June 6th, 2011

The War On “Pilgrims” Goes International

As the rolling news channels give the coalition the PR gift of hard-line union members booing what most people will see as perfectly sensible suggestions from Vince Cable, the union war has opened up on another front. Regular readers will be aware of Guido’s campaign against union officials that are paid for by the taxpayer, or “Pilgrims” as they are affectionately known. Having been raised in Parliament a number of times, not least at PMQs, it seems the campaign has spread to the other side of the pond.

The Washington Post reports that Rep. Phil Gingrey will attempt to push a bill through Congress to sharply limit the activity which blights US politics too. The Republican from Georgia sums up the issue nicely:

“Official time is not fair to the government or the taxpayer and works solely to the benefit of labor unions and employees who serve as its representative or steward. With an extraordinary amount of federal employees authorized to use 100% official time on behalf of their union, the federal government loses the immensely valuable civil service for which he or she was originally hired to perform. Additionally, taxpayers pay for absolutely no official productivity on their own behalf while federal employees use official time.”

Quite, though Guido isn’t sure the “Pilgrim” name will catch on over there.


  1. 1
    Billy Bowdens amazing talking arse says:

    Dirty bastards.

  2. 2
    Whistleblower says:

    A civil servant at the department for Communities and Local Government (CLG) has been suspended, following allegations he used social networking site Twitter to offer his own opinions on housing policy, Grant Shapps and Eric Pickles.

    According to Estate Agent Today (EAT) the Twitterer, who escaped detection by tweeting from his iPhone, is said to have called Eric Pickles a “disgrace” who was only interested “in petty point scoring”.

    In another tweet, he is said to have mentioned “kicking Pickles & Shapps out”, according to EAT.

    However, following an internal probe, his identity was revealed as Guido Fawkes.

    A CLG spokesperson said: “We can confirm that a civil servant has been suspended. A disciplinary interview will take place in the near future.”

  3. 3
    Wear the Fox Hat says:

    “We can confirm that a civil servant has been suspended. A disciplinary interview will take place in the near future.”

    “From which he will be exonerated.”

  4. 4
    Trinny says:

    that puts paid to the historic solution of sending all the pilgrims to america then.

  5. 5
    Gordon Brown MP says:

    Oi! I’m the resident nutter ’round these parts. Now drop and give me a billion.

  6. 6
    Backwoodsman says:

    That was the religious nutters, historically the union chancers were sent to Oz – and boy, does it show in both cases.
    Time for another clear out ?

  7. 7
    Union Pilgrims says:

    I travelled to the New World as a farmer, but soon decided that arranging service-safari shopping days to the Iroquois Wigwam village was a lot easier.
    Forty thousand doubloons a year, and every Tuesday and Friday off to work on my private farm at your expense.

    Because I’m worth it.

  8. 8
    Bill Quango MP says:

    Ms Pilgrim now faces a double investigation by hospital bosses and union chiefs after it was revealed that she runs a private consultancy that offers advice to hospitals on staffing issues.

    6 weeks ago now. How’s the investigation progressing?

  9. 9
    Magnaminiouso says:

    “or “Pilgrims” as they are affectionately known”
    I hold not affection to them at all.
    When I was dealing with unions as a young man the representatives were given a time allowance for their duties and had to get permission from management and their union above this.
    Shop stewards worked for their living then.
    Pilgrims need to be named, their photo in the local press, and shamed.
    Not often I support the VINCEable one, but lets hope he does not chicken out as I fear he will.

  10. 10
    Hellboy says:

    Cable – as ever – trying to face both ways at once – what a cretin and charlatan. He deserves a good booing.

  11. 11
    the last quango in paris says:

    quite indeed.

    how would go to the time and trouble to qualify for a vocational job (such as a nurse) to then not do it in the hospital? We pay for the education, training and wage and receive bugger all back.

  12. 12

    Free beansprouts to all pilgrims.

  13. 13
    Magnaminiouso says:

    Lost in the undergrass.
    Hospital bosses and unions do not do any objective or professional investigations.

  14. 14

    I call them MGBs. Money Grabbing Bastards.

  15. 15
    Quango says:

    You must be the most influential man in world politics today…..congratulations.

    Time to wake up now.

  16. 16
    Dickie Bird says:

    David Cameron hands Guido Fawkes powers to rid Cabinet of Chris Huhne.Go for it Guido.

  17. 17
    Anonymous says:

    It will work as long as there are other reforms like cap on party donation, stopping non UK resident from paying party fund, MPs being full time MPs, etc. It will be good if we can full prepositional representation for the parliament.

  18. 18
    Rt. Hon. Vincent Cable says:

    The right to strike is fundamental to a democratic society.

    Should there be any attempt to exercise any such rights, they will be abolished.

    Vote Conservative.

