Tag Archives: Railways

Shameless union opportunism

Manuel Cortes, the general secretary of the Transport Salaried Staffs Association, seized on the recent (August 2019) power blackouts to bizarrely take a Project Fear potshot at Brexit, by seeking to conflate the two. He ranted “As we face the growing prospect of a no-deal Brexit it’s reasonable to wonder if this is a foretaste of things to come”.

This was an asinine attempt to link two entirely independent matters – how is generator failure related to Brexit in any way? Cortes would like to paint the picture of this extremely exceptional event becoming common place as a direct result of a no-deal Brexit.

Cortes, has never added value to anything in his life, having never worked for other than a labour union, and therefore has a had a lifetime of honing the art of doublespeak and twisting words / situations to press home his left wing message. To take two examples, “having our rail network brought to a standstill in this way is totally unacceptable” is rather odd, as surely logically having the network fail in any way is undesirable. He also says “we now seem to be in a country where blackouts happen without warning”, seeking to sow a view that blackouts are now (as a result of threatened Brexit ??) common – union guile-speak. The statement is itself a non sequitur since a blackout is by definition unplanned – so how could there be a warning ? {Grumpy has experienced one short blackout in 20 years}

In October 2018, Cortes wrote an opinion piece in the Guardian lambasting Theresa May and stating that her actions were “no way to do democratic politics”. Ignoring the fact that she was in power (just) as a result of an election seems hypocritical when placed against the fact that Manuel owes his current position to an election in which more than 87% of the members of his union did not vote for him.

Cortes, who accuses the current government as being the ‘hard right’, is very much part of the ‘hard left’. He opposes capitalism (presumably implying adherence to communist ideals) and he is in favour of nationalising the rail network to ‘improve it’, something which history shows would be unlikely to happen. He no doubt thinks that ‘other peoples money’ is the route to funding an uneconomic vision, as Margaret Thatcher once pointed out.