A former vice-chairman of the Conservative Party once claimed that public sectors should quit if they don’t think they are paid well enough.
Ben Bradley MP, in an article published under the title ‘Public sector workers: they don’t know they’re born!’, suggested workers in the public sector should be ‘grateful’ for what they have got and not complain about their pay and working conditions.
In the post he argued that employees in the public sector shouldn’t complain about their pay: ‘If you think your job or your pay isn’t good enough for you, quit! There are millions and millions of other people who will quite happily take your burden off your hands! If you think you deserve better pay, then get a job with better pay. If you don’t feel capable of getting a job with better pay then be grateful for the one you’ve got!’
The MP for Mansfield in Nottingham wrote the blog post in 2011 while attacking workers for protesting coalition cuts which started to bite at the time.
The post was unearthed by Buzzfeed after Theresa May appointed him as a vice-chair for the youth of the Tory party, but has since attracted attention again as the consequences of those cuts becoming clear during the coronavirus pandemic.
Last month a former chief scientific adviser to the government said that those austerity cuts had cost lives.
The Tories are now considering another pay freeze on public sector pay to cover the coronavirus bill.
In the MP’s blog post Bradley accused public sector workers of being ‘lost in their own fantasy land’.
He wrote: ‘Yes, okay, many teachers and teaching assistants and nurses work hard for their money and deserve to get excellent pay and pensions. But headmaster on seventy-odd grand a year?
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‘Union leaders to whom the government contributes over 30% of their pensions, some of the most generous in the country? It’s madness.’
He added: ‘Sometimes people don’t know they’re born’.
The MP deleted the post and apologised for his comments and ‘inappropriate’ language.
‘I wrote a number of blog posts when I was in my early 20s and I accept some of the language I used was inappropriate and I apologise for that,’ he said.
A spokesperson for the government in 2018 said that Bradley had ‘apologised for those comments’ and that ‘it is right that he did so’.
‘I think he was 22 at the time he made them and has, himself, said he believes his work and the start of his career in politics has demonstrated to him why those views are wrong.’