Bring on the 'banner-o-meter'

21st October 2011 at 01:00

I believe it was the veteran Labour Party organiser Jimmy Allison who, in response to a boast about the huge number of party banners hanging on lampposts during an election campaign, said: "Aye, son, but lampposts don't vote."

His remark came to mind as I read the "Standing out from the crowd" letter (7 October) with its attacks on the SSTA for not having dozens of banners at the recent STUC march. I take it we are now measuring a trade union's commitment using a "banner-o-meter"? I wonder if in the next stage of McCormac we should all bring our banners to the negotiations.

It also struck me how many EIS banners and placards I saw in Edinburgh at last autumn's march against cuts - a significant number indeed and every single person holding one. Those who marched alongside and those who stayed at home were equally betrayed by the EIS when it caved in to signing and promoting the sell-out agreement with Cosla.

Did the EIS president take a banner when she met Salmond to sweeten the deal?

Every member of a union marching against something means absolutely nothing if, at the moment of truth, the leadership of that union strikes out in favour.

The SSTA will, I am sure, "step up to the plate" - but doing so means more than marching; it means more than balloting on as-yet undetermined pension proposals to make it look like it cares; and, above all else, it means never betraying the very members you claim to protect.

A final thought: how can you "stand out from the crowd", yet seek to remain "anonymous"?

, Fernbank Drive, Leven, Fife.

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