Fisking the UNISON dinosaurs

Jurassic Park_edit It's been a great few days in the debate over public spending with the unions. Since UNISON launched their video suggesting any spending cuts would mean there'd be no one left to answer 999 calls or treat patients, and we then launched our spoof featuring numerous non-jobs, it's been fascinating to compare the success of the two.


UNISON's film has attracted 2,470 views on YouTube while ours has attracted 16,239 in less time. It's fair to say that their scaremongering message has not exactly gone down a storm.


Over at the UNISON Scotland blog, they've even put up a post about our video. I thought it deserved to be fisked, so here we go:

business group rattled by UNISON video




Off to a good start. Given our opposition to bailouts and subsidies for big business, and our long-standing criticism of the way many large firms earn huge amounts by being cosy with the Government, it's pretty clear we are anything but supporters of the current corporatism. As for being rattled, we're just angry at union dinosaurs trying to stop essential cuts in public spending.

Well it is clear who the Tax Dodgers Alliance...


Ooh - who's "rattled" now?

see as their main opponent
in their campaign to attack services for the people of the UK


Yes - the public sector unions, who have threatened to strike en masse if the people vote for spending cuts.

– they
have been burning the midnight oil over at their plush offices in the
right-wing enclave in Tufton Street (provided free by Avanta, and their
Chief Executive David Alberto) to cut and paste their lists of so-called
‘non-jobs’ onto UNISON’s
video attacking public spending cuts - which has been posted on the
union's Million Voices campaign page


Sadly UNISON seem to be a bit behind the times. Happily, thanks to the wonders of modern technology, it took about two hours to produce the video, far from "burning the midnight oil". As for our offices in Tufton Street being provided free by Avanta, that's also, erm, not true. We did used to have a free office on Victoria Street generously provided by Avanta as a stopgap, but we moved out of there quite some time ago.

Utilising the Telegraph
blog of Tory MEP Daniel Hannan
they have put a response video out
in the media to claim (as they always do) that there are loads of
non-jobs in the public sector.

Hannan, in case you don't immediately recognise him, is the man who
recently rubbished the NHS as a ’60-year mistake’ in America (on Fox
news - - it's worth a look too.)


They really don't get this interweb thing, do they? Let me explain: We put the video on a thing called "YouTube" and sent it to our supporters using a mystical method known only as "email". That means anyone in the world can put the video on their blog if they like it - it works along the lines of something called the free market, which UNISON also haven't quite got their heads around. Naturally, we're please Daniel Hannan featured the video, just as we're delighted that many others around the world did too. It doesn't mean we "utilised" him.

The so-called Taxpayers' lists of so-called non-jobs are also
instructive. Many of them (for all the fancy names) are about dealing
with the media. Are they suggesting that the public sector doesn’t have
to deal with the misinformation that they and others pump out on a daily
basis? Indeed, I notice they themselves have just appointed a ‘New
Media Co-ordinator’. I assume that is someone to co-ordinate, ‘new
media’ rather than a ‘new’ co-ordinator of all media. So, assuming that
someone deals with the ‘old’ media, that means that they have at least
two. Well what is sauce for the goose …!


At last! UNISON confess that public sector PR posts are there to promote political positions and to counter the work of perfectly legitimate think tanks, campaign groups and private citizens. As for the idea that our own Andy Whitehurst, the New Media Co-ordinator who produced the video, is himself a non-jobber, they merrily disregard the difference between the public sector and the private sector. The public sector is funded by compulsory taxation to provide, in return, public services. PR, spin and political lobbying are not what people want their taxes spent on. In effect people are being forced to fund a political machine. By contrast, a private body like the TPA has political campaigning as its key purpose - and seeing as we are funded voluntarily by thousands of individual donors, they could stop donating if they felt Andy's job (or mine for that matter) was a waste of money.  Given how effective our recent videos have been, I expect they're quite pleased with his work.  We have certainly had positive feedback so far.

Dramatherapists? – I think most clinicians know the value of therapy in
healthcare – obviously the TPA neither knows nor cares. Green jobs –
doesn’t surprise me. What are the TPA’s policies on climate change? Do
they accept that carbon emissions are increasing global warming or not?
Do they think that the polluters are going to reform themselves without
regulation? Most people actually think that the public sector should
lead the way in reducing carbon emissions and carry out the function of
protecting the environment – who do they think should do it? Exxon?


Smear, sly inference, smear, mudslinging - it's good to see the unions have carefully studied the work of Derek Draper and Damien McBride. Indeed with Charlie Whelan at Unite, they might be getting lessons from one of the masters himself! As for the jobs featured, we're happy to let the public judge - and the reaction has been overwhelmingly on our side. Perhaps UNISON's officers are happy that the NHS is spending money on green politics while cancer patients are denied the drugs they need to save their lives, but we aren't.

But the one I am most surprised to notice is the ‘Street Football
Co-ordinator’. Maybe they think people have forgotten their most widely
dropped clanger – but we haven’t. This post was created by Moray Council
in 2006 and – two years later - the TPA whipped up its usual froth of
righteous indignation about it. However Moray Council’s press office
(yes that non-job) had other ideas and put the true story out.


Ah yes, the Street Football Co-ordinator. Let's look at the "true story"
according to the gospel of UNISON. The idea that because it was funded by the council and

The job was in fact part-time, and therefore the cost was half what the
TPA – who had only noticed the top-line salary – claimed.


We didn't just claim it - the council themselves advertised it as that with no mention of being a pro rata figure.

It was only
part-funded by the council, the rest being paid by the police, by other
agencies and by the private sector – the TPA’s chums –


Right, so that'll be a range of other taxpayer-funded bodies and some unspecified amounts from the private sector. The very fact they don't say "the majority of the funding comes from the private sector" suggests that the majority is taxpayer funding, and sadly Moray Council are yet to publish any specific figures.

who were
delighted that the work was taking kids away from vandalism and other
anti social behaviour.


For which no evidence has been produced, only conjecture. Even if it was successfully taking 70 kids out of trouble for a couple of hours each week, this is a hugely expensive way to do it.

So much so in fact that the council has been able
to secure funding until later this year –from all the original


Or in other words, it's not scheduled to have its funding continued after later this year!

So now we know – if you want increased vandalism, environmental damage,
poorer healthcare and authorities who are unable to put their views into
the media – lets thank the TPA!


Chris Bartter
UNISON Scotland Communications Officer


That's UNISON who have received over £120,000 from the taxpayer through the Union Modernisation Fund alone so far this financial year, making Chris Bartter's role itself yet another taxpayer funded non-job.  No wonder he's so touchy about the idea of scrapping ineffective non-jobs.


Here's a parting thought. Since 1998, the Unions have been given £96 million of taxpayers' money supposedly to "modernise" and "learn". Having eaten their way through that mountain of cash, why is it they seem more like 1970s throwbacks, and less modernised, than ever?

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