This present UK government has no idea of the affects of their policies on ordinary people. when they use the term working people it has no relation to most people who work in lower paid jobs. To them anybody who is out of work has only themselves to blame. This from a government made up of people who have never had to face the problem of where the next money is coming from. They have never had to face the daily grind of having to look for work. There is no understanding of how their policies affect communities.
As Charlie Brookes told his son Mark in my book A Ceremony of Innocence set in the 19080's during the Thatcher Premiership while discussing the need to strike against the policies of Brents Shipyard. Charlie is the Chief Shop Steward at Brents, his son an officer in the British Merchant Marine and, though he would never think of it in those terms, upwardly mobile, mixing in circles his father would never contemplate. They disagree about the need for a strike.
"It is still a them against us situation," Charlie remarked wearily. " The employers think because they put up the money, they can push the workers around exactly as they please. It is like going back to the last century. If they could ban trade unions they would and there is no doubt that this present government will if they can get away with it. Managers always demand the largest share of the cake and ignore the major contribution of the workers. Every so often they let us share a little of those rewards which we have earned with little help from them. When times get hard, all the talk of sacrifice falls on us not on them. It is like a little old lady throwing breadcrumbs into a pond to the ducks. They get plenty when she has food to spare but only a little when times are hard and maybe none at all when times are desperate. Secure in their world of financial strength, they spout their sadness at our plight but state that the burden must be born with servility because we are dispensable. All the years when things have been good, they have sat in their plush offices, eaten their expense account lunches and basked in the reflected glory of our hard work."
" Yes," Charlie went on, waving aside Mark's protest, " it is my friends sweat, exhaustion and broken bodies which has allowed them to live in luxury. Now things are getting hard, you don't see most of them selling their cars and their houses to make ends meet. They sit back over their brandies and cigars, saying ' let the workers suffer the cuts, they can take that kind of pressure and besides, they are not important '. The managers can sit in their enclosed community, never having to come down the hill and smell the odour of fear or taste the bitterness of poverty which will engulf us before long. Well, we aim at least to show them that we think we are important and we are part of the same community as they are. Let us see how many ships they can make without us or how much money they make if we are not there. If nothing else they will be made to take our opinions seriously when they next look into the future and see it only through their standpoint."
A Ceremony of Innocence a novel which contains adult themes.
Two brothers are at home on holiday much to the delight of their mother. It was the first time they had been at home together at the same time for several years. Their father is the union convener at the local shipyard and he leads the men out on strike against proposed redundancies at the same time as the brothers arrive home. Though on the surface both brothers support their father, underneath the surface there simmers the stew of disagreement. Mark, the elder brother, is fresh from months at sea as a ships officer and refuses to compromise his upwardly mobile lifestyle or his friends for the sake of family harmony. He lives for the moment and grabs any opportunity for happiness. Jim, freshly graduated from university, supports his father passionately and without question.
Can the brothers find a way to compromise their positions and fulfil their mother’s wish for a happy few weeks or will their anger boil over into open conflict and family break up?
A Ceremony of Innocence by Edmund Gubbins. is available from www.amazon.com, www.amazon.co.uk and www.createspace.com as a paper back. From the Kindle Store at Amazon for downloading to e-readers.,