Ministers are blaming everyone but themselves for the rail strikes

Editorial: In the court of public opinion, the government – along with its media allies – is conforming to the usual pattern

Tuesday 21 June 2022 21:30
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It was in September 2020 that the prime minister sent an apparently sincere message by video (lockdown restrictions applied) to the National Rail Awards, thanking what he called the “railway family” for their “heroic efforts”.

It has not, as they say, aged well: “If we needed any more proof that our railways are full of brilliant and determined individuals, then just look at the way the rail industry has risen to the challenge of this crisis ... keeping people safe with everything from one-way systems, deep cleaning, encouraging people to wear face coverings, of course – an outstanding feat the like of which has never been undertaken before … moving goods around the country, keeping a vital service running for all the doctors, nurses, social care workers, shop workers – everybody who physically had to get on with their jobs. So, I want to say a huge thank you, and a heartfelt thank you.”

Can this be the same prime minister whose ministers now go around quoting misleading statistics that carry a strong implication that the “railway family” is vastly overpaid, and suggesting that the “heroes” who happen to be exercising the right to withdraw their labour should be forced to work in order to maintain a minimum service on pain of being replaced by agency staff?

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