The Independent’s reporting of the bin problems in Brighton this weekend was pretty irresponsible and unbalanced. I scoured other newspapers but could only find a local online site and the Argus, the city’s newspaper; and the Socialist Worker who disappointingly took a swipe at a near cousin.
On the local Green party’s website, it was clear that the refuse collectors had gone to work that morning. But by the end of the day, the Independent’s website still omitted that, despite readers commenting that the strike was off – for now.
The way the i reported it made it clear that they were for the striking bin workers and against the Green led council whose changes resulted in the industrial action. It seems though that theses rubbish collectors had striked before, during the previous government.
The Independent printed the views of residents who were passionately Labour and ‘would never vote Green now; they were just like everyone else after all’.
I have a suspicion that the only Green council in Britain was given an unusually cut budget to make this progressive party, the most diverse from the ruling one, fail.
This is unfair since it is the Green’s first chance to be leaders, and what happens in one city isn’t a reflection of them as a whole – and nor is one incident or even leadership representative of even Green’s current administration in Brighton and Hove.
The problems are around a pay restructure which allegedly means up to £4k less per annum.
I’ve been trying to find out how much bin workers are paid, and some accounts say £30k+ -if so, I do not pity them a small loss as that’s already a huge wage, far more than many others get. No sources about Brighton’s problems spell out the workers’ wages, which changes one’s sympathies somewhat – only the potential loss.
I am completely against striking as a means of protest, making your community suffer because another party is not appeasing you. I know that many Greens support striking but I never think that industrial action is fair. It is the same ethos as taking hostages – hurt an innocent 3rd party until you get what you want.
Whereas other British national papers have seemingly ignored the situation (though my local mentioned it), it is unfair that biased reporting has sought to whip up bad feeling against one of our most well intentioned parties (and by that I include all existing parties).
My own experience of Green councillors has been very positive.
I am not a political party supporter but I do think that the Green’s policies are a far cry from the usual crowd and based on an ethos of caring, responsibility and genuine concern – which is exactly what government, local beyond, should be about.