In a healthy, well-ordered society, in order to achieve safety, efficiency, fairness and innovation, activities would be under the control of those workers who possess the relevant direct experience and knowledge to run them. Thus, for example
- Running trains would be determined by train crew, station staff and maintenance engineers.
- The fire service would be run by fire fighters
- Schools would be under the control of teachers.
- Universities would be under the control of those who research and teach in them.
- Hospitals would be run by doctors and nurses with suitable input from those who provide the essential support services – cleaning, food etc.
They would need, of course, a few advisers to assist them, but this would be on the basis of ‘on tap but not on top’; and some exceptions would be necessary. The armed forces, police and security services would still need close, democratic monitoring as their activities are too intrusive to be left to generals, police commissioners and shadowy chief spooks.
As we were reminded again this week, our society is neither healthy nor well-ordered.
- RMT and TSSA opposition to removing guards from trains and reducing platform staff is ignored. Whether this had an effect on the Aberdeen train crash this week remains to be seen.
- Three years after Grenfell, the FBU’s concern about inflammable cladding continue to be ignored.
- Schools are set to re-open in the autumn while concerns expressed by the NEU are swept aside and NEU itself is attacked in the yellow press by stooge Tory MPs. Meanwhile, teacher assessments in lieu of exam results are amended by a government that consistently behaves as if it knows more about teaching than do teachers.
- Universities are displaying more concern about the loss of income from fees from foreign students than the quality of the education they will be proving in the autumn to students from the UK.
Furthermore, as we emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic and respond to the ensuing recession, ‘business as usual’ is no longer an option. We face a global climate crisis that, unaddressed, could dwarf the effect of the pandemic. We cannot expect the rich and powerful, or the governments that promote and protect their interests, to come up with solutions. They are too well insulated, financially and physically, from the consequences. Workers lack this insulation. Without their input, the current mess we are in will be nothing compared with what is to come.