.

The Trade Union Bill is a clear attack on the ability of Trade Unions to organise and represent their members. It seeks to undermine the right to strike  a key tenet of our legal system. But it also, seeks to make it much harder for Trade Unions to fund the Labour Party, or indeed any Party of their choosing.

This is an attack on democracy. It is a clear attempt by the Government to undermine the electoral prospects of Her Majesty’s Opposition in the House of Lords debate on 11th January, the Tory Lord Balfe hit the nail on the head when he said: “We should think carefully about our responsibilities to democracy, which actually go further than our responsibilities to one or other side of the House”

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