Scott Walker as Old Lord North

Scott Walker’s Attempts at Busting Public Employee Unions

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker reminds me of old Lord North. Okay, I’m a history teacher.

North was the Revolutionary War-era British prime minister who wanted to bust the American colonies.

Walker is the governor who wants to bust public employee unions in the Dairy State.

The lord was an uber-conservative. So is Governor Walker.

Lord North’s strategy was divide-and-conquer. I suspect the Governor’s is, too.

It backfired on the lord. It may boomerang on the Governor.

Anyway, after the famous Boston Tea Party of 1773, the old lord got parliament to crack down on Massachusetts in part by closing the port of Boston until the tea the local patriots dumped in the harbor was paid for.

Old Lord North figured other colonies would let Massachusetts suffer alone.

After all, he reasoned, they weren’t being punished.

But he was wrong.  The other colonies rallied to beleaguered Massachusetts. And we all know the rest of the story.

My guess is that when Scott Walker and his labor-hating Republican legislators took aim at public employee unions, they figured the private sector unions wouldn’t do much about it.

Just as North unwittingly united the Americans against the British, Walker has unintentionally stoked the old “solidarity” spirit in the labor movement, not only in Wisconsin but nationwide.

Berry CraigNorth didn’t see colonial unity coming. In the end, Mother Britain gave up her American colonies. North became the first prime minister who surrendered his office after a parliamentary vote of no confidence. The BBC called North “a benchmark for failure in office” among many Britons.

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker doubtless didn’t see labor unity coming either. Here’s hoping the good citizens of Wisconsin will ultimately make him the first Dairy State governor dumped in a recall election and cause his name to be synonymous with the word “loser”, like Lord North.

Berry Craig

Author Spotlight: Berry Craig

Published by the LA Progressive on February 28, 2011
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About Berry Craig

Berry Craig is an emeritus professor of history at the West Kentucky Community and Technical College in Paducah and a freelance writer. He is a member of American Federation of Teachers Local 1360, the recording secretary for the Western Kentucky Area Council, AFL-CIO, and the author of True Tales of Old-Time Kentucky Politics: Bombast, Bourbon and Burgoo, Hidden History of Kentucky in the Civil War, Hidden History of Kentucky Soldiers and Hidden History of Western Kentucky. He is a native of Mayfield, Ky., where he lives with his wife of 33 years and their 20-year-old son.