Star comment: Rail strike blame game shows what a dysfunctional society we live in

So who is to blame for today’s rail strike?

Won't see many trains running this week
Won't see many trains running this week

The unions blame ministers for refusing to engage in negotiations. Ministers blame the unions for wanting to create a class war and say the strike has more to do with ideology than any practical reasons. Labour says the Tories want the strike to happen because they want division in society and also want to divert attention away from Partygate.

There is probably an element of truth in all three of those points of view. It shows what a dysfunctional society we live in where acts of economic self-sabotage are acceptable.

There are all kinds of reasons why the strike is on today and we face another two days of disruption. It is true that railway workers have waited two years for a rise and are fed up with the jam-tomorrow mantra.

It is also true that inflation is spiralling into double figures and the value of wages is falling. Similarly, it is true that we cannot afford to give workers double-digit wage rises lest we create an inflationary wage-price spiral that will send the economy out of control.

Rising inflation gives the unions chance to flex their muscles. The Government wants to look strong against the unions and Labour can stand at the sidelines with the luxury of being in opposition – backing the unions’ right to strike but not totally condoning it and criticising the government without really coming up with an alternative plan.

And while all this political fighting goes on, there are millions missing medical appointments, cancelling plans and having to clog up roads rather than take the train.

The worry is that things will simply get worse.

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