What with me changing the world more or less single-handedly you’d be forgiven for thinking I prefer to work alone, like so many grizzled movie cops forced to work with other movie cops from unfamiliar ethnic backgrounds. In reality I’m all for a bit of collective action; it reduces the workload while allowing me to take almost all of the credit, like with Band Aid when Geldof suckered in Midge Ure.

With that in mind, and with social workers getting a kicking from everyone with a working pair of legs, I’m about to unionise myself. It’s dead important, this type of thing. In theory unions are there for people getting screwed, bigging up rightness in a world of powerful wrongdoers out to protect themselves.

They go back away, do the unions, back t’past when t’country’s industrial revolution was chundering away like a whippet down t’ferret hole. Sorry, went a bit northern there. It’s apparently common when you join.

They go back away, unions. Back to when we treated each other horribly in the pursuit of wealth, back when wages were lousy, when people were killed on the job, when kids were put to work, when people were kept from education, when people were working long days with no days off; the kind of shit we still do to Africa. They’ve done good stuff, unions. They still can, in theory.

I say ‘in theory’ because since the 1970s they’ve maybe been a little off their stride, depowered and ridiculed and turned half useless. It’s hard to get a sense of what people think of unions now. Either they’re a collective voice speaking up in defence of workers or a bunch of business-wrecking commies. Either they strike to defend principles or to blackmail the country. Either they’re principled or corrupt. One thing we know for sure: the Daily Mail hates them. It hates all unions except, of course, the British Union of Fascists which it supported around the time Hitler was firing up his tanks and which should be mentioned every three and a half minutes. Point is, the Daily Mail hating a thing always makes it more appealing.

So I like the idea of unions, with a few reservations thrown in. If I’m going to get stuck into something I like to know it’s actually going to do some good so I’ve been checking out the options. For social work we’re talking Community, GMB, the Social Workers Union and Unison. But getting specific detail on what they’ve been up to is like getting blood out of a stone (hard) when it should be like getting blood out of the editor of the Daily Mail (a simple pleasure). I was hoping for something along the lines of “The government wanted to ban hospitals but we said they shouldn’t so they didn’t” but mostly it’s along the lines of “Things might be slightly less shit every so often in a non-specific way if we get listened to”.

Community sent me to sleep with their bigging up of employment protection and health and safety training, GMB’s a bit wee and the Social Workers Union has only just got going so I’m going for Unison by default and so I can finish this blog entry and get to bed. I guess sometimes researching gets you nowhere and you just have to get stuck in and see what happens. And to signify the seeing of what happens and the passing of time while we do I’ll end this sentence and indeed this entry with the following three contemplative dots…

Photo credit: Eugène Delacroix