Thursday 22 October 2009

It is a truth universally acknowledged that an industry in the process of dispute wilfully obfuscates the facts

Roy Mayall's oft-repeated piece in The London Review of Books is, perhaps, the best explanation currently available for our lack of letters today. Even that doesn't really explain it. The BOF's abiding memory of the golden age of strikes and industrial disputes is a blur. Not a blur of fading memory, but a memory of blurred reasoning.

Once the pickets are out, each side is served best by emotional calls to old allegiances. Rational examination of causes and arguments is replaced by rallying calls and hooting horns.

Google "walk sequencing machine", and the most recent hit from a newspaper comes at number 8, from the Manchester Evening News of two days ago. Next, at number 12, comes the Daily Mail - on August 30th. Other terms, such as "2007 Pay and Modernisation Agreement" produce equally meagre results. In the BOF's limited understanding, this last, in its 4th protocol, is at the root of all this, but he can't be sure. Throughout news media land, the fog of dispute is all that can be seen.

No doubt there are articles from the last few days which could be found which lay out the arguments in a clear an unbiassed form, but they're well-hidden. More illuminating by far is the blogosphere, where fact and opinion mingle merrily in a cacophony of actual debate. This is where the real news can be found, and it is for this reason that the BOF has returned.

Next up: the BOF's own as-told-to postie story.