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Monday 3 August 2015

Sun Unite Union Smear Busted

The dispute over the proposed “24 hour Tube” has not yet run its course, and it’s possible that there may be another strike this week - in London. That cuts no ice with the Super Soaraway Currant Bun, whose hacks have shown their lack of self-awareness, combined with breathtaking ignorance, as they decided yesterday that the rest of the country had to take notice - and that it was all Len McCluskey’s fault.
That the head man at Unite is behind the disruption may come as a surprise to all those who thought that Tube trains were driven by members of Aslef and RMT, but the Sun is in full-on smear mode, telling readers “FATCAT Unite union boss Len McCluskey and his cronies will swan around in company cars while ordering Tube travel misery for millions of workers next week”. Someone at the Sun thinks Unions behave like News UK.
No Union boss “orders” industrial action: only when members have been balloted on a specific question may this be called. But this is a more serious smear, and it has been joined by a cabinet minister, well, Chris Grayling, anyway, who has put his name to an article titled “Union fat cats are richer than Posh’n’Becks”, a proposition which is as dishonest as it is ridiculous. How does he reach his conclusion?
Well, this is achieved by taking the Beckhams’ total estimated wealth and comparing it with Unite’s total assets - not what McCluskey, or any other official of the Union, actually earns or owns personally. But still, £243 million is a pretty big number, isn’t it? Er, well, not really: News Corp., the ultimate parent company of the Sun, had assets of $16,489 million last year. That’s more than £10,000 million. And there’s more.

Sky - in which the Murdoch empire has that 39% stake - made a profit last year of £865 million and had assets totalling £6,449 million. And there are the Murdoch poodles pretending that Unite is some kind of huge corporate monolith. But it is in the paper’s ranting editorial yesterday that it really sells the pass, showing that this is just a personal smear on McCluskey based on little more than prejudice and ignorance.
Readers are told “if this week’s Tube strike goes ahead its chief agitator can glide comfortably past the riff-raff commuters struggling to get to work [not in a London gridlocked as a result of that same strike, he can’t] … calling out on strike Tube drivers on around £50,000 - twice the national average - is self-serving militancy that will spell misery for millions”. Very good - except no Tube drivers are Unite members.

Worse, not only will most Sun readers in the London area know that, but also, all those outside the capital who do not commute into it will wonder why on earth they are having to read about something that doesn’t concern them. Moreover, the Sun has no room to call hypocrisy on “Union Fat Cats”, when they are one of the fattest cats of all.

All this smear is about is that some well-paid newspaper executives might have difficulty getting all their staff in to work later this week. Hardly worth all that ranting, though, is it?


Andy McDonald said...

Also, 'glide about'?

Has anyone at the Sun ever tried driving in London in the daytime? You drive only if you absolutely have to.

Arnold said...

The Mail seems to have some problem with fancy dress parties.
"Dressed as a gangster, union boss bringing misery to commuters: £120,000-a-year chief who claims to represent 'ordinary people' tucked into caviar at another party"