Friday, March 14, 2014

Newsnight Hire Pro-Labour TUC Wonk as Economics Editor

newsnightStephanie “Two Eds” Flanders used to annoy Tory MPs when she was the economics pundit on Newsnight, before her the quasi-Marxist Paul Mason had them shouting at the telly. Well imagine how they are going to react to the news that the TUC’s senior economist Duncan Weldon has been hired as her replacement. Weldon is a former Labour Party staffer who has blogged for the Fabian Society, Left Foot Forward and written a series of posts praising Labour politicians and attacking the Tories on LabourList. If that were not enough he also writes regularly for the Owen Jones launched and Unite-funded CLASS think tank. Guido looks forward to his fair and balanced reporting…

BBC sources say that it would be unfair to blame the former Guardian deputy-editor Ian Katz who is now Newsnight’s editor for the hire as James Harding (ex-Times editor) signs off the hires. Katz seems sensitive to complaints about the politics of Newsnight:

It is clearly provocative in a pre-election year to hire a well known Labour Party advocate for the position when the economy is going to be the central election issue. The BBC’s Charter is up for review in 2017. Conservative HQ will be as suspicious as ever of the BBC…

UPDATE: Livid Tory spokesman: “Highly questionable appointment. Arthur Scargill would be a more objective appointment.”

UPDATE II: Duncan Weldon ran as a candidate for the Labour Party in Crouch End, Haringey in the 2010 elections.

UPDATE III: Duncan Weldon was the economic adviser to Harriet Harman when she was acting leader of the Labour Party. This might just lead some to question his objectivity in reporting on Labour’s forthcoming 2015 manifesto.

UPDATE IV:

A Bottle a Day at the BMA Keeps the Health Secretary Away

Doctors’ trade union the BMA has been getting very upset about “cuts” to the NHS recently, moaning to the government that funding changes could force GP practices to close. One thing in particular they don’t want to cut is their very own in-house wine list, which offers posh plonk such as a £52 Pol Roger advertised as “Winston Churchill’s favourite champagne”.

Cheers!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Did the Daily Mail Kill Bob Crow?

  • Union boss Bob Crow died from heart attack early this morning
  • Today’s Mail ran brutal hatchet job on Crow

The Daily Mail newspaper published a deadly hatchet job on union leader Bob Crow last night just hours before his death from a heart attack, it emerged this morning. In developments likely to infuriate his union members, it was revealed that the Mail described Crow as a “militant” and criticised him for attending a “three-course lunch at Westminster’s fashionable Inn on the Park restaurant”.

The attack appeared on the paper’s website only hours before Crow suffered a fatal heart attack. Bob Crow died at Whipps Cross hospital in Leytonstone early this morning.

RIP Bob Crow 1961-2014

RMT have confirmed union boss Bob Crow has died. If Guido was a train driver, he’d have voted for him…

UPDATE:

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Trade Unionists Abuse Brave Strike Breakers

As is the case for millions of other Londoners this morning, the Guy Newsroom would not be able to get in if it were not for brave tube workers ignoring Bob Crow’s strike. This is the sort of abuse strike breakers have had to to put up with from their trade union affiliated colleagues, not least the General Secretary of the TSSA:

https://twitter.com/pompeygommy/status/431111129176092672

https://twitter.com/ravingleftie/status/431020535191846912

https://twitter.com/CarefreeAndy91/status/431091274004070400

Thank you to those who crossed the picket line in the face of union aggression.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Bob Crow Wishes You a Fun Journey Home

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Watson Up to His Grubby Neck in Falkirk Report

When open and transparent Tom Watson quit the Shadow Cabinet he pretended he wanted the Falkirk report to be published, whinging that “I’ve still not seen the report but believe there are an awful lot of spurious suppositions being written.” Well with the report leaked this morning, for some reason Watson is keeping quiet, spending the day tweeting about Led Zeppelin. Could that be anything to do with it containing damning evidence that “a batch of approx 40 application forms was received by the party with a letter from Len McCluskey stating that Tom Watson said they were OK”, and that, crucially, regarding Unite’s “recruitment work”, “Tom Watson had given it the go ahead”. The conclusions of the report have Unite bang to rights:

Finally confirming what we knew all along. No wonder Miliband wanted to keep it secret…

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Union Reform: Follow the Money

GMB Red Ed Ballot Paper

Ed’s proposals are being briefed out. At first glance they seem a sensible attempt to reduce control of the Labour Party by union vested interests. As always the key factor is money. Here it doesn’t look so good. The unions seem to keep control of the purse strings:

“…for too long we have operated with structures which were laid down in a different era which did not anticipate the new forms of communication and community activism available for a modern political party.

And, in a 21st Century political party, it is no longer acceptable or fair for people to give money to it without having made an active choice as individuals to do so.

So every individual member of an affiliated trade union will be given a straight “Yes or No” choice about whether they want to pay a small sum to ensure their union’s voice is heard within the party.

Trade unions will continue to affiliate collectively to Labour but, for the first time, the payment of affiliation fees will become a wholly transparent process based on individual positive consent.

These reforms will be introduced during 2014 and will apply to new members of affiliated organisations first. It will be fully implemented for existing members of such organisations within five years – which is the time frame recommended by successive reports into the future of political funding by Sir Gerald Hayden Phillips and Sir Christopher Kelly.

During this period, affiliated organisations will be encouraged to help the party maximise the number of people who agree to pay an affiliation fee.

At the end of this period, the affiliation of each organisation will be determined by the number of members who have consented to the payment of affiliation fees. Only those who have made a positive choice to pay affiliation fees will be counted.”

These reforms are a good start, unfortunately it is still the case that he who pays the piper calls the tune…

UPDATE: Source says “it’s a five-year plan. And anything political phased in over five years is unlikely to come to pass.”

Monday, January 20, 2014

Miliband Using Unison to Fix Grimsby Seat for Melanie Onn
Stitch-Up For Austin Mitchell Seat Before He Even Resigns

Dozens of Labour MPs are expected to quit before the next election yet even before they’ve gone the stitching-up of seats has begun. Ed Miliband claims he wants to weaken the union hold over his party, yet he’s happy to play their games when an ally is involved. Guido is expecting an announcement that Labour MP Austin Mitchell isn’t going to be running again in Grimsby and all the stops are being pulled out to secure the seat for former Labour HQ staffer Melanie Onn. Miraculously Onn was given a cosy regional campaigning role with Unison. Labour insiders say she got the gig at Ed’s personal request. That must be Ed’s promised ‘new, more open politics’ in action.

Back at Labour HQ, increasingly isolated General Secretary Iain McNicol does not enjoy the confidence of Ed Miliband. Since the arrival of Spencer Livermore,  McNicol has been further sidelined. Bored of spending lots of his time touring constituency branches to keep him out of harm’s way in Labour HQ, he is now insisting on being involved in campaign planning meetings. This has proved somewhat irritating to Livermore who wants him out, something to which Miliband is sympathetic. McNicol, who owes his appointment to union votes on the party’s National Executive Committee, is now calling in favours from his union friends to make sure his position is secure against him being pushed out. Given the unions pay Labour HQ’s wages this means Ed Miliband may not get his way. So much for redefining that relationship…

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Laws: Teaching Pilgrims Crackdown

The Department for Education have cracked down on taxpayer funded pilgrims. Launching new guidance for schools, David Laws has declared that “no teacher funded by the taxpayer should work full time on union work” and “the Department for Education expects all trade union representatives to spend the majority of their working hours carrying out their school-based jobs”. “We believe that it should be possible for local union representatives to fulfil their main union duties in one day a week or less”. Gold star.


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