A GREAT divide is opening up in Britain today as 40,000 rail workers go out on strike.

On the one hand, there are the right wing voices which enjoy a “culture war” so they can impose their views onto everyone. We hear their rhetoric already, as they blame the “Marxist unions” for trying to get their members a useful pay rise at a time when inflation is approaching 10 per cent.

But on the other hand, there are the left wing voices which are itching for a “class war” in an attempt to smash the Tories. They, though, avoid talking about the reform the railways need: each household has subsidised the railways by at least £1,000 over the pandemic and yet rail fares are often too expensive for ordinary people to afford and so rail usage is only back to 70 per cent of its pre-pandemic levels.

The majority of people are caught in the middle, not knowing which side to support. They, too, would love a pay rise but they are desperately worried about what sort of economic forces are going to be unleashed if more public sector workers go out on strike.

Calm voices are needed, but Mick Lynch of the RMT seems wrapped up in his own rhetoric, but then voices close to the Government talk about changing the law so that strike-breaking agency workers could be brought in to run the railways. They seem to relish the confrontational and corrosive nature of their proposal which will only make the national divide worse.

It sounds mealy-mouthed and boring, but there will have to be negotiation to settle this dispute, so why can’t it start before rail workers lose a lot of money and the British economy takes another hit?