Yet again, the Green Party throws away its Ace, the Basic, Citizens’ Income, because it doesn’t understand it, and has allowed what should be the centrepiece of an anti-austerity and environmental sustainability programme to become something opponents can use to lampoon us as idiots. The Green Party’s curt “We would ban Zero Hours Contracts” is a last straw. Not ‘the’. No doubt there will be others before the election.
Against the backdrop of benefit sanctions, Zero hours contracts are an obscene form of slavery. How anyone can defend them is beyond me. I shouldn’t have to spell this out, but apparently I must, to the Green Party, let alone to others.
An employer can dictate whatever terms suits her/him. If the poor sap in his power objects that they are utterly unreasonable, he is reported to the Department of Work and Pensions, and his benefits are stopped. Cameron can ignore this, but I was appalled to hear a member of the ‘green surge’ say he was impressed by Cameron’s defence of them in the Paxman interview.
But against a backdrop of the Basic Income, the clap trap uttered on behalf of zero hours contracts suddenly makes sense. Yes of course there are people they would suit down to the ground.
Persuasion is better than Force
Do I really need to explain? Once no one has to work even the nastiest employer must present her/himself as reasonable. (S)he can only offer what people think is in their interests.
In case Miliband or anyone else hasn’t grasped this yet, with a Basic Income, zero hours contracts will need no legislation curbing them whatsoever.
Looking ahead to the time when anti-austerity is no longer the Green Party’s main theme, and it returns to its original raison d’être – safeguarding the global environment – the flexibility of part time work will be essential.