It's not just football fans being targeted: as the recession threatens deepen, the strikes have been timed to cause maximum disruption to the post-Christmas sales in London, our main retail powerhouse.
The RMT has acted to against ordinary people’s intentions before: when the English Defence League went to Tower Hamlets in September to protest against its infestation by radical Islamism, the union’s Tube and bus drivers acted to cut off the area. The coach I travelled into London on was informed by the driver that "the BNP (?!) and EDL are marching, so expect trouble". (There was indeed trouble; a woman was thrown to the floor and kicked by women-hating Sharia supporters.)
But a closer look reveals that not every transport worker was singing from the RMT’s hymnbook. The EDL’s report refers to "Tube staff being all too happy to assist us, and even giving us sole use of a platform at Kings Cross station in the run-up to the demonstration."
These helpful staff probably belonged to the RMT – so why the difference? Does the union have members who are tired of the hard-left politics, blind faith in diversity and inflated wages of the top brass? These are certainly criticisms of unions by their members where I work.
I believe there’s an opportunity here to found workers’ committees for people who value their hard-won rights as employees but resent the TUC’s hypocrisy; free-thinking folk who don’t accept that protecting your job means you have to launder money for any political organisation. And, perhaps, who enjoy shopping or watching football on Boxing Day.