“We were always willing to
engage with the unions,” said cabinet minister Oliver Dowden.
That’s not quite how union leaders saw it, when the government was adamant that they could not talk about this year’s pay,
and no more money could be found for public sector wages.
Dowden tried to
focus instead on what he said was a “decent deal’” that the two sides had now
managed to broker, in the hope that union members would accept what’s been put
on the table.
Were months wasted, with needless disruption for the public, before the inevitable negotiation could take place, you might wonder? That was not something the government minister was willing to admit.
Nor was Dowden able to say how many public sector employees would benefit
from the government’s changes to pensions, which make it easier for the highly
paid to save. There’s bound to be political argument on this point in the
And there’ll certainly be headlines when Boris Johnson appears in front of MPs to face questions on Wednesday over what really happened under his roof during lockdown.
Dowden, a close ally of Rishi Sunak’s, said he was sure the former prime minister would put forward a “robust defence” of his conduct.
The newspapers are full of his allies trying to claim the process he’s currently facing is somehow unfair – remember the committee who’ll be grilling him is made up of Conservative as well as Labour MPs.
Remember too, Boris Johnson has already been fined by the police, and ousted by his party. Whatever he says on Wednesday, there is no changing that.
What really stood out on today’s show this morning, however, was how awful people’s experience of what happens online can be.
There are plenty of wonderful things about the online world, but the testimony of Georgia Harrison shows its darker side.
Parliament is trying to bring in new laws to crack down on some of those harms, but our guests were not under any illusion over how hard that might actually be.