Possibly the greatest tragedy of British history's past 200 years has the been the development of a natural antagonism in our industrial culture. Analysis of how and why this came about has defeated the most capable historians. Many have pet theories, but few have solid answers.
The widely-reported raid which has taken place on the offices of The Consulting Association sadly shows that this culture may be still be alive and well amongst employers. My belief is that its root is the anti-Christian habit, common amongst those whom GK Chesterton rightly derided as 'mucky millionaires', of considering those without whom their business could not be performed as just more fungible, disposable assets on their balance sheet; human tools whose only purpose is the achievement of gain.
Of course, the historic function of the British government has never been to govern the British people, but to keep a lid on them and relieve any pressure which might cause them to burst out and revolt. Accordingly, over time laws developed which guaranteed the rights of labour. The theory was that the rights of labour and capital would be brought into balance - but our inherent conservatism resulted in us becoming entrenched in our own wee laagers. It was just as ridiculous to assume that boilermakers in Plymouth should be expected to strike in support of boilermakers in Dundee as it was to suggest that businessowners should be able to conduct their businesses without government interference - if our history shows nothing else, it is that that particular demographic should always be kept on the shortest of short leashes.
The Thatcher union reforms tilted the balance away from labour again - however, this was not done out of any desire to keep a lid on the people, but out of the Conservative Party's close identification with business and businesspeople. This was a catastrophe which 12 years of a government which still has the gall to call itself 'Labour' has done nothing to address. Where its founders once spoke of a fair day's pay for a fair day's work, the Labour Party now stands for the low wages and lack of job security inherent in a 'flexible labour market'.
If The Consulting Association's clients have been blacklisting men like Steve Acheson, they should have the book thrown at them, word by word and page by page. If he has been denied the opportunity to work because he has exercised rights that the people have given him through their Parliament, then I would respectfully suggest that readers consider him a victim of a conspiracy. Perhaps not a criminal one, though that might yet remain to be seen - but most certainly a conspiracy to deprive him of his livelihood because he has exercised his rights as a citizen. It will have been a conspiracy against the very law itself; and as such we are all victims.
If this is shown to be a conspiracy, somebody should be punished. Yet what is the difference between a person keeping a hush-hush database of perceived troublemakers in the building trade, and the phenomenon known as 'regulatory capture'? The guy in the anonymous office behind the green door might have helped keep 'troublemakers' off the back of building's bums; the City suits wining and dining the FSA really did think they were part of the solution, not part of the problem, and justified it as acting in their clients' interests. Both practices show how systematically corrupt British business culture can be. The Anglo-Saxon model is not one of the best things about us - it's one of the worst.