Friday, October 4, 2013

Non-Union Backed Labour Candidate Stands Aside

A mysterious story coming out of Bristol today, with Labour candidate Josie Channer standing aside after it was revealed she had failed to pay over £2,000 in parking fines. She won the selection by beating off competition from GMB officer Rowena Hayward, described at the time by the furious CWU union as an “excellent union candidate”. Rumours swirl of yet another stitch up…

Red Len’s Baby Momma Slams ‘Attack Dog’ Dugher

No matter how senior a Labour figure you are, you can’t criticise Len McCluskey without the mother of his love child tearing you a new one. Jennie Formby, who inexplicably happens to be Unite’s political director, has given Unite-sponsored Miliband boot-boy Michael Dugher both barrels for having the temerity to question Red Len’s leadership:

“Self-styled ‘humble member’ of our union, Michael Dugher used to work for Amicus before the merger that led to the creation of Unite. A loyal bag carrier to Ken Jackson in the AEEU, Blair’s favourite trade union leader, he has been developing an image as a political fixer in the union movement for decades, perhaps over-inflating his role.

Certainly his career path explains why he now has a tin ear for our movement today. After leaving Amicus, he entered a succession of jobs first working as a special adviser to Stephen Byers, longtime plotter and avowed critic of the Labour/union link. After Byers left office, Dugher ended up working for Defence Secretary, Geoff Hoon, finally ending up as the replacement to Damian McBride as the spin doctor to Prime Minister Gordon Brown.  Michael’s eventual selection in Barnsley was no accident either, supported as it was by the Amicus “union machine”. We don’t remember him raising concerns over his union’s influence in politics at that time… Dugher says that history will judge unions “pretty badly”. If he represents what is now called a rising star in the Party, history will judge all of us badly.”

All together now: “Stand by your man“…

Monday, September 23, 2013

Red Len Sees Red over Ladies

Guido just bumped into an ashen faced Red Len McCluskey in Brighton. The union fat cat is speaking at a fringe event this lunchtime hosted by Unite political director Jennie Formby, coincidentally also the mother of his love-child. When Guido asked him whether this was nepotism he replied angrily:

“That’s unfair. Why don’t you go and make things up the way Guido always does?”

Always happy to correct the record if he has written something incorrect, Guido enquired just what he had “made up”.

He was greeted by silence from the usually vocal Len…

Monday, September 16, 2013

Pickles Pilgrim Reforms Will Save £400,000-a-Year

Militant PCS union getting off from their court battle with Eric Pickles hit DCLG in the pocket to the tune of £90,000. Good news then that the department’s union reforms are saving that figure several times over. New stats show cutting back on trade union facility time will save £400,000-a-year of taxpayers’ money. They have already cut back on the bonkers £245,644-a-year the department was spending under the Prime Mentalist in 2008/9, though £40,000-a-year is still far too high. An encouraging start but still a long way to go…

UPDATE: DCLG get in touch to stress that PCS now owe them money rather than the other way round.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

GMB Millions Move Forced Ed’s Weak Hand

GMB Red Ed Ballot Paper

Within days of the GMB canceling their million pound direct debit to the Labour Party, Ed exonerates the unions from undemocratically stitching up MP selections. Brutal power politics at its most raw. Union member witnesses mysteriously withdrew their allegations that they were signed up to the Falkirk Labour Party without their knowledge, Karie Murphy withdraws her candidature and everything is swept under the carpet in time for TUC conference. Ed has bottled it…

The GMB made him leader, they pay the bills, they pull his strings on policy and they have now pulled his leash. Ed’s attempt to stand up to the unions has left him looking weaker…

Friday, September 6, 2013

Karie Murphy Withdraws From Falkirk Selection

Karie Murphy has released a statement where she claims

Throughout the controversy surrounding what we consider to be the revitalisation work in Falkirk both Stevie Deans and myself have maintained that we have done nothing wrong, and that our union Unite has done nothing wrong. … our objective of getting ordinary members actively involved in a vibrant local party has been forgotten in the media coverage. … I have met with senior colleagues from both Unite and the Labour Party and have agreed that reconciliation and unity are paramount. It is therefore, with great sadness that I must withdraw my name from any consideration to be the Labour Party candidate for Falkirk…

She and Steve Deans have been “exonerated” by Labour and had their party membership restored. Wonder if Eric Joyce fancies another crack…

UPDATE:  Statement from the Labour Party:

The Labour Party began an internal process to examine the controversy surrounding the selection of a parliamentary candidate for Falkirk. At each step Labour’s general secretary and NEC have acted quickly to protect the interest of the party.Since Labour began its internal process key evidence has been withdrawn and further evidence provided by individuals concerned. Karie Murphy and Steve Deans, who were suspended, will now be reinstated as they have not been guilty of any wrongdoing. No organisation or individual has been found to have breached the rules as they stood at the time.The general secretary has determined that given these circumstances Labour should move to select its candidate for Falkirk West.These steps will enable Labour in Falkirk without further delay to choose a candidate and prepare for the general election.

Evidence has been withdrawn? Wonder who put the heavies on…

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

LISTEN: Rachel Reeves’ Donation Porky

Sarah Montague didn’t pick Rachel Reeves up on the massive fib she told on the Today programme this morning. Reeves claimed that “most of the money that the Labour Party receives comes from small donations and members”.

