BBC Home editor Mark Easton believes Downing Street must be disappointed by the small scale of today’s strikes because, apparently, it shows that the government’s attempts to create an engaged citizenry is failing:

But if there is a surprise at the action today, it is that we haven’t seen more of it. And as I shall explain, I think for some in Downing Street, that is a bit of a worry.
When the budget cuts were announced back in 2010 there was an acceptance that austerity, once it started to bite, would be greeted by widespread public anger. Government unpopularity at this point in the cycle was a given and the big question was how the British population would make their fury felt…
My guess is that they imagined the pain of the cuts would wake people up to their democratic rights. While disagreeing with those who oppose their policies, of course, I suspect they thought this period in our politics might also represent an opportunity to rouse a populace that has come to regard itself as consumer rather than citizen.

Something tells me that if today’s strikes had been much bigger Easton would not have been claiming it as proof that the Big Society is working. Heads he wins, tails they lose. If he wants to see someone who is really disappointed in the level of protest, my “guess” is that he should look in the mirror.

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  1. Mailman says:

    Sorry…there were strikes today????

    I must have blinked and missed them.



  2. Nick Robinson says:

    It’s yet another embarassing failure for the Tories- one not seen since the mighty underdog Ken Livingstone almost defeated unpopular Tory Mayoral candidate Boris Johnson.

    Last week, the Labour party were boosted by the French election where the massively popular Hollande utterly thrashed the deeply unpopular Sarkozy by such a wide margin of victory, one questions whether anyone could provide a viable alternative to socialism ever again. It is likely that this embarassing lack of demonstration againt the unpopular and discredited coalition can only mean even more great things for Ed Milliband.


  3. Easton is right. His premise is ludicrous.

    And this must worry David Cameron and some of his closest advisors. Why? Because we have a prime minister whose central mission is the idea of building an active citizenry.

    Moronic, even. I think it actually betrays his partisan perspective, doesn’t it? He believes “an active citizenry” means protesting against the Government and the smashy-smashy. He can’t accept that the entire country isn’t violently angry at the two posh boys.


    • chrisH says:

      But shouldn`t Camerons useless lot of milksops then be given due credit for the riots of last August then?
      Such active citizenry…and so if we add student tuition types and the Occupy mob….well, this is a fine endorsement of the Coalition is it not?
      Think it`ll be called the Easton Paradox…that upside down , inside out-and frankly barking-take on any political analysis that keeps the useless Tories hamstrung.
      As if they`d ever be a threat to the BBC…but let them keep their ganders up over at the BBC, so they`ll be forever chasing imaginary cars and not actually DOING anything


    • Guest Who says:

      ‘His premise is ludicrous.’
      Including his two, I count about 9 images of ant-government protesters.
      What’s he on about?
      In BBC-‘accurate’, Flanders-checked Maths that is at least 90,000.


  4. ltwf 1964 says:

    Easton is a bigger tool than I had previously thought

    I mean,how genuinely pathetic is that take on a failing strike campaign?

    these leftards really do inhabit a different universe…….I just wish it was literally another universe


  5. bodo says:

    Everytime a union spokesman says the average public sector pension is only £7,000 remember that this includes pensions of people who have only worked part-time, or perhaps only worked in the public sector for a couple of years, or are the widows of ex public sector workers (entitled to half).

    The BBC let the unions get away with this grossly misleading figure time after time and never point out the more revealing figures of half or two thirds final salary, often with three years pension as a tax-free lump sum.
    The average teacher can expect something like £30,000 pension, and a lump sum of £100,000. Something they don’t like revealing when interviewed.

    It’s the sort of deal those of us in the private sector can only dream about due in large part to Gordon Brown’s 5 billion a year tax grab from pension funds. Something else the BBC never mentions.


    • DJ says:

      I’m pretty sure it’s index-linked too.

      … which means if one of us proles wanted the same deal, it’d cost us around £900K for an index-linked annuity starting at £30,000 pa and age 60.

      Or, to put it another way, with the tax-free lump sum on top, it’d be cheaper overall to give these guys a £1 million cheque on retirement in lieu of a pension. But the BBC won’t ever mention that in between all the talk of ‘fat cats’ in the private sector.


      • God forbid all annual contributions should have been put into private, properly managed accounts in the first place, rather than having the government liable forever and ever, regardless of how much cash is available at the time. Oh, wait, Gordon Brown would have raided that as well…..


    • johnnythefish says:

      Shall we just stand by and admire the Left for their skilful propagandising or give it to them with both barrels? Coalition ministers have only themselves to blame for not getting a simple and effective message across, and doing it over and over i.e. public sector pensions are unfunded to the tune of £1,000,000,000,000 and if nothing changes then someone will pick up that bill – and that will be every private sector employee in the country to the tune of, oh, I dunno – someone do the maths.


