Andrew Marr: Rail strikes will cause the biggest political problems for Labour

20 June 2022, 18:30

Andrew Marr gives his take ahead of rail strikes

By Megan Hinton

Andrew Marr says the rail strikes could be good for Boris Johnson as Labour faces backlash after much of the public sector threaten strike action over pay amid the cost of living crisis.

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Opening LBC's Tonight with Andrew Marr, the presenter said: "It's going to be a long hot summer tomorrow the biggest rail strikes in 30 years begin, London gets Tube strikes as well.

"Other unions covering much of the public sector, schools, hospital, care homes, local government, are also considering striking as inflation outpaces the pay rises they are being offered.

"And this morning Simon Clark the Treasury Minister there wouldn’t be much more money coming for any of those groups... Or in other words, if you are in work you have to be prepared to get a little poorer this year.

"The view from the rail unions is unsparingly a bit different Mick Lynch, general secretary or the RMT Union said at the weekend that Johnson’s government were seeking to butcher the working class.

Read more: Crippling rail strikes will plunge Britain into 'lockdown' as last-minute talks fail

"The message he said was that we are in a class struggle now… Well that struggle is going to make life that much harder for many millions of ordinary folk, but what about it’s political effect?

"It’s pretty obvious the Prime Minister will use this against Labour, which is funded by the unions, talking endlessly about Labour’s rail strike and however many times Keir Starmer says he doesn’t want the strikes to go ahead, the Tories call it Starmer's rail strikes anyway. Will that work?

"The Government wants to nationalise the rail network, they are launching the state owned Great British Railways next year. But they don’t want to nationalise the talks to end the rail strike.

"Ministers absolutely refuse to get round the table themselves ‘they’ll be no beer and sandwiches under Number 10 for us’ they say, although thinking about what went on there in lockdown you could have fooled me.

"So anyway who will Joe public blame?

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"We will get some idea later this week with Wakefield and Tiverton by-elections but my suspicion for what it’s worth is that if we see spreading strikes across the board this year, perfectly possible because of inflation, that will cause the biggest political problems for Labour.

"And this is such a big story affecting so many lives that it could change the shape of politics generally including the next general election. Johnson is watching carefully, those strikes bad for the public could be good for him.

"His predecessor David Cameron famously called him a greased piglet, well greased piglets move fast."