Analysis comment

Video: you’d never guess from UK media – France just had 59th weekend of protests v pension cuts and in general strike

Think they don’t want us to catch on that not accepting cuts to our entitlements and living standards is an option?

Last weekend saw French people stage huge protests against the Macron government’s plans to slash their pension entitlements.

It was the 59th consecutive weekend of such protests.

December has also seen the country in a state of ‘grève interprofessionel’ – a general strike – across a wide range of professions, from the nations’s rail-workers to the Paris Opéra’s ballet dancers.

The scale of the protests and strike have been huge, with around 800,000 workers participating in the strike and massive crowds on the streets in Paris and elsewhere. And the government’s response has descended into brutality:

Yet – after a mention or two at the beginning of the strike – coverage on the Establishment media, if any, has largely been limited to reports on train cancellations that might affect UK travellers going on Christmas or New Year breaks.

Second worst in the world

The UK has the second-worst projected state pension to working income ratio of any OECD country:

Source: OECD 2019

Yet we pay more than many for those meagre pensions, including our European neighbours:

Source: OECD 2019

And the government has already started trailing plans to make us pay more out of our wages toward care costs, reducing even further what people can afford to pay into additional pension schemes even for those lucky enough to be working and earning enough to do so.

In other areas, such as the treatment of the nation’s vulnerable and poor, the Tories are so appalling that they have been condemned by the United Nations for breaching human rights and for inflicting misery that could easily have been avoided at almost no cost. Even the DWP’s own civil servants had to admit that the UN report was accurate.

Just a few miles across the Channel, people are resisting the kind of changes that have been inflicted on the people of the UK for decades – taking us to the bottom of the world table in all kinds of areas – and the Establishment is keeping very quiet about it.

You’d almost think they don’t want us realising that the things they tell us are necessary or unavoidable are not and can be fought…

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  1. There was very little press coverage of a recent major victory by the FBU against the DWP. Were they trying to hide this from us.
    The ruling will not only affect 6000 firefighters who would have had to save an extra £19,000 to offset such cuts but also applies to schemes for the NHS, civil service, local government, teachers, police, armed forces and the judiciary. This will leave the new government with a £4 billion bill.

    1. Although this article was posted only recently the issue about detrimental changes to pension scheme rules being age discriminatory was decided this time last year. In Dec 2018 the Court of Appeal ruled that changing pension rules in a way which adversely affected younger people was unlawful age discrimination because the government had failed to provide EVIDENCE that its actions were proportionate and therefore lawful.
      The government sought leave to appeal this decision but this was refused. Then last summer they announced (VERY quietly) that they accepted the ruling and would remove the discriminatory pension provisions from all public sector pension schemes.
      This was a great victory for the FBU and also the judges whose case was heard jointly with the Firefighters. ( Different tribunals had heard both cases and reached different decisions so the Court of Appeal had to decide which decision was right)
      The outcome of this decision will cost the government billions every year for the foreseeable future.
      If you want further information google McCloud and Sargeant Court of Appeal

      1. Note the noises from the ‘government’ about bridling the role of the judiciary.

        First of all ….. etc.

      2. Yes RH Decisions like this made when T May was PM and the refusal to grant leave to appeal was/is undoubtedly upsetting the Tories. They were probably furious about the refusal to grant this but it was the right decision – proportionality is commonly referred to as “objective justification” evidence being essential to establish that the justification is based on”objective” criteria.. An appeal would therefore have been futile but they wanted to have a go regardless wasting further public money in their determination to cut public sector pension entitlements.

      3. edit
        Apologies RH and others
        In the second last sentence delete “every year for the foreseeable future.”
        The second last sentence should read
        The outcome of this decision will cost the government billions.

  2. And it will get far worse by leaving the EU. Talk about the least well off cutting their own throats, they’ve seen nothing yet!

