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.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Labour MP Doubles Up on Taxpayer Cash to Pals

Full marks to Labour foghorn Tom Blenkinsop, who is missing no opportunity to line the pockets of his paymasters with taxpayers’ money. Blenkinsop is a classic ‘re-renter’, he claimed £4,000 last year for constituency office rent in a building owned by his own local Guisborough Labour Party. Apparently fleecing the taxpayer by recycling cash to his party is not enough for Blenkinsop, however.

The Middlesbrough MP also claims £10,200-a-year on expenses to rent his London home. IPSA documents show that Blenkinsop’s landlord is one Christian Matheson, who also happens to be Unite’s industrial officer and the Labour ­parliamentary candidate for Chester, one of Unite’s infamous list of 41 seats they planned to take over. Coincidentally, Unite have given Blenkinsop £2,000 since 2010. A prime example of a Labour MP pushing the limits of the rules to sort out his party and his trade union with taxpayer cash…

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

How Much “New Evidence” Does Ed Need?

falkirk480

Miliband did not have time to make the short journey from Edinburgh to Falkirk last week, but he couldn’t have been clearer about where he stood:

“I think it’s important we look at anything that is said to be new evidence.”

Five days later and that “new evidence” of which Ed spoke has arrived – three different, damning pieces of new evidence, in fact. The Sunday Times had awkward emails from Unite lackey Tom Warnett, who helped run the campaign of Tom Watson’s close personal friend Karie Murphy:

“Joining a member by cheque and one they haven’t even written themselves will mean a lot of drop off after the first year, so it’s not ideal in the long term, but should be okay for the selection… I sent them up with a letter saying Tom Watson had approved them and a cheque to cover the membership fees.”

On Monday came evidence that one of Miliband’s helpers, Emilie Oldknow, also the wife of Jon Ashworth MP, was in contact with Steve Deans about Falkirk as early as January. Deans wrote to Emilie:

“I’m sorry to bother you again but you are probably aware that we have been working hard in Falkirk West to organise and recruit members. There have been some membership processing issues that Tom Watson has been helpful in resolving. Tom has asked that you send me an updated list for Falkirk West and the wider Westminster list to enable us to validate these memberships.”

Then this morning Labour General secretary Iain McNicol’s role in the scandal was exposed. That is three pieces of hard new evidence since only last week. Guido understands we can expect more later in the week and over the weekend. Don’t hold your breath that Miliband will reopen his inquiry…

Labour’s Iain McNicol Condemns Himself

fixing-llThe role played by Labour’s unpopular General Secretary, Iain McNicol, in the Falkirk scandal was laid bare in this morning’s Times. Emails implicate him in the stitch up as far back as January, yet McNicol has not always been so tolerant of Labour staff bending the rules. At the height of Labour’s internal “Blairites under the bed” paranoia back in 2012, Guido revealed that McNicol had written to all party staff demanding they stay out of selections:

From: Iain_McNicol

Date: 1 June 2012 12:04:13 GMT+01:00

To: All_Staff
Subject: Staff and Internal Elections

Dear All,

Over the past week I have received a number of complaints about staff interfering with internal elections.

Although no rules have been broken, the spirit of the rules has been tested and the timings questionable. With NPF and NEC as well as Police Commissioner elections coming up, there is a lot of attention being given to these key selections.

Recently emails have gone out to members from some people seeking to gain positions in these elections. I must remind staff that helping candidates to contact members whilst they are seeking election unless it is part of your constituency responsibilities is not acceptable.

I came into this job to change the way our party operates. I want to create a party that empowers and respects its staff, but at the same time I want to create a party that is open and transparent. To this end I have asked the chair of the NEC – Michael Cashman and Executive Director for Governance and Party Service, Emilie Oldknow alongside chair of the JTUC, Ray Walker to work on a code of conduct for staff covering internal elections as I do not feel the current staff handbook deals sufficiently with the issue.

I hope that staff based in head office, across the nations and regions and those working in local offices understand the severity of the issue. Upholding our own rules and remaining fair is the role of all our staff and any failure to do so can only undermine our internal democracy which does us no favours.

After such great results in May, of which you all contributed, I hope we can have a summer where we build on these successes that lead to us being a one term opposition. Creating a fair, open and transparent party is a vital step in the right direction.

Yours

Iain

Iain McNicol
General Secretary

The following month McNicol told LabourList:

“…as long as I am General Secretary a fixing culture will not be tolerated and I want to make sure that the party understand its role in internal elections and administrates them fairly, never interfering in them.”

