Part of the Tories’ attempt to wipe out the terrible memory of their previous governments is to claim that working class people are backing them.
Eric Pickles, chair of the Tory party, opened the conference by making a particular appeal to trade unionists.
“I say to union members worried about spiraling debt, job losses and the neglect of thousands of young people consigned to life without a job and a sense of purpose—vote for a party determined to get Britain working, to give our young people a life-changing experience that only a job can bring.”
At least ten unions were holding fringe meetings at the Tory conference this year—a worrying and unusually high number.
Most shockingly, Brendan Barber, the TUC general secretary, is set to speak at a fringe meeting titled “Finding the path to economic recovery”.
He was to share a platform with Tory policy chair—and bank director—Oliver Letwin.
The Tories say that this is the first time they can ever remember this happening.
Union leaders may think that because a Conservative government is looming, they need to get a foot in the door to try to have some influence over its policies.
But the Tories have made their anti-union agenda clear.
The job of trade unionists is not to try and cosy up to them or debate where the cuts will fall—it is to start organising now to stop them.