  3. It’s not just the strikes that go unmentioned. You get marvellous front page pieces bigging up the HK fascists and deploring the brutal police tactics of arresting people when they try to burn down buildings or beat up and even kill people they suspect of being anti their protest. Meanwhile in Paris the police use a variety of weapons that really do take people’s eyes out or cause amputations – but not a whisper here. On the inside pages you’ll find laconic news reports of 100’s shot dead by police in Iran, Iraq and Chile. If Extinction Rebellion had covered their faces the police would have demanded they be removed or arrests would be made. Whether it was an old colonial law or not the UK has it’s own updated law about face coverings enacted in 1994. Extinction Rebellion were not up for a frontal assault like the students in HK. It’s clear some right wingers are having second thoughts about HK. Where does their expensive breathing equipment come from? If groups of young masked arsonists operated pop up arson attacks all over London I wonder what the government would do? Probably institute a shoot to kill policy as the only chance of defeating such a movement. The coming years will offer many opportunities for similar movements here, when laws are passed ‘banning’ strikes in the transport industry for example or the failure to provide houses for the population let alone a decent education and good health.

      1. No I mean the ‘democracy’ protesters who wave the American and British flags saying they want to return to British rule! Deliberately provoking extreme reaction by arson and street violence is an old fascist trick. Remember the Maiden Movement that fought for ‘democracy’ in Kiev using the same tactic?

      2. RH Your ignorance of the Chinese and their Government is breathtakingly. ignorant. You rely on the British press for your false perception of whats going on in that part of Asia were the banksters fund revolution and the CIA stir the pot with British help.The very same people you oppose in Palestine… your moal compass in HK is selective.and needs re setting.

      3. No, Joseph, your usual simplistic one-eyed manichean dualism blinds you and makes *you* ignorant.

        The fact that the the US and UK have a history of imperial ambition, and that HK was a colony, doesn’t minimise the imperial and oppressive nature of the capitalism of the Chinese state itself.

        As to the HK protesters – they are a mixed bag of individuals and motives. But that doesn’t taint the quite normal desire to get out from under the aegis of an oppressive state.

      4. I’ll take Chinese oppression any day. Because you know where you stand.

        Take the recent banker sentenced to death, postponed for two years pending good behaviour IE, paying the stolen money back, earning a life sentence instead. When have you seen this in the West?

        Let’s take the propaganda about Muslim re-education in China. I doubt you’ll have noticed that the biggest voices concerning this are the biggest killers of Muslims globally.

        As for Hong Kong, they are fools. The yanks don’t care about them, and the Chinese can easily isolate them, as seen by the recent trip to Macau. Hong Kong will suffer, which is a pity.

        To quote the chap set on fire (for saying this) “We are all Chinese”

      5. “You really are a silly sod RH”

        That says more about you than me.

        Care to elaborate and try to creep towards an attempt at being adult and articulate?

    1. The French hate Macron,in the same way Johnson will be hated soon ..Ireland has had enough of Varadakar and all is not well on the horizon for his rule much longer.The common denominator in all of them is failed neo liberal ideology that has no interest in the common people.I admire the French people and their constitution of the Republic.which macron and his bankster pals want to ditch given the chance.We lost our chance of showing the way to Europe and the USA in our election campaign and must now rebuild a true socialist Labour party and make bold decisions to rid the party of the cancer of the right wing shambles that destroyed the chance of power for the Labour party under any socialist Labour leader.We have to pick a strong and ruthless leader to do the job the kinder gentler Corbyn was not able to do.Socialism or Bust!…We’ve seen how the French people deal with threats to their lives.Will we in the Labour party have the moral compass and bravery to fight back against the alleged government.of Johnson and his regime of right wing fascists.?

      1. ” the French people”

        Another simplistic reduction – they’re not all socialists. Quite a few proto-fascists mixed in. Just like the UK.

      2. RH ….you’re ignorance of France and the French is quite frankly astounding if put together with your veiws of the Chinese today. “The French are not all socialist “you advise me.Well being as my Homebase is France then I am well aware of the politics here in france.If you actually understood the French people you would realise that the Republic was hard fought for and the freedoms that set standards of government across the world.All French are proud of the Republic and the political make up i is immaterial THE freedoms gained in the Republic
        will not be given away and will be met with stiff resistance from all groups of people..The culture of the French is also being challenged by macron,with the lunchtime also being rubbished by the president.The French people are sick and tired of the neoliberal President and the lies and spin so typical of our own Blair years.Johnson has been funded by the same people as macron and I can only hope that the British public will show the same fortitude that the French people have shown in rejecting the misery of a Tory regime in Britain.

