Another fine display of 21st century British politics took place yesterday when David Cameron dropped the bombshell on the millions of unwitting voters that it should be made much easier to sack workers in this country ("Firms get power to sack the slackers", Telegraph).
Now, of course, the Tories don't have a mandate for that. They never mentioned any of their "employment reforms" at any stage of the election campaign. They didn't because they knew that voters would punish them for that. And in fact, at this point, if you're an ordinary worker and you still think voting Tories will do you or the country any good, then you may as well chop your own bollocks off. The outcome will not be dissimilar.
It's astonishing that, in the face of the biggest crisis in sixty years, The Great Conservative Economic Strategy amounts to the sacking of half a million public workers, even easier sacking procedures for everybody else and -of course- higher costs of living.
The Tories' proposal is based on the contempt they have for ordinary workers. If you are an employee, you are - by default - a burden, an irritant, a disposable pain in the arse. Whatever the issue, financial or otherwise, you're the first one who should bear the brunt. No matter how much this may undermine morale or loyalty to the company. No matter how insecure it makes you feel. You're not a person. You're just a cheap pawn.
David Cameron's proposed new "Employment Charter" starts from a fallacy the size of the Millennium Dome: the ridiculously simplistic illusion that if you decrease protection at work, employment levels will rise automatically.
This is so all over the place that it's difficult to know where to start. But let's just say that the post-1997 implementation of the minimum wage and new maternity rules in Britain were followed by the lowest dole rates in thirty years. Look, instead, at the swirl of anti-Union laws and other measures brought in by Thatcher. It did nothing to even slow down the sustained high unemployment rates that kept looming large over the 1980s and 1990s.
Or consider Italy and Spain, where the last ten years saw most extreme forms of casualisation and disposable employment steamrolled in. Their unemployment levels are still looking extremely sorry, in fact worse even than before.
The second fallacy is that the Conservatives are making it sound as if the current British labour market was stifling and inflexible, while it is already one of the most boss-friendly in the EU as it's cheaper and easier to get rid of staff in Britain than it is in most of its counterparts.
Currently, bosses already enjoy the possibility of hiring as many agency or casual workers as they please. These come with no tie whatsoever. They are literally disposable.
If, however, the same boss saw fit to recruit "properly", there is a probationary period of up to 6 months in which he/she can sack said employee on a whim - literally - no notice, no motive, no compensation. Nowt.
After that, the boss will still have up to 12 months in which he/she can still fire him without any possible fear of being done for unfair dismissal or forking out a penny in statutory redundancy pay.
At this point, you will already concede that if a manager hasn't clocked who the slacker is without successfully rectifying the situation, it is he or she who should be sacked and not the worker.
And it's not over yet. While unfair dismissal claims can be brought after a year, you have to work a total of 24 months in order to be entitled to the lowest possible allowance of statutory redundancy, which - please note - is by far the cheapest in Western Europe.
However, egged on by the British Chamber of Commerce, David Cameron thinks that all of the above amounts to "too much red tape" and that the period that allows staff to submit unfair dismissal claims should be increased from one to two years.
But the icing on the cake is the Coalition's proposal to levy a charge on workers who decide to still fight their corner. This may be vintage Tory philosophy, but in this case it just borders on the criminal - as it crucially links access to justice not to whether you're in the right or not, but to whether you can afford it.
And, needless to say, it also ignores the fee that plaintiffs already pay their lawyer, or their union in the form of fees, if it is they who provide legal counsel.
Incidentally, unions rarely decide to pursue claims that they themselves think will lack weight. The amount of pre-screening that is done prior to deciding whether to gamble on a worker's claim is immense. And that's without even including the conciliation and arbitration stage.
And even so, official figures say that, in the first quarter of last year, just 11% of cases taken to an industrial tribunal were successful - and a puny 5% for constructive dismissal. Amazingly, this is the system that bosses complain is "weighed against them" and is "affecting employment levels".
The Conservatives are mistaking increased turnovers with higher employment rates. Their new proposals will do absolutely nothing to get people back to work.
All they will achieve is a system where it's easier to sack unfairly and without scrutiny and a workplace where it will be even more difficult, often impossible, for an honest worker to fight bullying and victimisation or to seek protection against unscrupulous employers.