DAILY MAIL COMMENT: Who’s in charge, PM, you or the unions?
With strikes infecting nearly every corner of daily life, an exasperated public could be forgiven for asking the question: Who, if anyone, is running Britain?
Nurses, ambulance drivers, railway workers, teachers, civil servants, even coffin makers, are all coming out in search of completely unrealistic and stratospheric wage claims.
Their union leaders weep crocodile tears over the hardship they are inflicting on a long-suffering public. It is pure hypocrisy.
The more millions of lives are interrupted, the more these far-left saboteurs believe their hand is strengthened, and the more likely the government is to give in to their demands.
Nurses, ambulance drivers and railway workers are leaving in search of unrealistic wage claims.
Because, make no mistake, this choreographed series of mostly public sector strikes is motivated as much by politics as it is by greed.
By trying to bring Britain to its knees, they aim to sink the Tories below the waterline, allowing their Labor brethren to take office at the next election.
So far, the government has put up embarrassingly little resistance to a concerted attack by union moguls. So do you have any plans to crack down on this wave of militancy and get the country moving again? What is your big idea?
In the months since their disastrous and incomprehensible decision to oust Boris Johnson, the Tories have found themselves at a loss and unclear about their purpose.
Now Rishi Sunak has a formidable task to stamp his authority on the party and articulate a broad and optimistic vision for the future of this country.
By far the biggest electoral asset the Conservatives have, the Prime Minister must show that he is doing everything he can to end these ruinous strikes.
We are sure that Downing Street keeps in touch with events on a daily basis. But Sunak must be seen to take charge of this crisis.
It is imperative that you explain to the country exactly why we cannot afford to give in to the exorbitant demands of the unions, and that wildly inflationary wage increases cannot be achieved through blackmail.
To make the strikes even more intolerable, the sick and vulnerable are now further embroiled in the turmoil, with unions announcing that thousands of ambulance workers will be out of work.
It is true that they have promised that emergency calls will be answered. But what if sick and injured patients can’t get to the hospital by themselves? Lives would be put in danger.
However, for all the public’s understandable discontent with the government in recent months, they should not be deluded into thinking that Labor has answers. Most likely it would make a bad situation infinitely worse.
The party is, and always has been, a slave to the unions, ideologically and financially. In fact, the unions are still their paymaster, pumping £1.6m into Labor coffers in the last three months.
Is Sir Keir Starmer really going to bite the hand that feeds him? Of course not.
If history is any guide, what would happen is that a Labor government would cave in to all union demands, piling up loans and raising taxes even higher than they are now to foot the bill.
The Wilson-Callaghan administration of 1974-1979 came with a promise to end industrial strife and ended the Winter of Discontent.
Yes, the Tories are 20 points behind in the polls. But if they show iron Thatcher determination, they can still dig themselves out of the mire and back into the fray.
Sunak could do worse than make a clear case for strict anti-strike laws, showing the public that he is on their side.
By December 2024, the real question people will be asking is not who rules Britain, but who can be trusted to do better? The prime minister’s job is to make sure the response is from the Conservatives.