Amid the Sturm und Drang, two truths emerge:
- The Tories need to clarify a long-term position. On the one hand, they want hands-off private enterprise, deploring economic micromanagement and interference; on the other there is this constant demand for government intervention. On the one hand, they say the relationship between the Labour Party and the Trades Unions is too close. Next minute they winge it isn’t close enough, because government doesn’t intervene. It’s so easy being the Opposition: you’re not held liable.
- Willie Walsh, the IALPA poacher turned head gamekeeper, is a union-buster. That was what he did at Aer Lingus. That is why he was hired at BA. That’s why he got a 6% pay rise last year (to a total of £743,ooo, with a further million in share rights), while the company he runs lost over £400 million. That’s why he’s doing what he’s paid to do.
There’s a third, unconfirmed, suggestion:
- BA have the highest ratio of back-office staff to flight crew among UK airlines. It is even suggested that ratio looks bad in comparison with European rivals. Yet Walsh chooses to target the flight-crew, the people at the sharp end of the self-loading freight interface. It’s almost as if the intention was to ground those flights.