Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Labour Link with Unions?

I'm not really sure what to make of the story in today's Independent about Ed Miliband supposedly severing "big money" ties with affiliated trade unions.  It is all pretty unclear and confusing.  This is after all the winter silly season. 

The idea of having a 4th estate of Labour "supporters" (define?) to vote in leadership elections seems particularly daft and impractical. 

The state of the Party finances means it is hardly in a position to contemplate getting rid of any financial sources never mind trying to pass controversial rule changes at Conference. 

I'm not at all sure what impact this would have on an affiliated union such as UNISON which has its own separate political fund called (hint, hint) "UNISON Labour Link" paid for by voluntary levy payments by individual members of much, much less than £500 per year.  In fact I think changes could indeed strengthen the link between the Party and its unions. 

I do like this great quote (para 354) by former Labour Party General Secretary Peter Watt “...I think the relationship between the party and trade unions, people misconstrue it, it is not a relationship we have with them, they are of the Labour Party, they formed us, they are members of. People talk about the trade unions and the Labour Party, we are the same institution in terms of the Labour Party, they are fundamentally in our DNA from top to bottom, and that cannot and will not change, and the party gains huge political strength from that and I think could gain more".

Hat tip UNISONactive
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