I am unashamedly a union man and a supporter of the role of the unions in protecting workers rights and wherever possible (and yes I accept that it isn’t feasible to protect all jobs as the world economy and reliance on technology changes) their livelihoods.
I have during my working life watched as major industries from coal to steel, from vehicle production to ship building slowly decline and almost disappear from our economy.
At the same time I have seen a rise in the nuclear energy sectors and that of the even more controversial of industries, the production of armaments.
And this is where I think politicians who talk about having humane and green environmental policies are in great danger of coming unstuck.
For the unions will correctly – because that after all is their role – strive to protect the jobs of their members in the industries against a background of noise that constantly decries the industries and unions actions as unethical.
The current Labour Party leadership have made it clear that they would prefer to see all of the skills and talents employed in the nuclear and armaments industries utilised towards more humane, environmental and positive ends.
It is difficult to argue that in a utopian idealistic world this is a commendable idea but in the world we presently live in there would need to be a radical change across the whole of the U.K. economy and especially to address the pressing issue of climate change.
How will the economy cope if there was to be a Government, (of whatever colour or hue) that seriously set about shifting the economy from one that is market driven to one that is environmentally driven?
Is there the political will across parliament to take the radical decision to move from the existing model to a renewable energy production model and invest massively in a long-term sustainable infrastructure and transport system model?
The one thing that is certain is that the backers and beneficiaries of the current economic model would oppose any such policy declaring it a threat to democracy when what they really mean is that it will reduce their individual wealth and privileges.
The question I suppose for them and the unions is can we really go on as we are or do we start to accept the immediate necessity to address the environmental issues and start what would effectively be a huge and sometimes difficult transformation to a sustainable green economy?