Len McCluskey, Unite Union Boss, 'Couldn't Care Less' About Criticism For Olympic Strike Threat
Britain is made up of two countries, with lengthening dole queues alongside "bonus-drunk" bankers still carrying on business as usual despite the state of the economy, the leader of the country's biggest union said today.
Unite general secretary Len McCluskey also stressed he wanted the Olympics to be successful despite sparking controversy by suggesting that strikes could be held during the Games.
Writing on the Labour List website, Mr McCluskey said his remarks about industrial action this summer had been "hyped" and had caused "confusion". But the unions are adamant that strike action remains a possibility.
He said he "couldn't care less" about the criticism his remarks drew from Prime Minister David Cameron and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg.
"I want a successful Olympic Games in London, but I want much more than just a 'feelgood' fortnight. I want a country to be proud of the whole year round with a decent NHS.
"Because Britain today is two countries. It is the nation which will welcome the world to a magnificent Olympic Games, and it is also a country with a greedy corporate elite and a government assaulting everything it took generations of working people to build.
"A country of lengthening dole queues, with more than a million young people jobless - another 'forgotten generation'.
"But it is also a country where those who caused the crisis - the speculators and bonus-drunk bankers - still carry on business as usual. It is a place where a Unite community activist had to stop a meeting on a housing estate because one person there was overcome for lack of food.
"So if I sound angry, it is because I am. We all should be. The time for quiet words and relying on reasoned argument alone is past."
Mr McCluskey, who will address a protest rally in London tonight against the Government's controversial health reforms, said the NHS was "on the point of privatisation", adding: "We are fighting for the very soul of our NHS against a government who arrogantly ignores the will of the people."
David Cameron has previously described McCluskey's comments about the Olympics as "unpatriotic and unacceptable."