I am not a Unionist, never have been. Perhaps, back in the day when labour was ruthlessly exploited by capital, I would have joined, but today it feels unnecessary. This, of course, is a delusion on my part.
My political nirvana, where left and right are conspicuously absent, would deliver progressive economics and social benefit through positive leadership without the need for exploitation. This centrism is also delusional.
So even as union membership declines along with their influence, I will concede that they are still needed. The balance between worker and employer will always be precarious.
Nevertheless, I have little time for the modern union movement, mostly because, to me, they epitomise a blinkered, dogmatic worldview that raises their issues ways above any other. My prejudice may not be a good thing, but it is what it is. Recently though, I found myself siding firmly with the unions as they rebutted claims of grubby slander on how they use their money.
Federal police raided the offices of the Australian Workers Union, the uniformed arrival to dig for dirt preceded by a media scrum who had obviously been tipped off. The union claims it has cooperated fully with the authorities on all outstanding matters. It is no coincidence that the leader of the opposition was once the leader of the AWU. On a hunch or a sniff of a lead, unleash the hounds on your suspect who just happens to have past connections to your main rival.
This is truly grubby politics designed to slander your opponent. The Americans call it a fake news, but fake or not, some of the mud will stick. The seed of doubt is watered in its cosy garden pot of compost. Keep the compost moist and the voters will do the rest.
But governments should not be able to manipulate police to achieve this end. When they do, it’s called fascism. And that has a very unpleasant history.
The AWU has my sympathy.
I will always be wary of unionist philosophy and especially of their tactics but when the government behaves in this way it makes unions look like saints. That should tell you enough.
The logic behind this kind of behaviour assumes we can be led by the nose.
It is imperative that everyone is vigilant enough to prove this assumption is always false.