  19. 19
    Mad Bad Dangerous Gordon McDoom says:

    It is simply outrageous that Tory polticians have second jobs and work for their own greedy benefit instead of representing their consitooents. I will be bringing in new emergency powers to stop this. That is the right thing to do.

  20. 20
    none says:

    Whilst the right to strike is fair enough, us people happily employed by small private business (and not holding grievances against our employers) don’t have the right to strike against the state.

    If we withold our taxes we go to jail – so there isn’t really a universal right to strike (the state eats my quality of life and taxes are my highest expense by a considerable margin – triple rent) but I can’t do anything about it.

  21. 21
    Steve Miliband says:

    ”Campaign against union officials that are paid for by the taxpayer, or “Pilgrims” as they are affectionately known.”

    Labour MP’s in other words

  22. 22
    Ed Balls says:

    Where’s your Plan B now George Osborne ?????

    STAFF AT HM Revenue & Customs will be going on a strike this week in protest at the taxman’s attendance management policy.

    The PCS union, the biggest in the civil service, has called on its 50,000 members in HMRC to take action on 7 and 8 June. This will constitute a walkout from 16:00 to 17:00 on 7 June, and members coming in at 10:00 on 8 June and taking a two-hour lunch break.

    The union has also asked members to refuse to work overtime; “work properly” and not cut corners; and cease using their own vehicles and use pool cars or take public transport when undertaking work visits

    I rest my case

  23. 23
    Osama the Nazarene says:

    The right to carry on working without being bullied by a “militant” minority is more fundamental.

  24. 24
    David says:

    Congratulations Guido on your (and the Taxpayers Alliance) campaign.
    I’m surprised that nobody has mentioned that the Home Office has the largest number of Pilgrims – over 100 I recall, all member of the Prison Officers Association.
    Salary bill over £2 millions p.a.

  25. 25
    Steve Miliband says:

    How very taxing

  26. 26
    Form Tutor says:

    It should be “Guido’s campaign against union officials WHO are paid for by the taxpayer”, rather than “Guido’s campaign against union officials that are paid for by the taxpayer”. Getting the pronouns wrong in this way is a mistake often made by BBC reporters.

  27. 27
    Anonymous says:

    At least they have the distinction of having someone who will employ them using their own fucking money instead of the taxpayer. BTW, shouldn’t you be at work?

  28. 28
    Daz Pearce says:

    Getting at some of these vested interest groups is the killer to restoring the country’s economic health. We badly need leadership with the balls to really face the unions down and end any taxpayer funding of them. I very much doubt Cameron is that man and suspect the cuts will be watered down once the union barons raise the stakes.


  29. 29
    the last quango in paris says:

    why dont the fat, dim witted, shouty, bullying trade union top brass sell their multi million pound mansion in Esher and redistribute the money ?


  30. 30
    Engineer says:

    With rights come responsibilities. Do militant Union leaders act with responsibility, or with politically ideallogical motives?

  31. 31
    Engineer says:

    Will anybody notice?

    HMRC is institutionally incompetent as it is. All this “not cutting corners” can only lead to an improvement.

  32. 32
    Selohesra says:


  33. 33
    Major General Pocklington-Penis says:

    Surely it’s the NHS unless each org is designated a separate entity?

  34. 34
    Ed Balls says:

    “We badly need leadership with the balls”

    Your absolutely right thanks for the endorsement I’m ready to serve.

  35. 35
    Anonymous says:

    Invariably the latter.

  36. 36
    albacore says:

    A two-day strike?
    At HMRC?
    That’s even more surreal than having Dave as PM.
    A year or so back it took me over six months to get a refund – and the oh, so helpful staff glumly whined then that their entire workload was being completely automated.
    What are they going to do – refuse to sit down and vegetate?

  37. 37
    Alex says:

    Yes, let’s go back to the good old days of the 70s and before when strike ballots were decided by a show of hands, and the shop steward would call a strike regardless of what the proportion of ayes to nays was.


  38. 38

    I had a bunyan on my foot. I took it to Nurse Pilgrim but she could not progress it.

  39. 39
    Anonymous says:

    Could you please get back to marking exam papers, that way we might actually get the results in time for the university admission process.

  40. 40
    Selohesra says:

    29.#spoonie ALERT! Pls add comments here http://bit.ly/m1rLoI At the moment, it’s a right wing moan-fest.

    Trackback or Tweet by Mabel Horrocks on June 6, 2011

    There is a good discussion underway at Left Foot Forward – Lefties clearly rattled as they are now tweeting for some luvvies to add some positive comments.

  41. 41
    The Young Socialist's Fairy Tales: "Once upon a time Britain used to manufacture things........ says:

    British Leyland and “Red Robbo”….I rest the case for the prosecution m’lud

  42. 42
    Tory pilgrim says:

    Speaking as a Tory pilgrim – stood for union rep as the ‘competition’ was socialist and shit – who took some miniscule amounts of time, funded by the taxpayer, to do union related activity I think you need to get some perspective.