  6. bodo says:

    Oh, and for anyone who knows who to complain too, the BBC web site gives wrong information public sector pensions. For most of them it says the lump sum on retirement is 3/80ths. The true figure is three years pension, so if someone has 40 years service they would get 120 80ths. So the BBC is out by a factor of 40.

    It’s been up for ages now, I’m sure they must have been told they are wrong but they still put the inaccurate information up. I’m sure the unions are delighted.



    • xplod says:

      Bodo, sorry, you’re wrong. The 3/80ths is the lump sum that was given prior to March 2008. After then, the pension is worked out on 60ths. (1 years service attracts 1/60 final salary). There is NO guaranteed lump sum, but there is a facility to convert some of the annual pension into a lump sum – so you reduce your annual pension to obtain the lump sum. So your estimation of 120/80ths is a nonsense, I’m afraid. Sorry to burst that balloon!


      • bodo says:

        xplod – there are millions who will get 3 years. The BBC site gives bogus info.

        When you retire from the NHS Pension Scheme (Amended 1 April 2008) you will get a pension and tax free lump sum. Your annual pension will be 1/80 of the best of your last 3 years pensionable pay for each year of Scheme membership. Part years of membership will also count towards your pension. This will usually be paid for the rest of your life. Your lump sum will normally be 3 times your yearly pension, but married men with membership before 25.3.72 may get a smaller lump sum.


        • xplod says:

          Bodo, the LGPS scheme works as I described, but can I just point one thing out – you seem to infer that a pension includes a lump sum equal to 3 years pay, when, at best it is 3 years pension equivalent – which is what I think you’re saying here “Your lump sum will normally be 3 times your yearly pension”. Bit confusing ! Oh, and BTW, how many married men do you know who are still in the NHSPS who started before March 1972? They’re long gone, I suspect !!


          • bodo says:

            xplod – I stand by my post, which I think you have misread, but my main point [as per this site] is not the actual level of public pension, rather the BBC’s deceptive reporting, bordering on the dishonest.


  7. lojolondon says:

    The BBBC always promotes every strike with headline and front-page publicity. Then desperately disappointed when people go to work as normal. Only thing this time is that they can’t blame the tories as they did for the fuel tanker drivers non-strike!


  8. Barry says:

    I often watch the news on a split screen – Sky on the left and BBC on the right (I know, wrong way round) so that I can switch across when the commercials come on or to watch something in particular.

    It makes the different priorities between the two channels very clear. The BBC invariably leads with anything detrimental to the coalition whereas Sky is more selective. Not perfect mind you, just more selective.

    Many TVs can do this – I recommend it.


  9. Haz says:

    That is exactly the comment I left at the bottom of Easton’s “article”: I think he was upset more people didn’t go out. I get so furious with them I have to limit my viewing of BBC articles on anything political. It’s a disgrace!


  10. johnnythefish says:

    ‘When the budget cuts were announced back in 2010 there was an acceptance that austerity, once it started to bite, would be greeted by widespread public anger’.
    Accepted by whom? The Islington chattering classes? Anyway, that should read ‘widespread public sector anger’ as the private sector had already taken a large share of the pain, quietly and with dignity. And to think when Crash Gordon became Chancellor in 1997, something like 85% of the private sector were on final salary pensions.


  11. Dave s says:

    What an idiot.
    And such a huge sense of entitlement by all those who live off the state.
    We want more and we want it now. Like spoilt children .
    The BBC is riddled with this sense of entitlement. It is funded by forced expropriation disguised as a television tax. Without any justification in a digital age.
    Puiblic sector workers are part of the community. They cannot demand preferential treatment. That is undemocratic.
    Not Easton’s whinging about a lack of public anger over the austerity.
    Many of us have accepted that we will have to work much much longer. None of us have a “right” to early retirement and a pension paid for by those who still have to work.
    Easton needs to grow up and get a real job.


    • bodo says:

      As a public sector organisation the BBC is hopelessly compromised when it comes to reporting on public sector pensions. Every report should feature a “declaration of interest” by the BBC.

      A BBC insider (I think, I wish I could remember who) wrote a few years ago about the lack of creativity and huge overstaffing in the middle ranks of the BBC, to paraphrase; “They are keeping their heads down, hoping to avoid being picked for redundancy, and looking forward to their generous final salary pensions”.
      It is exactly these people, editors and producers etc who make the day-to-day decisions about what appears on our screens.


  12. johnnythefish says:

    Just watched the 10 o’ clock BBC Views. Plenty of coverage of whining strikers complaining about how they’re going to have to work longer, pay more for their pensions etc. No challenge to any of the organisers on how their massively unfunded gold-plated pensions are going to be paid for without either a massive hike in taxes for everybody lasting for generations or increasing government borrowing on a huge scale with the inevitable rises in interest rates that will follow. How can a supposedly impartial public broadcaster supposedly acting in the public interest be so irresponsible with their one-sided reporting? Does the BBC know the private sector exists? Where were they when their pensions were being decimated under Labour? Are they really so thick they don’t understand the basic economics of the situation?