... of socialism. Consider the response of the left after Gordon Brown spoke to the Trades Union Congress:
Union leaders admitted yesterday they felt dismayed by Gordon Brown's first speech to the TUC conference despite the prime minister's promise of 500,000 new British jobs and a vision of making Britain rather than China the driving force for the 21st century.Public sector workers on average earn more than those in the private sector, work fewer hours, retire earlier and get better pensions. I agree that isn't fair, but that's not what the TUC means. This is special pleading, even though the TUC tried to dress it up as concern for "rising inequality" and for the vulnerable:
Delegates gave a lukewarm response to Mr Brown, with just 30 seconds of applause and a short standing ovation from a small group at the front of the hall in Brighton. Scores of civil servants held up posters reading "Fair pay for public servants" in a protest against his 2% limit on public sector rises.
Brendan Barber, general secretary of the TUC, said that vulnerable workers were being exploited in a "dark underbelly of British life" while a growing band of super-rich "threaten the cohesion of society"Here's Polly Toynbee in the Guardian:
If unions had been stronger over the past 20 years, we would not have slid back to the same level of wealth inequality as 1937, nor would the top 3% own three times the wealth of the entire bottom half of the population. Union power may have made the country almost ungovernable in the 1970s, but never forget it also delivered increasing equality. Progress went into reverse the moment unions started to lose ground.And courtesy of Mr Eugenides, here's the reality:
So wealth distribution has stayed pretty much the same, despite getting slightly less unequal under Mrs Thatcher, and slightly more unequal in the first years of the Blair government.
What does the Socialist Workers' Party cartoonist Steve Bell make of all this?
Is there any way the message of this cartoon could be described as honest?