Thursday, November 24, 2011

"This [insert] is irresponsible and wrong"

Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander, has said these words inserting "strike" (as in "This strike is irresponsible and wrong"). Why? Because closed schools will lead to more parents taking the day off work and more people taking time off work will lead to less -- and I quote -- "output". So the problem with strikes at schools is effect on immediate economic figures (or so it seems) that have been a major problem for the government: the growing evidence is that their austerity measures have been a failure, and perhaps may lead to longterm economic damage. (If only their main worry about closed schools was related to education.)

At the same time, unions have argued that the government's pension reforms are "irresponsible and wrong". The government says that major costs will be incurred by tax payers as the government will have to bring in new staff resources to keep services open during the strike.

Of course, if the government is really worried about costs, then a clear solution is available: rethink their plans for public sector pension reforms. It is wrong to try to force through economic policies with long-term impact to address a short-term problem. The country seems ready to come to a halt next Wednesday. But will the voice of the people trump the government's embrace of an impractical and out-dated ideology? We will soo find out.

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