British Justice- My Arse!

The following exchange from Under The Bridge happens early in the book, the conversation is in The Dealers Arms in Garston, between Michael who is in his 60s and a younger Vinny.


Michael changed the subject. ‘And what do you do? Vincent, is it?’

‘I work in a shop in town, nothing very exciting.’

‘Are you working tomorrow?’ Anne asked.

‘I was supposed to be, but Robbie cancelled it. So I’ll try and get some Uni work done.’

‘Why has he cancelled?’

‘You know Robbie. Maybe he’s got some student hottie he prefers to the oldest shoe shop worker in town.’

‘He’s not that bad, is he?’ Anne asked.

‘No, it’s not just him. They can cancel your hours and call you in any time they like. It’s crazy.’

‘You don’t know when you’re working, no regular hours, like?’ Michael asked.

‘There’s supposed to be, but they are always changing them.’ Vinny took a drink of his lager.

‘Casual, day labourers. On the lump, we used to call it. No contract, cash-in-hand. It was all over on the buildings ’til the unions got in and sorted them out.’

‘We’ve got contracts, zero hours.’

‘How can you have a contract that is no hours? That doesn’t make sense. Sounds like the bad old days coming back round.’


On ‘the lump’ was the term for casual labour, no contract cash in hand, no training, no safety, no holiday or sick pay, no national insrance. Ricky Tomlinson and Dessie Warren went to jail for campaigning against these practices and for regular contracts and employment for building workers. These workers did nothing illegal, and yet the the state conspired to send them to jail.

Micheal is right above when he says it sounds like the ‘bad old days coming back round’, except they aren’t coming, they are here.

‘The lump’ is now official government policy, zero hour contracts, agency working, no overtime pay, temporary contracts, no time or pay for breaks. This is what Ricky and Dessie and thousands of other Trade unionists fought against.

This was the point of Thatcher, to turn around the gains won by workers in the 50s, 60s, and 70s, including the Garston dockers in Under The Bridge, that was why she needed to defeat the miners, to get back to a situation where bosses could do what they liked, and workers have to piss in bottles.

And how do they do this? How do they get normal people to look the other way and do nothing?

They wrap themselves in the flag. They are not stupid- they are using your respect for your father and grandfather to rob you- when they have the flag behind them – they want you to think of the first and second world wars. Whatever we think of those wars there is universal respect for the men who fought in them, our fathers and grandfathers. Government ministers wrap themselves in the flag to pretend that the values of soldiers, comrades in arms, of looking out each other, being willing to risk all for your mates – are their values.

But we know the reality, their values as Boris explained this week are ‘greed and capitalism’, the problem with individual solutions is that they only work for individuals.

If they want to fly the flag everywhere let us fly it over the thousands of food banks that help millions of people eat, so when we see government ministers we know exactly who is responsible.

Meanwhile Boris Johnson has broken international law by unilaterally extending the grace period for the introduction of controls agreed with the EU, Matt Hancock broke the law in failing to report contracts during the pandemic- Will they face consequences? Will they go to prison like the innocent Ricky and Dessie- In the words of Jim Royle – Will they shite.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

About Me

Thanks for visiting my page. The aim of this page is to let you know what I am working on and allow you to tell me what you think.

I was born and raised in Speke Liverpool, although my parents first lived ‘Under The Bridge’ in Garston, and all my family goes back to Wicklow in Ireland.

The Liverpool Mystery series will be four novels, three books; Under The Bridge, The Morning After, and Fire Next Time are finished. Under The Bridge will be published in Feb 2021 and I hope at least one more will follow later in the year. I am writing The Wicklow Boys now, and I hope to finish it next year.

My writing like my blog is about the lives of working people and how they relate to society as a whole.

My collection of short stories The One Road is available below click to see details.

Create a website or blog at