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Sunday 29 January 2012

Right! Click!! (4)

As the so-called Trade Union Reform Campaign (TURC) keeps on generating very little in the way of column inches, its supporters, those whose irrational hatred of Trade Unions causes them to lash out against any opposition with increasingly wild claims about the movement, try to maintain the momentum. Typical of this support is CEO of the Young Britons’ Foundation (YBF), one Donal Blaney.

Blaney, who strongly favours freedom – including freedom of speech – while threatening others whose freedom of speech is used to criticise him with legal action (see HERE for two previous cases), has spoken in favour of TURC in his new blog on Mail Online’s RightMinds, the bully pulpit administered by the preposterously pompous and self-important Simon Heffer.

And Blaney starts as he means to go on: readers are told “In the last financial year it was revealed that trade unions received an astonishing £113,000,000 of funding from taxpayers”. It’s astonishing because it didn’t happen: as with the TURC, the assertion is made that facility time payments go to unions. They don’t. They are made to workplace reps, and the union concerned is paid nothing.

Moreover, Blaney’s sources are seriously suspect: his first is the so-called Taxpayers’ Alliance (TPA), whose characteristically dodgy dossier on facility time I’ve examined previously (see HERE). Then he cites the Guido Fawkes blog, domain of the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his tame gofer Henry Cole, the Laurel and Hardy of the blogosphere, both well versed in passing off fiction as fact.

The Fawkes blog “million pound revelation” from last week is then duly recycled, together with its creative accounting. Then Blaney goes into strawman mode as he invents “personal abuse” from “the left’s boo boys” to confirm the superiority of his insights. This, though, does not address the seriously misleading headline of his post “Hitting Labour where it hurts: in the pocket”.

Facility time – the main thrust of the present TURC attack – is paid to reps, and as it does not go to unions, cannot go to Labour either. Blaney, senior partner in a litigation practice, is not stupid: he knows what he is writing. The only conclusion that can be drawn is that he is deliberately misinforming his audience. In this, of course, he is no different to his pals Staines and Cole.

And the extent of that misinformation can be seen at the YBF’s website, where its target is the kind of impressionable young people who undergo training courtesy of the group. I’m sure that this is nothing at all to do with the “indoctrination”, “propaganda” and “brainwashing” that those on the right accuse their opponents of doing, and that it really is fair and balanced.

So Donal won’t mind me examining the material on that site a little more closely.

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