Gordon Brown delivered his first speech to the TUC conference today as Prime Minister, and taking advantage of the generosity shown to "new" leaders, decided to give a further kick in the teeth to public sector workers by justifying that their pay rises were "part of the fight against inflation".
What Gordon Brown never accepts is that 2.5% for prison officers or teachers over 18 months equates to an annual pay rise of 1.9%. This is lower than inflation, meaning that, in effect, these people take a pay cut "in real terms".
Under Gordon Brown the public sector pay review bodies have become puppets of the government, announcing the pay award that they are told to award, and ignoring all the evidence in front of them. In the case of teachers too, Gordon Brown broke a promise when it was made clear that if inflation reached 3% at any point, teachers pay would be subject to a further revision. When inflation did hit 3%, he ignored this pledge.
Had the TUC been given today's speech by David Cameron, they would have been up in arms about it, but because he is a Labour Prime Minister doing what the Tories used to do, he gets away with it.