30 May 2012
"The challenge now is to start talking and debating the kind of society we want to create, and the government we want to create it."
Watch John deliver the union's parliamentary report - and hear the rapturous applause he receives for his straight talking views on the government's attacks on working people.
It is a privilege to be invited back to deliver the annual parliamentary report; to be frank I don’t think you understand what this means to me, it’s just, it’s like coming home each year. It’s like coming home amongst comrades and friends and I am grateful for being invited back.
One of the best things I do in this job, one of the best things I do in my role is meeting PCS members. They inspire us all with their commitment, dedication and determination to seed for this union. But to be honest there are drawbacks to this role, there are drawbacks as there are in every other job, and I don’t want to complain, but some of the people you ask me to meet shouldn’t be inflicted on anybody!
Francis Maude. Well for two years on many of the staffing issues our main point of contact with the government has been Francis Maude, secretary of state for the cabinet office. Oh dear. I was really pleased when Francis Maude intervened in the fuel tankers dispute, to advise people on how to store petrol at home. AT last the general public were able to see what a plonker we had been dealing with for two years.
(laughter and clapping)
This is the man whom, with his mate Danny Alexander, we are supposed to have trust in and trust our pensions to. It is a living nightmare. On Clegg we have been... oh Jesus...
Clegg also came out on Monday with his concerns that public school, I can’t believe this one, public schoolboys were dominating all the best jobs in business, the city and the professions. Now we might not have all had the advantage of a classical education like him, and we might not fully comprehend the logic of Aristotle, Plato and Cicero, but there is a single thought that momentarily passes our minds, that if public schools are the problem why not abolish them, why not get rid of them once and for all?
Alright we all like to ridicule this government, but the reality is that they are brutal, they are incompetent and they are nasty. And it isn’t just a comedy of errors. This government combines a crass, grotesque incompetence with a vengeful nastiness that we haven’t seen since the last worst ravings of Thatcher. And I fear for all of us, I fear for our members, their families and our community.
I fear most of all for those most vulnerable in our society, those with disabilities in particular. Just nobody is safe from this government, I fear that if this government gets its way nobody will have a secure job, every service will be privatised, there will be low wages, long hours and without employment protection if your face doesn’t fit you will be sacked. And you’ll work till you drop.
Thatcher said there was no such thing as society, for Cameron and Clegg, Thatcher’s children, there is no such thing as the state, all that will be left if they get their way is a world which they are creating where there is just the individual, and the private company or the corporation. Everything is a commodity to be bought or sold, nothing has a value but everything has a price, and that price is determined by the law of the jungle.
So in all this brooding darkness, what hope is there? Well to be frank, you are that hope, you are that hope. Our members are that hope, this movement; our union that we are part of is our hope. This government knows what it is doing, they are using this economic crises, that they and their greedy bastard speculating friends in the city caused, they are using it to destroy our way of life, our welfare state, everything we have fought for and gained over generations, just to give us and our children a chance.
This is a government of the rich, by the rich, for the rich, and will always be so. But we know also what we have to do, first of all we have to expose them, expose every lie and every attack on our people. This economic crisis was not caused by spending too much on our public services or by ordinary working people, it was caused by those that speculated and exploited and refused to pay their taxes.
The solution is to redistribute the wealth of this country and to put it back to work, to create the jobs and restore prosperity for all, not just the rich elite. And do you know, this is what this union has been doing. We have been leading the way; we have been pointing the way. We have set out our alternative time and time again, a wealth tax on the top 20, the ones who make their billions in the boom, a robin hood tax on speculators, a 60% income tax on those earning over £100,000, a land value tax on property speculators and of course the demand that we collect the £100 billion in evaded and avoided taxes. That is our alternative.
But it won’t be enough just to expose what is happening, and to expect that having won the argument we will inevitably win the day. It does not work like that, we have to resist and replace this government. Resistance in this country comes in three forms. Through parliamentary democracy; the ballot box. Through industrial action and through what we used to call insurrection but we now politely call direct action. In reality with regard to the ballot box this government now will not convene an election till 2015, so parliamentary debates will count for little in halting this government. But what rocks this government is the combination of industrial action and direct action. So that’s why it is important that we all remain determined to take what action is necessary whenever it is necessary. And I tell you this, if we go again in June, or whenever, I will be with you on that picket line in support, and be mobilising others, and will be calling...
...and will be calling of course other unions to join us in this struggle, because it is a struggle that we all face. But that is why we also applaud the TUC for calling the protest march in October. But we urge the TUC to play its role in converting this march into a springboard for a campaign of national, industrial and direct action to bring this government down.
And yes we have to prepare now for replacing this regime. On the marches, on the picket lines, on the occupations, start talking and debating now the society we want to create and the government we want to create it. And that is our challenge in the coming period. It is the worst of times and the best of times. The worst of times because the attacks our people face, but the best of times because now our generation has been given the opportunity, in this struggle, to create the new society that we want. All we need is what our members are displaying on a daily basis; courage, determination and above all else solidarity. Lets defy them, and in defying them lets defeat them. Solidarity.