JAN MOIR: It’s ordinary people who suffer most in strike-hit, me-first Britain… It is not even July yet, but already a long, hot summer of discontent stretches before us
More Heathrow strikes are on the horizon, carefully planned to cause maximum destruction to summer holiday plans.
More Stop Oil protests will be creating havoc in Central London and elsewhere over the coming weeks. More TikTokers are out on the streets, using cruelty and chaos in pranks that cause humiliation and fear.
More rail strikes and more NHS strikes are on the menu as junior doctors and nurses call for better pay. More DVLA strikes? Possibly. More from civil servants? You bet.
More strikes from border security staff, bus drivers, teachers and have I missed anyone out?
As more and more unions plan or have planned strike action over the coming months, what a juncture we have reached.
JAN MOIR: It’s ordinary people who will suffer the most from the strikes (Pictured: members of the PCS on the picket line in May)
More Heathrow strikes are on the horizon, carefully planned to cause maximum destruction to summer holiday plans. Heathrow Airport is pictured in 2019 during a pilots’ strike
Last year the UK recorded the highest number of working days lost to labour disputes for more than 30 years, with nearly 2.5 million days lost to industrial action.
It is not even July yet, but already a long, hot summer of discontent stretches before us, a ribbon of unrest fluttering into the future.
How did we get here? The pandemic, inflation and a cost of living crisis have all helped to put the country in a tight spot. House prices have fallen for the first time in more than a decade while energy prices and poverty levels have gone up, up, up.
Commerce, retail, independents, catering, the public sector; everyone is suffering. Even Party Pieces has gone bust, owing millions in debt; few businesses have escaped unscathed not even the Middletons. But outside factors and universal context matter little to strikers and protesters, to malcontents and mischief makers.
These are tough times for serious people, this is a moment in history when we should be pulling together, putting a united shoulder to the wheel to try to get this country back on its feet again.
Yet look around and all you can see is a plague of short-termism and me-first-ism. My issue over your comfort, my comfort over your wrecked plans, my wish for a nicer lifestyle and cleaner air over your wish to get your child to school or mother to hospital.
As yet another strike grinds onwards or Just Stop Oil bring London to a standstill while TikTokers ransack the Primark store in Oxford Street just for a laugh, the reality of our economic situation seems not to have sunk in.
The Government has so far refused to budge on public sector pay, stating that the pay rises being demanded are unaffordable — and hiking pay to match inflation would only worsen the problem anyway.
More rail strikes and more NHS strikes are on the menu as junior doctors and nurses call for better pay. Pictured: Waterloo station on June 7
Instead, they are in the process of tightening laws to make it harder for those in key sectors to strike and I find it hard not to support their efforts. Yes, everyone should have the democratic right to strike and to protest, but surely not when it brings others into peril, hardship and sustained inconvenience?
Not that long ago, an inspiring man once rallied a nation when he called upon the public to do what was right for the greater good.
‘Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country,’ said John F Kennedy in his famous inaugural speech of 1961.
He was urging Americans to see the importance of civic action and public service as a route to prosperity and happiness.
How quaint and old-fashioned that sounds! The very idea that selflessness not selfishness could lead to a better world is unlikely to hold much traction right now in UK plc, a place where everyone is fighting for a bigger slice of the pie for themselves. With cream on top. A cherry, too, please. And make mine bigger than hers.
Collectively, all this hopeless strike action and pious protesting is achieving is just pushing us all further back down the drain, trapped in the weeds, stuck in the muck.
What really gets me is that it is always ordinary people who suffer most, not bosses or fat cats nor the kind of rotters who made it their business to profit from the pandemic.
It is striving, hard-working people who are penalised or disrupted over and over again.
It is striving, hard-working people who are penalised or disrupted over and over again. Pictured: Jan Moir
People just trying to get to work. People trying to enjoy a hard-earned fortnight away on a beach with their family. People who have waited months if not years for an NHS operation only to be denied again, leading to a downturn in their health.
People who pay their taxes and respect their community. The people that strikers and agitators never think about when they unleash their latest mayhem upon the public, the people who must silently bear the brunt of their discontent.
And what is even more irritating is that by gluing themselves to motorways and roads or slow marching through cities, oil protesters and other extremists are relying on the humanity of those they are most inconveniencing to keep them safe.
Like Blanche DuBois depending upon the kindness of strangers, they depend upon the compassion of citizens more civilised than they not to run them down or beat them up. As tempting as that might be.
Yet like the waning public support for the fresh waves of strikes that loom over our summer, this generosity of spirit and brotherly understanding is running out fast.
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