Paul License: You’re welcome to our very real world

Wigan College Staff form a picket line outside the Pagefield building. They are holding the strike over pay and pensions changes
Wigan College Staff form a picket line outside the Pagefield building. They are holding the strike over pay and pensions changes
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am I living in a parallel universe, or what?

AM I living in a parallel universe, or what?

For the last three years or so I have been having to pay ever-keener attention to my wallet. And the future looks no brighter.

You see, like thousands of others in the private sector, there was a wage freeze.

Then there was a parsimonious pay rise.

And, finally, my final salary pension was no more.

Did we complain? Of course we did.

Did we do anything about it? Of course we didn’t.

You see, we are not stupid, or blind. We know that the entire capitalist system has been rocked to its foundations.

We’ve seen mighty institutions brought to their knees. Fortunes lost.

Money, if you like it or not, makes the world go around.

Even the staunchest socialists recognise this and want to tax the fat cats until their pips squeak, spending their money elsewhere.

But money, for a heartbeat, suddenly wasn’t enough and the world staggered towards economic oblivion.

We are still re-positioning our finances and massive uncertainty hangs overhead.

That is the reality of the universe in which I live.

Meanwhile, in the parallel universe occupied by the public sector the penny just hasn’t dropped.

They are behaving as though the very foundations of our system hadn’t been undermined.

How else can you explain the howls of disbelief when it was suggested that their pensions are no longer affordable and, like the rest of us, they must take a reality-check?

The public workforce isn’t just complaining. They’re campaigning too. Tens of thousands of civil and public servant members of the Public and Commercial Services union across Yorkshire and the Humber have voted to strike over cuts to jobs, pensions and pay.

And they are working closely with the National Union of Teachers and Association of Teachers and Lecturers who also voted to strike.

To cause as much disruption as possible.

But who will suffer?

Their Lordships in Westminster? The Borough Barons in our Town Halls?

Nope. None of the above. The people who will suffer are you and me. Joe and Josephine Soap for whom the public sector workers...er, work.

So because they are expected to undergo some of the privation which the private sector - the people who pay their wages - have endured, they are going to make our lives even more difficult.

Our kids won’t be taught. Our street lights won’t get fixed. Our potholes won’t be ... oh, sorry. They won’t be repaired anyway.

But you get the picture.

The union leaders proclaim that the cuts aren’t necessary. In fact, we should pay our way out of the recession.

Set on even more public sector staff to do goodness knows what.

What a load of short-sighted, single-minded rubbish!

And who will pay for these jobs? Who will stump up the cash for the gold-plated, bomb-proof pensions the public sector see as their birthright?

That’s right. You and me. The ones who are being threatened with disruption by people who clearly don’t care about delivering services. They just care about filling their pockets, now and in the pension-age future.

It’s time they got real. It’s time they stepped out of their parallel universe.

Welcome to the real world.