MPs were laughing at comrade Digby Jones this afternoon, but I suspect that he’ll defect to Tories, before the next election and at a time calculated to maximise any damage to the government. And I’m willing to take modest wagers to that effect.
Sir Digby Jones’s views on trade unionism are well known; he thinks them outdated because adaptable, well trained workers need never worry about being mistreated or laid-off by their employer. More important than Sir Digby’s apparent naïvety is that to assault trades union rights is to assault the basic human right to join forces with others who share common goals and interests. Arguments that trade unions distort the internal markets that exist within each employer are flawed because they fail to acknowledge that an employer speaks with one voice and inevitably uses that power to buy labour at the best price; unions can only aspire to level the playing field.
Anyway. Gordon Brown’s appointments from within Lib Dem ranks are far cleverer. Many Labour voters switched to the Lib Dems because they’d like to see them in a coalition with Labour, pulling troops out of Iraq and taking a more corporatist, anti-private sector approach to public services. They’re already on their way back, but surprisingly the Tories don’t appear to be benefiting from ex-Conservative Lib Dem’s returning for fear the third party will prop up Labour in a hung parliament.