The Barons: An Everyday Story of the Struggle for Workers’ Rights in Merrie England

This is cross posted by Jonathan Hoffman at The JC

TUC General Secretary Brenda Barking paced the floor of her suite in her 5 star hotel in Manchester. Her nails were bitten down to the quick. “Comrades” she began “we have a problem. Our membership is down to 6 million from over 13 million at its peak; our friends in the Labour Party are out of government and our friends in the LibDem Party have sold out to the Tories; we face thousands of job cuts in the public sector; and the proletariat is too busy watching Coronation Street to have time for any serious revolting. As Karl Marx said “The Philosophers have only interpreted the world in various ways; the point is, to change it.” Do any of you have any ideas as to what we can do to change the world and (more importantly) save face with the Comrades at the Congress this week? I booked Bank of England Governor Merv King to do the Wednesday night Cabaret but maybe the punters need something more than quantitative easing and jokes about Aston Villa.”

Bob Crowbar jumped in. “Innit Brenda! ….I’ll announce a five year programme of strikes on the London Underground …..” he said. Dave Apprentice nearly fell off his chair with laughter. “Come off it Bob, when you tried that last week the drivers from the other unions just worked twice as hard”.

Derek Simpleton spoke next. “Why not do a Trivia quiz for the Brothers and Sisters? First prize could be a signed copy of Tony Blair’s book. Second prize, we throw in Alastair Campbell’s book as well”.

Tony Woodenhead gritted his teeth. “No, we said goodbye to Bliar and New Labour when Gordon took over. And anyway, we made sure that Bliar was stopped from signing any books.”

Sally Sadd of the University Agitprop Union pouted, winking knowingly at Barking (they were comrades from way back). She knew that she had the killer suggestion. Never mind that within the next six months, she would lose half her members through redundancy. She knew the magic word. She waited until all the Barons were quiet then said the word in a magisterial tone of voice: “Israel”.

It was as if a ten ton weight had been lifted from the Barons’ shoulders! “Brilliant, Sally” said Barking. “We’ll get the Fire Brigade Union to write the motion. They are the experts on the Middle East. They will do us proud – colonialism, boycott, occupation, religion, white phosphorus, BDS, apartheid, IDF, killing peace activists, settlements, the prison of Gaza, nationalism – all those buzz words which get the Guardianista Left so excited that it clean forgets the boring old UK economy. All lies of course, but what does the truth matter between Comrades? We can even get the South African Comrades like Ronnie Kasrils to tell the punters how much Israel is like apartheid South Africa. We’ll get Huw Linen and his PSC (or do I mean PCS, they’re the same thing aren’t they….) to give out free badges and flags for them to wear, it will only cost us a few hundred quid. Maybe we can even run to “Free Palestine” T-shirts.

Viva la Revolucion! Viva the lies about Israel which glue the Left together! And we have nothing to fear from the British Jews – they never fight back, in fact they will probably thank us for being so restrained. In the unlikely event that they do fight back we will just say that they use the charge of “antisemitism” to deflect legitimate criticism of Israel.

“And so what if we lie to the Comrades, they have “nothing to lose but their brains!”

“And Ed Millipede will be onside, that’s why we pay him.”

“Comrades, let’s all sing ‘The Red Flag’ to celebrate Sally’s great idea” whooped Brenda. And the Barons linked arms:

The people’s flag is deepest red,
It shrouded oft our martyr’d dead
And ere their limbs grew stiff and cold,
The lies ‘bout Israel will be told.

Then raise the scarlet standard high.
Within its shade we live and die,
Though cowards flinch and traitors sneer,
If we tell lies we needn’t fear.

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