The Bickerstaffe Record

The world beyond West Lancashire

The Lindsey strikes and the mainstream media: this time it’s different

06.23.09 | 2 Comments

4,000 workers out on strike in successful solidarity with sacked workers at the Lindsey Oil Refinery should be big news – a sign that the tables may be turning, and that labour is beginning to show its strength again.

I detect a distinct lack of enthusiasm from the mainstream press this time around, however.

Back in February, it was front page news,  Newsnight was all over it, and reporters were falling over each other to get up to the East coast and talk about how it is all a different world from London.

So why the difference?  After all, this strike’s gone on longer, has more effective nationwide support, and has Total eating its words.

Perhaps it’s less interesting this time because the mainstream press can’t sell us the ‘racist workers’ line (though look at the Daily Mail coverage and see how it’s doing its best by finding one bloke with a small scabby sign repeating the ‘British jobs for British workers line’ ).  This time there are no workers’ words to edit, so that they sound racist when they’re not.

Perhaps, quite simply, one strike’s in an odd, unvisited part of the country is enough if you’re a budding young metropolitan journalist, so much more at ease with the fashion industry than the oil one.  

Working class people really can be so terribly dull when all they ever do is act in nationwide solidarity.  And this time it’s not even snowing.


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