I’ve voted Tory all my life…

… said a man who took a leaflet about the strikes the other day.

On the RMT picket line this morning, we were discussing the mainstream media, how at best, they do “BBC balance”, showing you one person who does, and one who doesn’t, support the workers’ actions to force the government to do something about the Cost Of Living Crisis.

Their “best” though, is not giving the general public a realistic view. In the real world, trade union picketers and leafleteers are finding that most of the people they come across understand that the current wave of strikes are necessary and important. People understand that jobs and wages are being degraded everywhere, at the same time as prices and bills are rising, leaving many, many of us in difficulty. And most people know very well that we have a crop of politicians in Westminster who are far more interested in their own bank balance than yours and mine.

The people who are saying #EnoughIsEnough, those of us who have decided it’s time to #DemandBetter are the majority. We don’t all support the same political party, we’re not all in the same union – we’re not even all in a union (although if you aren’t, it’s a great time to join. If you’re not in work, or not in work that has an organized union presence, you can join in by joining Unite Community.) We have one thing in common – we’ve worked out that if we all join in, then between us we can make as much noise as the mainstream media do, and push some of our politicians into doing something useful.

The title of this article is a quote from the man one of the picketers spoke to today, who said…

“I’ve voted Tory all my life, but this is the worst government we’ve ever had.”

I don’t think any of the political parties currently represented in Westminster really intend to help us now – and that is proof, if it were needed, that there’s something badly wrong with our whole political system. So whoever you are, whichever party you generally support, even if you’re not political at all, it’s time to recognise that our government is not working. We need is to persuade those politicians that voters aren’t happy with their, or the media’s, attitude to the Cost Of Living Crisis. Whatever else they do and don’t care about, politicians need voters. We can force them to help us. It’s their job after all. It’s us paying their wages.

RMT at Hastings Station

The way we’re going to get our moneysworth is to support the postal and railway workers, the teachers, the nurses, the cleaners – the front-line workers who are now putting themselves at risk, losing wages to make that point.

Nurses leading a Cost of Living Crisis march in Hastings

Hastings Demands a Pay Rise banner

CWU posties in Hastings

This is the message we need to get across:

Voters know the government is not trying to save our services, or to relieve us from the Cost of Living Crisis, we know the bosses are not trying, we know the media isn’t telling it how it is. It is the striking workers who are trying to save our services, and address the crisis, and we will support them.

How do you join in?

If you’re not used to trade union action, don’t worry – you don’t have to do anything difficult – just speak up for the strikers in conversation and online – point out that they are fighting the Cost Of Living Crisis we’re all suffering from – they are fighting for all of us. Stop and have a chat when you see a picket line – let them know you support them. That really does help.

If you want to do more – well, if it’s a cold day, offer to buy someone a coffee. Maybe you could take a photo to put on your social media pages, if you have them, or ask if they have leaflets or posters you could share show your colleagues and friends. If you have enough in your pocket this week, put a few pounds in the Strike Fund.

Here’s some information about strike actions in and around Hastings in the next few weeks. See you on a picket line somewhere soon…!


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