Saturday, 17 October 2015

Cameron, union reform, The Spanish Falange, and architecture

Cameron sees himself as a world leader; he is losing the plot. On welfare reform and tax credit cuts, many on his own side are appalled at the severity and the implications on low- and middle-income working families. The effects of the DLA ‘review’ have been proved – desperation, worsening health, stress, even suicide. His NHS reform is falling apart at the seams, and whatever his spin doctors say, actual medical doctors are protesting in the streets today. Those judged to be fit for work may die of starvation, or cancer, while those trained to treat them have their salaries cut.

But hey, we can afford to go to war. 

And so it goes on.

And now he is turning to union ‘reform’. Some of the reforms are stark bonkers, others are a clear infringement of human rights that could mean we are the only EU country with no right to strike.

Interestingly, as I know something on the subject, his union ‘reforms’ have been likened to Spanish Falange sindicatos. To give a brief synopsis, these syndicates or vertical unions, planned by the Falange and introduced under Franco, comprised vertical structures of workers, technical specialists and management, with representatives chosen by the employers. Strikes were forbidden, and the policy (which is not the same as the reality) of full employment meant no benefits whatever were available, and no rights to work for married women.

So, the pundits are correct. Arriba Espaňa.

Do bear in mind however that under the first ten years of Franco’s dictatorship it is said that one million people died of starvation. Would Cameron aspire to that too?

The Falange many have been the ‘caring conservatives’ of the day - they brought in land reform and ended serfdom - but yes I mean that ironically. Post-war they were put in charge of infrastructure such as road-building, hydro-electricity programmes, reservoirs – and housing.

But mainly in areas that had not been on the side of the ‘Reds’. Of course. It was a moral crusade!

Some of the architecture was quite good really, though they fell into the old trap of designing vernacular housing for the workers and peasantry, just so you would never mistake them for anything other than what they are.

The yoke is for the peasants of course
After all, maintaining the hierarchy is everything to those ‘born to rule’. Emphasising this through accent, language, pig or other kinds of forbidden love, misogyny and architecture is sadly as embedded and prevalent today in Cameron’s Britain as it was in Franco’s Spain.


  1. The “single party” FET y de las JONS was actually the organism in charge of choosing the representatives of the “sindicato vertical”. It was through this syndicate that Franco repressed not only the working class but also the businessmen. Membership to this syndicate was mandatory for both employees and employers and its functioning closely monitored by the party. There was no real syndicate as there was no freedom of association or expression. Likewise, the architecture – as every other aspect of the society- became a tool of Franco's monolithic thinking. Lets hope Cameron does not go so far!

  2. Thank you Estef, we must always look at history and try not to repeat the mistakes of the past. Your comment is very timely! EDC


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