Three strikes and you’re out…

Back once again, our weekly columnist Ben Harvey.

People have often asked me when I’m going to come out of the closet. I mean, it’s not as if I haven’t dropped enough hints, over the years. All the innuendo, all the signs. But times have changed, and in these liberal, accepting days of personal freedom I feel able to come out and admit the truth to myself, to my friends and, hardest of all, to my parents.

Because, you see, I am a Tory.

There! I’ve said it. All those years of repression, of guilt, of the pant-wetting terror of being Found Out. All that laughing along when my friends made jokes at the expense of My People. Hoarding my secret literature under my bed and being very, very careful with my internet-history…it feels funny, this sensation of not having to hide who I really am any more. I wonder if there’s some sort of march I can take part in.

Anyway, I mention this because My People are mustering, coagulating out of the shadows and running together like hot mercury, all because we’ve finally decided that the forces of Evil Commie Socialism in this country are overdue for a damn good kicking. For example, these postmen! The postmen – or is it ‘postpeople” these days? ‘Postperson Pat” doesn’t quite scan, does it – are striking, are gang-f*cking the entire country because they’re upset that their statutory right to have twenty-eight tea-breaks a day and to be able to spend three hours on the shitter are being politely questioned by the people who pay them their wages.

It’s a bit of a grim trend, really. Firemen, tube-drivers, now the legions of posties, all whining for more cash, better pensions, more time on the can. They’re a red tide, dear reader, a vile flow of pinko slackers intent on eroding all that is good and noble in this country. Since the unwritten rules of good behaviour & gentlemanly conduct mean that we can’t actually roast these idiots on their own picket-line braziers without getting a sharp note from the UN we are, instead, going to have to go resolve this sorry state of affairs through the ballot-box. And although our election hopes rest on David Cameron – a man without a chin – he is at least in possession of a backbone, which is more than can be said for Gordon Brown.

Or should that be Gordon Yellow?

The postal strikes have hamstrung this country. They’ve transmogrified us into a third-world nation, where cheques really do go missing in the post, where pensioners go hungry, where the thesaurus I bought off eBay is delayed to the extent that I’m forced to use words like ‘transmogrified”. It’s humiliating. So; the course of action is clear. We can either give these work-shy Trotskyites what they want, and end up paying, say, some gutty Cockney tube-driver £40k a year to mutter snide remarks about standing clear of the doors* or we can just get rid of them.

I’m for the latter. The sooner people realise that human beings are essentially disposable, the better – if, say, the battery in your phone is malfunctioning then you wouldn’t think twice about ripping it out and replacing it with another one, pausing only to set fire to the defective chunk of lithium simply because it tells you not to in such big writing. As such we must tear these defective people from our midst, the only small problem, of course, being how to send them their P45s when there’s no mail.

So – where am I going with this, apart from the inescapable conclusion that Gordon Brown should be sentenced to a life of licking envelopes in some otherwise-empty sorting-office somewhere? Well, I just thought I’d gloat, partly in The Enemy scoring a set of own-goals that portray them as having all the competence, courage & influence of those Suicide Bakers who tried to blow us all up with chapati flour last year. Most of my gloating, though, is due to the economics – the repercussions that mean that whilst you can try and derail the lines of data and correspondence you can never actually stop the message getting through; you can only divert it.

And what did people do when they couldn’t send post? They made telephone calls. They sent email and e-faxes. They punted everything over to intranets. The only organisations that couldn’t adapt were moribund government departments, direct-mail & subscription providers, companies supplying low-priority goods and those firms whose admin managers are too set in their obsessive-compulsive ways to do anything even vaguely differently.

Higher call traffic = kerching. Higher data-rates = kerching. You can have as many strikes as you like, my card-carrying darlings, because for us in this industry it’s a little Christmas every time you do. Which does beg an interesting question; is the mobile world vulnerable to industrial action, at all…?

Happily, the answer is “almost certainly not”. It’s vulnerable to blackmail, yes, and to extortionate wage demands from BOFHs who know where all the skeletons are and, as the demarcation between call-networks and data-networks meld further into the internet it might be the case that, one day, we’re bought to our knees by a spotty 15 year-old and his million-strong legion of virus-slaved PCs. But a strike would obviously only be a problem if it came from those people who could knock out swathes of coverage, services & routing at the flick of a switch, so it’s just as well that we pay the technicians in the business so very well, isn’t it?

God. I should stop giving them ideas…

*oh no…hang on! We’re doing that now!

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