mercredi 9 avril 2008

Like it or l'UMP it

On BFM this morning here in La belle France, a spokesman for the Employment office popped up to say that unemployed people who refuse two "reasonable" job offers will be face benefit withdrawls at "some point" up some some time "yet to be decided".

He droned on that the details have to be worked out with 'our social partners'. French political language sometimes leaves me behind - but this one, I do know. Remember way back nearly thirty years when Trades Unions used to turn up to Ten Downing Street for all those sandwiches and all that beer? In the eighties looking back on it, I thought these sessions were epic confrontations between the unacceptable faces of capitalism and the honest workers of toil. But of course they were nothing of the sort. They were cosy little get togethers that dealt with how to keep the rabble (i.e. us lot) in line, disciplined and cowed.

It's no different here. OK, I read L'Humanité, the yellowing rag of the miniscule Communist Party who still labour under the illusion (or nostalgically collude in its ghostly projection) that the unions, the ineffectual and stifling huff and bluster of the CGT, the feeble rantings of the FO and the odious capitulations of the CFDT, are really actually en fait in conflict with Sarkozy's neo-liberal agenda.

So the discussions with "our social partners" will essentially mean that the Government will present a take it or leave it deal to the unions, who will sleepily go through the motions of objecting and maybe organise a poorly coordinated series of rallies on some Thursday afternoon and hope everyone will go back to sleep.

The talking snout from the UMP (Union for a Popular (Bowel) Movement) trotted out the familiar line (well familiar to Brits anyway) about 'rights and responsibilities' in the defence of this regressive proposal. It all sounded so reasonable on the surface. 'You can receive but you have to give'. But as we all know, it's just gloss on the turd. After all do you really know your rights when it comes to benefits and pensions? Who is going to decide what is a 'reasonable' job offer? And this against the background of a jobs 'market place' weighted heavily in the vampire bosses' favour. Over here, for instance, there has been a spate of cases where bosses have just upped and offed leaving debts and unpaid wages in their wake. Rights and duties my hairy arse.

To round it all off, this morning's interviewee responded in total ruling class confidence to the question about what is going to happen to the working poor by smirking "Well, there's nothing we can do about that."

We'll see about that mate