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Wednesday 15 February 2012

Silence Of The Young TURCs

[Updates, two so far, at end of post]

As was noted on Zelo Street at the time, the so-called Trade Union Reform Campaign (TURC), named because it does not want to reform Trade Unions but drive them into the ground, finally had its launch event on January 24, attended not by “dozens of Tory MPs and Peers ... and even some Lib Dems”, but by 30 to 35 individuals, some merely after a free beer.

This latter was the apparent act of deception practiced on former England cricketer Darren Gough, who stressed after the event that he had no connection with the group, and just happened to be there visiting a friend. So the honesty bar had been set rather low, which was no surprise given the presence of the flannelled fool Henry Cole, tame gofer to the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines.

But there was the prospect of TURC actually doing some campaigning, as on January 30 its Twitter feed told of a “Busy week ahead. TURC meeting tonight and we will be advertising our first staff hires this week”. That week passed without any advertisement for “staff hires”, or indeed for anything to do with TURC. So did the week after that. So has this week thus far.

And the TURC’s pals over at the so-called Taxpayers’ Alliance (TPA) have not been exactly busting a gut to support: there was an item yesterday by new boy Jonathan Isaby attacking Peterborough Council for having workplace union representatives – who he pejoratively calls “activists” – and characteristically calls this a “subsidy” to the union concerned, though that union does not see any of the money.

Isaby has previous on this, but then, so do his colleagues: the TPA line is that facility time means “taxpayer funded Trade Unionism” and that somehow this is a zero sum game whereby the unions concerned get millions of pounds of public funding which they then use to organise strikes and other industrial action. But at no time do they explain what workplace representatives actually do.

And unless they do explain that, their argument cannot be stood up: Isaby’s use of the term “fatuous” can equally well be applied to him. It can also be applied to his friends at TURC, who have gathered together a group of almost all new intake Tory MPs to attack facility time arrangements, but who have done little more than name calling and promotional puffs since the group was formed.

That is not going to help the attempts by the TPA and TURC to get the Coalition to amend the 1992 legislation which formalised facility time arrangements. While there is lots of hot air expended from the right, the recent actions of the TPA amount to little more than a damp squib, while those from TURC amount to, well, more or less nothing at all.

Hardly worth their while starting the campaign, then. Another fine mess.

[UPDATE1 1615 hours: the TURC Twitter feed has coughed back into life following this post - not of course that Master Cole looks in on Zelo Street, which of course he doesn't, and those anonymous comments that look like his are by someone else, 'cos he says so - to endorse Jonathan Isaby's lame TPA piece referred to above.

But it's not much of a "campaign", is it? Where are the "staff hires" promised over a fortnight ago? Where is the action? Where are the first signs that the Government is even considering changing the legislation on facility time? Where, indeed, is any progress other than the further expending of hot air? Bit of a stiff, this one]

[UPDATE2 1840 hours: news has now emerged - thanks to Political Scrapbook - that prosecutors in France have decided to launch a full investigation into the Nazi-themed stag party attended by TURC Chair Aidan Burley MP. This news, to no surprise at all, has not been reported by TURC, nor the Guido Fawkes blog, co-authored by Master Cole. The latter is too busy kicking actor Patrick Stewart for, er, having an opinion. Another fine mess, once again]

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