If this man were effectively your boss (and if you're a public sector worker he is), how would you feel about being told to take a pay cut so that he can get inflation down for the rest of us?
Gordon Brown's stance on public sector pay is despicable, cynical and is no different to downright Toryism. Labour government, my arse.
Many of you will know that Mr B and his cohorts (see posts passim for some of the dastardly crew that Brown is taking advice from) are insisting that public sector workers take nothing more than 2 or 2.5% in the annual pay round when the retail prices index (that's inflation to you & me) is running in excess of 4% and when mortgage interest rates have increased frequently over the last year.
"Right, you lot," Gordon is saying."Because I can't add up properly, your standard of living is going to have to suffer. I'm alright because I earn £127,334 plus my MP's salary of £60,277 and I have a fat expense account and I have to pay squat for my nice central London home".
MPs and ministers have cast-in-iron pensions that are way above anything an ordinary worker could hope to save for, let alone have guaranteed by the state. They earn over £60k minimum and can claim expenses for almost anything. How dare they dictate to their own workers that they must take a pay cut?
Not only that, how dare Brown insinuate through his speech to the TUC that he cannot possibly do more for his own workforce because the government is going to concentrate on improving the policing of minimum wage payments (you mean they've not bothered with that before, then) and protecting the lowest paid.
Who in the public sector is on minimum wage? Only the contracted out staff who are on crap pay and work under appalling terms and conditions with very limited job security. The fact is their jobs should never have been contracted out in the first place; so Brown can't legitimately use "improving the lot of the lowest paid" as an excuse for failing in his duty to look after the hard working, put-upon public sector. If he wants to look after the lowest paid, stop allowing local authorities to contract out cleaning and maintenance etc to cut-price cowboys like ISS or Initial.
I think we are looking towards an autumn and winter of co-ordinated industrial action from the public sector. I do hope so - the authorities have brought it upon themselves and us. Winter of '78-'79 it won't be; we're not that strong anymore - but we must support the public sector in their struggle.
To those in the public sector unions: vote when the ballot papers arrive, vote to take action, vote to strike and when the call comes - walk out. You have the right to withdraw your labour in disgust at the way this government wants to treat you. You have the right to expect support from all trades unionists and from right thinking members of the public.