      3. Your illogic is a wonder to behold, Joseph. I’m hardly stating anything other than the obvious – that the ‘French people’ isn’t an entity that you are entitled to define with some mickey-mouse blanket characterisation, any more than Boris Johnson can define the ‘British People’. Such characterisations are either ignorant or fraudulent.

        Macron was elected – albeit by virtue of yet another system that produces a less than perfect result. So where did those votes come from? Where did the 20%+ for Marine Le Pen come from? Socialists indulging in some kind of double bluff? People from Mars (i.e. other than ‘the French people’)?

        Do, pray, enlighten me.

      4. As a practical P.S. in electoral terms : cuddling up to and an admiration for the authoritarian Chinese model is about as relevant to Labour’s present situation as arsenic is to healthy living!

        Wow! That’s going to bring a change in fortunes!

        (Eyes to heaven)

  4. As ever, the French show the dozy Brits the way in standing up for themselves.

    Would this have anything to do with the fact that the French dealt with their aristocracy 200 years ago, whilst we still touch the cap to ours? Honestly, we’re so pathetic, I’m embarrassed to be British!

    1. timfrom
      The subjects will always vote for their betters
      I was raised by ‘there is no one better than you, equally you are no better than anyone else’
      One last historical question,
      What was the last thought that went through the heads of the Aristocracy in France as the guillotine fell
      ‘I thought we were in charge or The ungrateful bastards or The peasants are revolting’
      Certainly the class system is a huge part of the problem in this country

  5. The chance to build a Socialist Labour Party was finally extinguished when Corbyn, despite his promises to the contrary, refused to support Chris Williamson. Any other Socialists around?

    1. Steve Richards….good point but I hope you are wrong and we select somone whos got the backbone to face off the enemy within and expell the rabid dog s within the Labour party.No leader including Corbyn could have formed a government if we had won,not with the opposition inside the PLP and the governance.We are a party made up of factions and affiliated groups who have no place in the Labour party.And to think despite the massive support of the membership we still after all these years of struggle cannot find a true socialist leader amongst the flotsom thats declared ..Best wishes Comrades for a socialist Labour leader to surface in the New year!

  6. The Royal Family
    The Queen has been a loyal servant to the people of this country and the Commonwealth, no finer head of state,
    But once she passes, No to Charles
    Go with we will honour the Peoples Princess and give her lads their lives back, let them off the hook,
    Then a rolling programme of positive discrimination to break up class system at every level, nothing will depend on what side of the bed you were born on,
    Only a classless society will take the country forward

    1. The fact is, Doug, that we’ve just had a vote for the status quo to continue. That’s got to change first.

      1. RH
        Sow the seed in the minds of those two lads, give them a break,
        We Frame the story not cheap and nasty Tory MSM and toilet papers,
        If they bite we reap the reward for doing the right thing by them and the country takes a GIANT leap forward to a progressive future

  7. Burgon : nice guy, but not the brightest bulb in the chandelier : still banging on about Brexit and meaningless stuff about an undefined ‘working class’ (you can tell he’s in the Westmnster bubble) in simple-minded fashion instead of seeing the context of the wider Tory game-play and their control of the media narrative (doesn’t mention that decisive control of the narrative or the antisemitism scam)

    Still no shining lights in view re. the leadership.

    Meanwhile, the usual suspects are still around with the help of ‘The Groan’ (delivered courtesy MI6) :

    Israel’s front woman Rith Smeeth given a billing; Neil Coyle (who?) also given space to rubbish Corbyn and promote antisemitism fictions.

    Viner seems to be focused on turning the Groan into innumerable shades of gray in a devotion to submission as a substitute for journalism.

    1. According to LabourList Dawn Butler and Khalid Manhood (who?) have also announced their intention to stand for the deputy leadership.

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