Yet behind the scenes he himself was doing dirty deals with “Lennie”:

“I will personally collect their direct-debit details once we have given them a reason to support the Labour Party. I will do this after the selection process, this is what Lennie [McCluskey] agreed with the Labour Party GS [McNicol]“

So much for that “fair, open and transparent party” he promised. Perhaps a good read of the internal party report would help, or is the fact McNicol is implicated a key reason Labour will not release the document?

Top 10 Q3 Donors

It’s donations day again. The top ten donors in Q3 were:

Unite the Union : £777,740
USDAW: £618,849
Mr John Griffin: £500,000
The Co-operative Group (CWS) Ltd: £389,723
UNISON: £372,603
GMB: £297,698
Mr Michael S Farmer: £250,000
Mr James R Lupton: £250,000
Communication Workers Union (CWU): £186,409
Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust Ltd: Liberal Democrats £167,667

Ed still happy to take Lennie’s dirty dollar. Top tory donor John Griffin is that lovely chap from Addison Lee. The other eye catching figure is Labour is £12.3m in the red, Tories to the £1.8m. Irony.

Wilfully Blind Watson

Tom Watson could hardly have chosen a more unfortunate moment to launch a heart-rending defence of one of his cabal. The Sun has a recording of Watson taking to the stage with comedian Matt Forde to stick up for his close personal friend and staff member Karie Murphy:

20131113-100659.jpg“Bizarrely to me, he decided to report my office manager to the police for potential fraud. And I thought, ‘are you f…’ I nearly swore there, ‘are you joking?’ She’s running for selection, she’s not robbing a bank. I felt I had a duty of care so I spent a couple of weeks really drilling down into the detail, and when I did I realised the allegations against my staff member and another member of the party were total bullshit. Her reputation had been totally destroyed. An injustice was done to those people. It’s amazing how my own leader can be so wrong. But he was. It’s hard for me to say this, but Ed just got it wrong on Falkirk. He was given information, or a report, that was inaccurate and omitted some key facts, and took judgements that really harmed the individuals involved in a grotesque way. I suspect privately he is a little bit embarrassed about it.”

Talking of embarrassment, by coincidence today’s Times has some rather awkward Falkirk emails revealing Labour’s dodgy recruitment deal with Unite, written by one Karie Murphy:

“I will personally collect their direct-debit details once we have given them a reason to support the Labour Party. I will do this after the selection process, this is what Lennie [McCluskey] agreed with the Labour Party GS [McNicol]“

“It’s amazing how he can be so wrong…”

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Unite Cancels Christmas

 After claiming only yesterday that Unite the union exists to “help save communities from devastation, put food on workers’ tables, presents under the Christmas tree and hope in people’s lives” it looks like Lennie the “Grinch” McCluskey has stolen Christmas, with Unite announcing a strike hitting card and present deliveries. Their website reports:

“Parcel deliveries in London could be severely hit in the run-up to Christmas, after staff at UPS Parcels voted overwhelmingly to strike in a dispute over unreasonable workloads and alleged bullying. The 120 drivers and loaders, members of Unite, the country’s largest union, who work at the Camden depot – the biggest UPS depot in Europe – have voted by a massive 91 per cent to take strike action.”

Won’t someone think of the children?

H/T @pickardje.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Unite’s Beef With the TPA

Guido thought he had herd it all, but the Taxpayers Alliance have raised the steaks with their suggestion of saving money on grass-cutting by using cattle and sheep to graze on council land. Clearly a vealy good way to provide the taxpayer with value. Surprise, surprise then that Unite are milking it, coming out with an udderly ridiculous statement trying to butcher the policy:

“The credibility of the Taxpayers’ Alliance has to be seriously questioned when ideas taken from medieval times, such as grazing sheep, are wheeled out in its endless quest for publicity. Has the alliance worked out how much it is going to cost to buy these animals and pay the substantial veterinary bills? The prospect we face is hundreds of these animals freely roaming around municipal parks ignoring health and safety considerations when children are playing – and being a prime target for urban rustlers.”

That’s grazy talk.


Seen Elsewhere

Cam Cannot Stem EU Immigration | David Keighley
9 Mansion Tax Questions for Ed Balls | TPA
Politicians are Lying to You About Immigration | Alex Wickham
Give Journalists Public Interest Defence in Law | Guardian
Cameron is Going to Have to Deal With UKIP | Dan Hodges
Opinions on Key Issues By Constituency | Red Box
Britain Irrelevant Inside EU | Dan Hannan
Cameron Heading for Fall on Europe | Rachel Sylvester
Lords Speaker Spends £350 on Two Mile Limo Ride | Sun
Shapps Slaps Down Barroso “Propaganda” | City AM
Bookies v Pollsters: What We Learned From IndyRef | Paddy Power


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