Let’s take a look at the actual Electoral Commission figures:

So that’s just £354,692 from individuals in the last quarter. £2,414,412 from unions. Guido thought Reeves was meant to be good with numbers?

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Pickles Refuses to Back Down as PCS Get Off on Technicality

Union fat cat Mark Serwotka’s plan to legal DCLG into submission over ending the automatic collection of union subs from civil servants’ salaries, the so-called check-off system, has worked. The PCS has got off on a technicality, meaning the taxpayer has to stump up £90,000. Pickles’s spokesperson says:

“This is a ruling on a technical point of employment law, based on a staff handbook drawn up under the Labour Government. We have already saved taxpayers’ money by abolishing full-time trade union ‘pilgrims’ and cutting back so-called ‘facility time’ to private sector levels. It remains Ministers’ intention to abolish check-off, which is an outdated and unnecessary practice given to trade unions, and epitomises a cosy and unhealthy relationship between the unions and the state.”

Serwotka’s claim that DCLG is wasting taxpayers’ money is risible given the reforms aimed to save taxpayers’ money in the first place. The department has a point when it rolls out the £250,000-a-year it is already saving by cutting back on union facility time. DCLG will still push to abolish check-off. Pickles is hardly going to give up that easily…

Monday, September 2, 2013

Unite Threaten Labour Conference Boycott

Unite’s NEC will debate a motion to boycott the Labour Party conference over the ongoing row over their attempts to stitch up the Falkirk selection. Unite in Scotland are urging:

“This committee also calls upon the NEC [national executive council] to consider the most appropriate means of advancing the case of Unite and its activists in relation to the Falkirk selection issue at the 2013 Labour Party conference in Brighton.  Should the suspension of Stephen Deans regional chair and Karie Murphy regional political committee delegate still be in place, the position of the Scottish delegation to the conference will be one of non-attendance in support of Stephen and Karie.””

Without prepublication of that report, there is likely to be fireworks at some point – where better than in the booze fuelled conference bubble. Or will publication only make it worse?

Via Paul Hutcheons

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Gove Borrows Union Bashing Speech From Himself

Guido has been at Michael Gove’s speech laying into the unions this morning. All good stuff comparing Miliband to Kinnock and the unions to the Militant Tendency.

“The contrast with Neil Kinnock, who originally faced down the Militant Tendency over entryism, is striking and not at all flattering to Ed Miliband. While Kinnock moved bravely and remorselessly to eradicate Militant’s influence and Militant-sponsored MPs from Labour, Miliband has done nothing to stop the takeover of his own party. The sad truth is that charming, intelligent, eloquent, thoughtful, generous and chivalrous as Ed Miliband may be, in this critical test of leadership he has been uncertain, irresolute, weak. To the question of who governs Labour, his answer would appear to be, increasingly, the unions.”

One thing struck Guido more than anything else however, it almost felt like he had heard this speech before. For a reason. Worth taking a look at Gove’s speech making a very similar comparison back in March 2010.

“This is just the tip of iceberg of a new Militant Tendency in the next generation of Labour MPs. Labour’s re-unionisation has put them in bed with the past at a time when it is crucial that this country wakes up to the future. The last thing we need a political system where genuine participation in democracy is out-muscled by union power.”

And there’s more. Here is Gove today on Tony Blair:

“Tony Blair once argued that the Labour Party should not be the political arm of the trade union movement but the political movement of the British nation as a whole. That’s what One Nation politics means.”

Here is Gove on Tony Blair three years ago:

“Tony Blair wanted the Labour Party to be the political arm not of the trade union movement but of the British people as a whole. But now Labour has become once more the party of division – them and us, partisans and enemies, strikers and bosses.”

Today Gove talked of a “cadre” of Unite candidates:

“Unite wasn’t going to leave anything to chance. It would – like left wing entryist organisations – create its own cadre – or vanguard – of loyal activists.”

Three years ago?

“A new cadre of politicians have been installed, parachuted into fighting parliamentary seats on the strength of their links with the big unions, those who increasingly wield muscle within Labour.”

Points well made of course, then again he’s had plenty of practice.

Elsewhere, Gove brought his speech to a conclusion by asking “what would Tony Blair do?” Cue the first question being on intervention on Syria. Gove praised Hague again and again, insisting “I don’t know, I’m not on the national security council. My brief is education and generally domestic matters.” Encouraging words though on Pilgrims to finish up: “we shouldn’t have taxpayer subsidising union activity when that activity is often not in the public interest”. Something surely everyone can agree on…


Seen Elsewhere

Don’t Underestimate Philip Hammond | Nick Wood
Labour Council Collaborates With Pro-Hamas Group | Breitbart
Qatar Sugar-Daddies of Islamist Financing | Left Foot Forward
Guido’s Column | Sun
Miliband Drawing Attention to His Mistakes is Madness | Lord Bell
Another Renewable Myth Goes Up in Smoke | Matt Ridley
Ed’s Problem is His Policies | Trevor Kavanagh
Ed’s Image is All He Has Going For Him | Boris
Labour a Risk to the Economy and Jobs Growth | Leo McKinstry
UKIP Will Make Miliband PM | Tele
Tories: Ruffley Critics are ‘Minority Feminist Groups’ | Buzzfeed


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New Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond has big ambitions in his first meeting with Benjamin Netanyahu today:

“I came to bring this conflict to an end.”



Christie Malry @fcablog

Ed Miliband does photo oops, not photo ops


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