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Friday, July 31, 2009

Great line of the day 

Rick Salutin writes a sensible column about the Toronto civic strike He's the first commentator I have read who tries to get away from the horserace talk of "winners and losers" and accurately describe what actually happened:
The Globe's Marcus Gee wrote that at most, the mayor won a “partial victory.” Others said he “caved.” The National Post headlined, “Unions won, hands down.” His last press conference was like a lynch mob. Please note that the war talk didn't come from the unions. What had they “won,” to so annoy the class-warmongers? Exactly nothing. They gained nothing, never even aimed to gain. Their goals were to preserve what they had, and they got at most a partial victory. They held onto a diminishing (unto zero) part of their sick days bank, and a fraction of the wage increase that others, like police, received. What kind of victory do the critics want – unconditional surrender? Maybe the mayor should have A-bombed the picket lines. But if you call for social warfare, you might get it. There are scattered signs: VIA went briefly on strike; in South Africa, there are riots against the failure to deliver social justice as promised since the end of apartheid; even in the United States, people have been arrested, calling for single-payer health care. What causes social upheaval is not so much desperation, which is always in supply, as it is overdoses of sanctimony, hypocrisy and double standards.
Emphasis mine.

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