14/11/2010 - Towards a social action initiative?

SOLIDARITY TRADE UNION National Executive member Mark Walker has added his voice to the recent call for the government to do much more for ex-service personnel.


The original call was made by his brother - and Solidarity President – Adam Walker, in a personal message just prior to Armistice Day.


“Like Adam, I also served my country and people.  He was in the 15th/19th King's Royal Hussars, whilst I served for six years in the RAF where I saw active service in Gulf War I.  As an ex-serviceman and trade unionist, I naturally take a particular interest in all social, economic and industrial affairs which affect both serving and former servicemen and women.”


Mark explained that whilst on his travels, he’s noticed many properties standing empty.  “Some of these have obviously been re-possessed by various building societies – a sad sign of the times.”  Others have just been vandalized.


He called upon the government to link up with the building societies, so that when a property becomes available it could be earmarked for ex-service personnel.  These properties could be sold – at cost – or rented out at an affordable rate. 


“The government is always saying that it owes a huge debt of gratitude to British forces personnel.  Why not honour that debt of gratitude by solving the chronic housing shortage for those who leave the services?”


Although it’s well-known that Solidarity doesn’t get involved with politics, he wondered if the union could, in future, involve itself in some form of self-help, social action initiative or charitable acts.  Such activity would logically follow the ideas already mooted by fellow National Executive members David Kerr and Pat Harrington (who is also the General Secretary of STU).


In September, Mr. Kerr noted that as well as campaigning against the cuts, trade unionists should be thinking in practical terms of how we can support those who are worse off than themselves. 


Such practical activity would also dovetail nicely with the call - made around a year ago - by Mr. Harrington who noted that workers “must build their own political and economic counter-power.”


Concluding, Mark Walker noted:


“British workers in general – and British servicemen and women in particular – have been totally let down by the politicians. 


Tories like David Cameron and Tory apologists like Nick Clegg can’t be trusted.  Nor can Ed Miliband’s Labour Party.  Both the Con-Dem cabinet and Labour shadow-cabinet are full of millionaires.  They’ve completely out of touch with the people.


Many of the establishment unions are no better.  Their leaders – and the unions themselves – would class themselves as ‘socialists’, however, they have incomes and assets that would be the envy of many fat-cats and PLCs!


In addition, they seem to be more interested in unveiling busts of Karl Marx and re-writing the history of the Spanish civil war. 


If the politicians and establishment politicians won’t help the British people out in their hour of need, who will?”