The party of labour appears to be on a collision course with the organised labour. Derek Simpson, the joint leader of the UK's largest trade union, told the government that "pay restraint" was "unrealistic."
Simpson also took the opportunity to denounce the banking sector and government as the "real culprits" behind the credit crunch:
"The finance industry was left to its own devices and displayed such staggering irresponsibility that we are now experiencing a world economic crisis. Their attempts to drive up profits coupled with rising food and energy prices means that the Government now wants to drive down the wages of hard-working families, but they never had the nerve to rein in the unrestrained excesses of the boardroom.
The wages of hard-working families are not the cause of inflation. We have a credit squeeze, falling real incomes, rising food and energy costs, a shortage of affordable housing and a higher proportion of taxation falling on the lowest 90 per cent of earners than the top 10.
Ministers have been silent as boardroom pay has run riot. Why should those with the least have to tighten their belts first? It would be irresponsible of us as trade unionists not to represent our members at the negotiating table in forthcoming pay rounds."
Don't you just love this "Dave Spart" rhetoric? Evil bankers, victimized families, overpaid bosses, and a heartless, silent government - it is all so simple and straightfoward. In contrast, Alistair Darling's pleas for wage restraint seem lame:
"From the boardroom to everyone, public and private alike, the last thing any of us want is to get into the situation in the 1970s and 1980s, for example, where you simply lost out because whatever your pay increase it was simply eaten up by the prices in the shops."
Actually, Darling's description of the 1970s and 1980s sounds a lot like a trip to the shops today.