Strike ballots and unintended consequencies

BorisJohnson’s at it again. Rather than sit down and have meaningful dialogue with workers’ representatives on the London Underground, he’s been carping about a “lack of mandate” because the RMT’s successful strike ballot came off the back of a 40% turnout. Instead, Johnson believes every ballot for industrial action should meet a 50% threshold to qualify as lawful. Ever keen to mimic the buffoon and curry favour with the wilting Tory grassroots, Dave has intimated that he’d like to see the Underground classed as an essential service, an imposition of a minimum service agreement during stoppages and, of course, a turnout threshold. For both men, it’s about an instinctive hatred of a group of working people who have a record of winning disputes.  Continue reading

Mayoral candidates: a manifesto for London’s women?

Joe Quimby, Mayor of Springfield, from the Simpsons by Matt GroeningOne of the most interesting fringes at Labour conference was a Demos fringe on London after Boris. Given the speaker list (Andrew Adonis, Tessa Jowell, Sadiq Khan and David Lammy), I was fully expecting it to be the first hustings for London’s Labour Mayoral candidate in 2016.

And given the large numbers queuing to enter a small, dark, sweaty room fifteen minutes before kickoff, I wasn’t alone in the supposition. Thankfully chair Ben Rogers quickly dispensed with any pretence that the fringe meeting was intended to be anything else. Continue reading