What sort of a world are we living in?

I’ve been a little bit overwhelmed recently by everything that’s going on in the world. It’s difficult to keep up when so much is happening that could have an impact on our lives.

Spain Greece FlagsFirstly, there’s the ongoing euro zone crisis. With Spain now in difficulty, it’s hard to see how the crisis can be contained. When the first bailout was agreed for Greece we were told that everything would be alright. But, like perfectly positioned dominoes, one country after another gets into difficulty. If/when Spain asks for help, it’ll clearly be a sign that the future is going to be incredibly tough for us all as the effect on global markets will be severe.

In Greece we have the upcoming election after the parties were unable to form a coalition last month. The far right and left were the biggest winners in that election. As in most countries, the economic crisis has led to a clear split between the population, with voters becoming increasingly tired of the traditional parties. This is obviously dangerous. Yesterday we saw Ilias Kasidiaris, an MP for the far right Golden Dawn Party, hit a member of the Greek Communist Party on live TV. This could be an isolated incident, but it demonstrates how fragile society can be.

Broken EuroThen we have a German Chancellor telling southern European countries how to run their economies and that political union is the way forward. I’m not going to say much more about that bit, but I remember reading about a German Chancellor who told the south what to do. I believe he shot himself in a Berlin bunker.

Now Syria. It seems that with every day comes another massacre in Syria, perpetrated by forces loyal to President Assad. The situation in Syria is at tipping point and could easily descend into a full blown civil war (some would say it’s there already). If that happens, we’ll see surroundingFree Syria countries dragged in, and, ultimately, we could see ourselves dragged in. How can a country claim the moral high ground when it sits back and sees massacres happening, yet we previously invaded a country that we thought had weapons of mass destruction, that actually didn’t? At the minute, the UN are still backing the Annan Plan, put in place by Kofi Annan. His plan has 6 points, the first being a unilateral ceasefire from all sides. His 6 point plan might as well have 600 points as it’s clear that the ceasefire is unlikely to happen.

Jubilee FlagsHere in the UK we had the wonderful event that was Mrs Windsor’s Jubilee. What did we learn from this? We learnt that Close Protection UK is using unpaid (slave) labour to marshall these national events. Making them sleep under a bridge, get changed in public and have no access to a toilet. Hardly something that makes you proud to be British.

Over to the USA now and the state of Wisconsin. Our Brothers and Sisters in the state fought hard to get the number of signatures required to force a recall vote on Governor Scott Walker. This was on the back of unprecedented attacks on workers’ rights. When GovernorWorkers Rights Walker was elected in early 2011 he, with one signature, removed the collective rights of workers in the state. Governor Walker has now won the recall vote, and the Republicans are, as you’d expect, claiming that this is a precursor to what will happen in the US presidential election in November. But, what we should recognise is that this is only the third recall vote to be called in the US, and it happened because the workers of Wisconsin stood up and said ‘no more’.

We also have two major sporting events taking place this year. Firstly, the Euros. Already marred by racism, I think it’ll be difficult to call these games a success. Even less so because England have a very slim chance of progressing beyond the group stages. And then the Olympics, which has to be the biggest corporate event going.

I could, obviously, talk about Jeremy Hunt who, if he was subject to the proposals contained in the Beecroft Report, would have been fired a long time ago. Or I could talk about the Leveson Inquiry, but I suspect there’ll be much more to say next week after David Cameron has appeared.

Join Us ButtonWhat all of these things show us is that there is still a place for Unions and, in many ways, we’re needed more now than we have been for some time. The attack on worker rights, the difficulties some people face financially, inequality in the UK and further afield, and to speak up for those with no voice.

The battle may be a long one, but we’ll succeed.