The railway wrecker is becoming like a Batman baddie

'He stands in a cave wearing a donkey jacket cackling: "This time there will be no mistakes"'
Click to follow

Wreck what? What are these union "wreckers" supposed to be wrecking? Is Blair thinking: "It's not fair. We had a perfectly decent, comfortable reliable railway service, with jolly staff in bright uniforms, and succulent fare available on all journeys and the toilets always work and so do the ticket machines and it's amazingly cheap and there were fluffy kittens on every carriage and now the bloody unions have gone and spoiled everything?"

Similarly, the management of South West Trains have declared they will endeavour to maintain a normal service. Perhaps the full statement was: "Despite the union's action, we will spare no effort to ensure our customers can mill about in a growing crowd, desperately waiting for an announcement, eventually squeezing on to three carriages and waiting a further 40 minutes while everyone asks each other where the thing's going, until, in spite of the RMT, our managers cover the guards' work by answering all enquiries with: 'Don't ask me, mate, I'm as much in the dark as you are.'"

Strikes are happening, apparently, because of the "return of the far left". For example, one paper referred to the number of strike ballots at the Post Office since left-winger Billy Hayes "seized control of the union". But I can go further and reveal the sinister strategy used to seize control. Step 1 was to stand for election, using the undercover pseudonym "Billy Hayes". Step 2 was to get more "votes" than the other candidate, after which he was able to declare himself the so-called "winner". Much in the same way that Tony Blair seized control of the British Parliament.

Perhaps the unions should be made to behave as democratically as management. Instead of one vote each, the RMT should be floated on the stock market, and whoever buys the most shares gets the most votes.

The big question left unanswered by the theory that strikes are caused by far-left troublemakers – whether Harold Wilson's "politically motivated men", Ted Heath's "reds under the bed", Thatcher's "enemy within" or Blair's "wreckers" – is: Where do these agitators go in between times?

They're like the baddies in Batman. Every now and then, just when all seems peaceful, a picket line pops up, and the Prime Minister stands solemnly in his office grimacing: "This can only be the work of – Agitator Man." And sure enough, there he stands in a cave wearing a donkey jacket cackling: "This time there will be no mistakes – the GMBATU is mine – all mine! Ha ha ha!"

Back in the Seventies, the union bully-boys caused strikes by forcing members to put up their hands in car parks, probably by giving them electric shocks. Thatcher put a stop to that with the secret ballot. But the ballot of RMT members on Arriva resulted in 94 per cent approval for a strike.

So how did the agitators do that? Obviously they're trained hypnotists. One by one, they wander around the workforce whispering: "When you hear the word 'ballot', you'll get a craving for freezing at six in the morning while shouting 'scab'." Blair ought to be careful if he's on a news programme with one of these people. Bob Crow will click his fingers and Blair will rip off his shirt and sing 'You ain't nothing but a hound dog'."

In the Seventies, the Communist Party was usually blamed for strikes, but there's not much left of them, so now the finger is pointed at the Socialist Alliance. Which is frightening, because what chance have the railway management got, possessing the meagre resources of the heads of industry, the Government, the Opposition, the police and the judiciary, when faced with the might of the Socialist Alliance, who are sometimes capable of setting up stalls in as many as five shopping centres on a single Saturday!

One article, in The Times, even cited me as an example of the growing power of the Socialist Alliance, on account of the fact I'm occasionally on the radio. That's how Lenin started, you know. One minute he was on Start the Week with Melvyn Bragg, then he built a power base that led to Bolsheviks getting on to Woman's Hour, and with that accomplished the Tsar was as good as up against the wall.

The point is, without such agitators, people are perfectly happy with their pay and conditions. If it wasn't for them, thousands of train drivers would send half their wages back, with a note saying: "I couldn't possibly take all this off you. Why, there'll be nothing left for you and Mrs Branson."

But if union agitators are responsible for outrageous pay demands, what union is the Stagecoach chief Brian Souter a member of? He gets more than £300,000 a year – he must be the most vicious militant of all.

He must march into his boardroom yelling: "Brothers, as regional secretary and Finance and General Purposes representative of the National Union of Railway Owners and Associated Millionaires, let me outline how grievously we've been treated. We've complied with everything you could reasonably expect a privatised rail network to carry out. We've robbed the country with subsidies, invested almost nothing, tipped a selection of trains upside-down and buggered up every line in the country. Isn't it time we got a little back in return?"

Comments