David Blackburn

The High Court saves Labour’s bacon, for the moment

The High Court saves Labour’s bacon, for the moment
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Commuters won’t be alone in celebrating tonight. The High Court’s award of an injunction against the RMT’s planned Strike Action will have champagne corks popping in Downing Street.

The Union movement’s sudden renaissance is both embarrassing and dangerous for the government. First, it has shifted the election spotlight back onto Labour. Before the BA strike, the Tories were driftwood – powerless to determine the direction in which they were headed. Unite’s political and social prominence exacerbated tensions within the Labour party, with divisions between New and quintessentially Old Labour becoming more stark. As Ed Howcker wrote last night, the next line in the prelude to internecine war is being written in Stoke. The election narrative has become more balanced and Labour looks tired and divided.


Bob Crow’s antediluvian manoeuvres reinforced the sense that the government is powerless to resist industrial action, or, worse still, is supine before its union paymasters. The High Court has spared Labour the ire of irate commuters, which at this stage of the electoral cycle is of potentially huge importance. However, all the High Court has done is delay the reckoning when Labour is forced to search its soul.