    Career pilgrims who spend nigh on 100% of their time on union activities should be paid by their unions.

  43. 43

    Spider Solitaire can’t play itself you know.

    Maybe it can…? Osborne..another load of cuts for you..

  44. 44
    Eamon U. Ensis says:

    I wouldn’t bother to rush……. judging by the standard of some third year undergrad papers I’ve seen….. some of ‘em still can’t string together a cogent argument after 3 years

  45. 45
    Anonymous says:

    The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has concluded that no changes are needed to UK economic policy.

    It said weak economic growth and rising inflation had been “unexpected”, but said they were “largely temporary”.

    It pointed to rising commodity prices and the increase in VAT as temporary problems for inflation.

    But its annual report warned that “there are significant risks to inflation, growth and unemployment”, which may need a policy response.

    The IMF predicted that the UK economy would grow by 1.5% in 2011, down from its forecast in November of 2%.

  46. 46
    Handycock (Teen Fondler) says:

    Whistleblowers are the bane of our life. We understand someone is going to make public that I had a full time Public Relations Officer, until she took maternity leave, paid for by the Portsmouth taxpayers, to keep his name out of the media, by using legal threats. Now we have a Whistleblower incriminating senior officers of Portsmouth City Council for criminal behaviour with regards to covering up corrupt actions by councillors and manipulating freedom of information requests. When is all this leaking of information going to stop, so that we can get on with our jobs properly. Jahbulon.


  47. 47
    SocialGhism says:

    Self serving union scumbags can all go on strike for all I care. As they only serve themselves no one in the real world will be affected!

  48. 48

    ‘Who’ is for people. ‘That’ is for inanimates. Union officials fall into the second category.

  49. 49
    EdMiliband says:

    Hi Guyth, I’m back from Theville!

    did you mith me? Did you even know I wathn’t here1

  50. 50
    Postlethwaite says:

    Feel fortunate that your name is not Julian Assange

  51. 51
    Major Paddy says:


  52. 52
    Postlethwaite says:

    For all the huffing and puffing, i don’t see much action.

  53. 53
    Arthur Scargill says:

    Ballot? We don’t need no stinkin’ ballot!

  54. 54
    Major Paddy says:

    The unions are part of the establishment-major players are freemasons who attend grand lodge in city as did to*y wedg*wo*d b**n

  55. 55
    Major Paddy says:

    Ballots pah there for pansy democracies,its not in our totalitarian vocabulary

  56. 56
    the crowman says:


  57. 57
    Bob the crow (wheelchairs to the front) says:

    Cant agree more – right up the workers

  58. 58
    Major Paddy says:


  59. 59
    non believer says:

    Guido comments on an issue, any issue and somehow decides it’s his own crusade and to take credit for it, irrespective of who else has done anything above and beyond creating a few half pissed blog posts.

    Taking credit now for something which has happened (no doubt totally coincidentally) on the other side of the atlantic is only a half step up from taking credit for the Millipede wedding.

    Vapid nonsense

  60. 60
    Jonathan says:

    It is a shame that some of you posting on here do not appreciate what the union movement has achieved for the workers of this country over the past hundred years. Whilst it is perfectly true that there are faults in the way the some of the unions operate, as a member of a Trades’ Union, as well as being a Conservative voter, I can see that there are faults on both sides of the management/worker divide. I would far rather be a member of a powerful Trade Union with clout and muscle, than belong to an emasculated company “association” with no bargaining rights whatsoever.

  61. 61
    knight in shining armour says:

    Or, as he’s now now, “condom leaks”

  62. 62
    Postlethwaite says:

    Oh how we laughed . . .

  63. 63
    matthew hopkins says:

    glad that you like it. Now explain why I should have money removed from me by threat of force to pay for a Union rep who’s only interest is their own members?

  64. 64
    Simple but not simple minded says:

    If your a tory voter I’m the Emperor of China

  65. 65
    Thats News says:

    Maybe the Americans would go for Janes, rather than Pilgrims?

  66. 66
    Mr Wright says:

    Should have gone to a better firm like what Arndrea Hill and South Tyne Council uses

  67. 67
    A Free History lesson says:

    Said the Pilgrim fathers, “A land of plenty”.
    Scene: America 1620

  68. 68
    A Free History lesson says:

    She was busy with the miller’s tail.

  69. 69
    Alexsandr says:

    hope they dock their pay for the time they are not working. nice saving there.

  70. 70
    Alexsandr says:

    Thats as maybe, but there is not ‘struggle’ now, just some people are employed in an industry that is unionised. That gives them special power and should be stopped.

  71. 71
    Anonymous says:

    Just doing my weekly shop tells me inflation is very noticeably on the rise.

  72. 72
    Anonymous says:

    Pickles is a disgrace isn’t he?

  73. 73
    Colonel Blimp says:

    Ah so!

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