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.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Union-Backed Labour ‘Charity’ Warned Over Neutrality

The ‘Family and Childcare Trust’, a so-called charity made up of union-backed Labour luvvies, has been warned by the Charity Commission over its surprising inability to remain politically neutral. The Trust’s chief executive Anand Shukla is a former Labour candidate, and it used to be run by Bad Al Campbell’s missus Fiona Millar. By their own admission, this definitely unbiased charity “has worked with Unison to provide support to local campaigning groups against cuts”. Hardly a shock then that the Charity Commission warns that “public perceptions of its independence could have been adversely affected”. They are taking action, confirming to Rob Wilson MP that they will: “contact the charity trustees to raise this issue and provide regulatory advice on the need to maintain the charity’s independence”. Tut, tut.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Carpet-Bagging Commies of the World, Unite!

Richard Burgon is a classic example of a union-backed carpet bagger. Endorsed by Unite, the GMB, the CWU, ASLEF and UCATT, Burgon will be the candidate for anywhere that will take him, already trying and failing in Rotherham and Barnsley Central. This week, with Unite sponsoring him all the way, literally providing the free beer and sandwiches, he will host a Q&A session alongside Leeds East MP George Mudie, who he now hopes to succeed.

According to the website of the Communist Party of Britain, Burgon is a regular attendee of communist events across the North. He was the guest speaker at the annual Yorkshire Communists’ Red October meeting, which apparently consisted of “celebrations of the Russian Revolution of 1917 by declaring ‘Red October’ throughout the region”. Back in 2011, Burgon was a tutor at the self-described “Communist University of the North”, where among other things students paid homage to military dictator Fidel Castro. If he ever manages to win a selection, Burgon might just become the looniest loony left in parliament…

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Miliband’s Union Henchman Forced to Apologise to Commons

Miliband’s “Spokesman on Trade Unions & Industrial Relations” Ian Murray will be forced to apologise to the House this afternoon by the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner after he failed to declare his interests regarding his union paymasters while legislating on, ironically, the Transparency in Lobbying Bill. Whoops.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Fightback Against Union Funded Classroom Propaganda

Labour are getting their knickers in a twist over a party information pack sent from CCHQ to schools. Trade union funded websites are claiming it breaches the Education Act of 1996 ruling that says political issues must be presented neutrally in classroom. Which is rather patronising to teachers, who they clearly presume will simply regurgitate the leaflet to their pupils.

Talking of balance, let’s have a look at what else is being sent to schools:

“Labour’s biggest backer, Unite, wants all unions to develop “a programme of political education for young workers” to demonstrate the “positive and practical workplace benefits of union membership for young people”. The union is calling on the Trades Union Congress to “consider how this can be developed for young people in education or members of young people’s campaigning organisations”. The Department for Education says it has no powers to stop head teachers from letting union staff into schools to talk to children but has warned of the need to “maintain political balance” in the classroom “at all times”.”

This summer, Unite launched a series of videos aimed at teaching children how to organise public protests, make placards and fight against corporations and the evils of privatisation through the power of trade unions:

Weirdly the videos even attempt to use subliminal messaging, the fictional town featured is called ‘Tethergo’, an anagram of ‘together’. The videos were made to be shown in the sinister-sounding Personal, Social, Health and Economic lessons, in conjunction with union speakers visiting schools. Coincidentally Labour want to lower the voting age to 16…

And what about the NUT. Here, via the Spectator, is a leaflet they distribute in schools:

Sounds like the Tories are simply trying to “maintain political balance” in the classroom “at all times”.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Unite to Labour:
No Reform, No Primaries, Unions Control Selections

redlen
The Collins review into Labour’s links with the unions has evoked a response from Len McCluskey. Guido has the official response of the Unite Executive Council. In summary it is “Sod Off Mililband”.

  • Unite refuses to accept any reduction in the 50% union conference vote.
  • Unite still intends to support the selection of their own candidates.
  • Absolutely opposes open primaries which would dilute their power to control selections.

The unions have pretty much killed off Miliband’s reform plans…

N.B. Unite’s response, in full, is here [PDF].

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

PCS Union Calls for Repeat of Northern Rock

This letter delivered to MPs’ offices this week is just plain weird. Claiming to be from the special few who remain at Britain’s ill-fated Socialist Party, and also representing the militant PCS trade union, their plan to “support the Co-op” is quite something:

“Here is the battle plan agreed by the PCS, the Socialist Party, the trade unions and the unemployed. If you are not yet a customer at the Co-op bank, open an account now. If you are a trade unionist, unemployed or a socialist, go to another bank’s cash point and withdraw some cash. Then take the cash and pay it into your account at your local Co-op bank. Keep doing this until queues form outside every Co-op bank. Imagine it like the scenes outside Northern Rock a few years ago. Then customers were forming massive queues to withdraw money. This time massive queues will be formed by customers trying to pay money into the bank.”

Anyone would have thought they’ve been hanging out with Rev Flowers…

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Ed Gives in to Unite

5-YEAR-PLAN
In the Guardian Patrick Wintour is reporting that Labour are going to shelve any idea of reforming trade union control of the Labour Party before the general election for fear of losing funding. Jim Kelly, chair of the London region of Unite, is blunt:

“Our executive has got to keep a collective voice and that collective voice has to be expressed through the block vote at a decision-making party conference where unions keep 50% of the vote. That is the main point.

If unions stand together, with half the votes at Labour’s conference, and supported by many constituency parties worried about the severe threat to the party’s finances from Ed Miliband’s proposals, as well as the negative impact on the left within the party, then the link can be successfully defended.”

The unions have Ed Miliband by the purse-strings. He isn’t strong enough to stand up to Len…

*Do nothing.


Seen Elsewhere

Full Jenkin/Beckett/Straw Letter to PM | Politics Home
The ‘Buckingham Bonaparte’ is Cornered | Speccie
Coalition: The Movie | Indy
Lefties Moan About Messina Working For Cameron | MSNBC
Karen Danczuk V Louise Mensch: Round 48 | Sun
Jack Straw Slams Bercow | Sky News
Putin Shuts Down Red Square McDonalds | Telegraph
Paper Trail Suggests Ashcroft Still Funding Tories | Indy
Bradford Bun Fight Coming | Speccie
Former Minister’s Join ‘Canberra Caterer’ Outcry | The Times
Stop Bercow | The Times


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Lord Glasman tells it like it is:

“The first thing is to acknowledge that Labour has been captured by a kind of aggressive public sector morality which is concerned with the individual and the collective but doesn’t understand relationships.”



Owen Jones says:

We also need Zil lanes.


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