The most extraordinary thing about the scandal of Unite at Grangemouth and in Falkirk is how long it took the outside world to notice. Partly, this is an effect of devolution: almost nothing Scottish is now considered news in London, even if it is of kingdom-wide importance. Partly, it results from the loss of media and political attention to trade union affairs.
So successful was Mrs Thatcher in taming union political power that newspapers laid off the labour correspondents who, in the 1970s and early 1980s, had been the aristocrats of the news room. As for the Tories, they have forgotten the Cold War arts of keeping dossiers on subversion. But the Reds who were once so plentifully under the bed never completely went away, and those that survived did not lose their ancient craft of entryism. Time to monitor them once again.
This is an preview from Charles Moore’s Spectator’s Notes in the forthcoming issue of the Spectator. Click here to read for free with a trial of The Spectator app for iPad and iPhone. You can also subscribe with a free trial on the Kindle Fire.
Tags: Grangemouth, Margaret Thatcher, Unite