The crisis in the UK’s prison service has come to a head today, with the staff of UK prisons walking out. In some cases this has left 2,000 inmates being guarded by governors alone, that’s about 5 people to look after 2,000. A watching brief on that. And I have more than some sympathy for the officers who are at the front line in a society which seems to want to pander to the Daily Mail’s idea of justice more and more custodial sentences. Equally there is little impressive about a government welching on a pay deal which was in the first place below inflation, and then hoping to hide behind a contract with a Union drawn up under the Tory’s saying it is illegal for prison officers to strike. Much like the law which says it is illegal for police officers to strike, it has at the heart of it a big, fat paradox.

If it is illegal for a prison officer to strike then one assumes said prison officer will be arrested (or perhaps his Union leaders). OK, this is going back to the dark ages of labour relations, but it is not unheard of someone wanting to risk imprisonment for belief in their cause. But hold on. Imprisonment? Where? In prison. Imagine how well enforced (and indeed how strict) any serving prison officer would be on another prison officer incarcerated for fighting for the rights and pay of serving prison officers. Same with police officers. Who arrests the police officer who strikes on behalf of his fellow officers.

If you’re expecting society to continue on the goodwill of union scabs, and indeed an entire prison run by scabs, then I fear the crumblin’ fabric is already riddled with cracks.