Thursday, July 25, 2013

PCS Forced to Hand Out Direct Debit Forms After Pickles Decree

The revolting PCS union are taking Eric Pickles to court over his changing the rules to stop union subscriptions automatically being docked from the wage packets of DCLG civil servants. A few of them have even  bothered to protest today. Their latest leaflet would imply that they don’t have much hope for the court battle – they’ve already starting handing out Direct Debit forms for membership fees. Guido could not help notice that despite the PCS finding room for tick boxes for every conceivable sexual orientation and/or gender identification, they fail to fit in a box to opt in or out of the union’s political levy. How queer…

Certification Officer Now Free To Investigate Unite

Pressure is mounting following the launch of the Enforcement Department investigation into Unite. Last week the Certification Officer, who by law regulates trade unions, made clear he could not become involved himself while the police investigation was ongoing. Now the police investigation is over, he is free to do so. You can read his letter here. Mark Clarke of the Trade Union Reform Campaign, who made the original complaint, has this afternoon written to the the Certification Officer once more, asking:

“that with the closing of the police investigation, you exercise the responsibilities which Parliament has given you to stand up for the rights of ordinary Union members and ensure that Union funds have been properly spent.”

Guido can’t see any reason stopping them from doing so now…

Information Commissioner Confirms Falkirk Fraud Investigation

icoGuido understands from a source close to the Information Commissioner that the Enforcement Department has launched an investigation into the Unite Falkirk scandal. Specifically looking at the purchasing of Labour memberships for Unite members. Meanwhile Miliband is still refusing to release the Falkirk report Labour handed to the police. He seems just about the only person who still thinks it should be kept secret: Tory chairman Grant Shapps has written to Ed backing up Tom Watson – who said “the report should be published – in full – and the whole truth told as soon as possible so that the record can be made clear” – and Len McCluskey, who says he needs to “bring out the truth”. Just as Unite say they want Karie Murphy reinstated as Labour’s candidate. The story will just get more and more awkward until Labour reveal what they told the police…

Cops Say Not Enough Evidence For Falkirk Investigation
Now Ed Has to Publish the Report

The cops don’t want to go near the Unite vote rigging scandal in Falkirk. Which means the ball is back in the court of the Certification Officer, whose review prompted by the Trade Union Reform Campaign is now free to continue without fear of interfering with a police investigation. Now the police say there is not enough evidence for their investigation to continue, we need to see what Ed gave them. Time to publish the report to avoid allegations of wasting police time…

PCS are Revolting

A nice day for civil service protest. What could the PCS be agitating over today? Poor care at the NHS? MPs getting a pay freeze while theirs is capped at 1%? Something the public could really get behind? No. Today they are protesting at Eric Pickles fulfilling his promise to end union “check off” – where union subscriptions are automatically taken from civil servants’ pay packets and instead making them opt in to pay it and the subsequent political levy. DCLG is the first department to make this entirely reasonable move, but it seems Pickles has bigger plans:

“Reducing such public subsidies to trade unions is a practical way that councils can save money, to keep council tax down and protect frontline services for local residents – including union members themselves. And my department is practising what we preach to councils. Trade union activities and campaigning should be funded through consenting members’ subscriptions, not bankrolled by the taxpayer. Freedom from state dependency will mean that trade union bosses will better reflect and respond to the wishes and views of the grassroots members.”

To the barricades!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

LabourList Brings Blairite Benjamin Wegg-Prosser Onboard

Who you gonna call when you need some cash? None better than Mandy, who gets out the begging bowl in an email to LabourList subscribers this afternoon. “Dear Comrade, oops, colleague…”, begins the latest in a raft of requests for donations from the Labour blog. Could it be they are trying to wean themselves off their reliance on union gold?

LabourList are “proudly sponsored” by the GMB, CWU, Unite and Unison, though in April they added one Benjamin Wegg-Prosser to their ranks as a Managing Partner. Wegg-Prosser is a Mandelson protégé who went on to become Tony Blair’s Director of Strategic Communications, famously drafting theleaving the stage with the crowd wanting more memo. He is currently also the managing partner of Global Counsel, Mandy’s lobbying firm. If there is a coming battle for the heart and soul of the Labour Party, controlling the most popular Labour-affiliated website is a smart move… 

Unison’s Role in the NHS Crisis

Another day and another report suggesting that staffing shortages are killing people in NHS hospitals. Today it’s the Health Select Committee, where last week it was Sir Bruce Keogh who said:

“Statistical analysis performed showed a high correlation between in-patient to staff ratio and a high hospital standardised mortality rates score. When the review teams visited the hospitals, they found frequent examples of inadequate numbers of nursing staff in some ward areas.”

Guido has been crunching the numbers at the 14 hospitals that were investigated by Keogh and he’s found an obvious staffing loophole that would free up more front-line workers: scrapping the Pilgrims. Many of the hospitals or trusts are too incompetent to store data on the amount of time they pay their staff not to do their jobs, but instead act as full-time trade union officials through the controversial and absurd “Facilities Time” system. Nurses, like Jane Pilgrim, are paid not to help heal the sick and needy but spend their time politically agitating instead. All of Guido’s previous work on Pilgrims, and the case against them, can be read here.

East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust has three full time Pilgrims, costing £61,000 per year.  Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has 2.45 “full time equivalents” at the cost of £100,000, while Northern Lincolnshire and Goole Hospitals have one and half as do the George Eliot Hospital NHS Trust. Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust are spending £14,000, while Burton Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, £17,000. Guido presumes that hospitals that do not hold the data have a similar level of trade union activity blocking front-line care. There are not enough nurses, so why is the NHS subsidising Unison members to take part in political activity rather than doing their jobs? The trade union is complicit in this crisis.

McCluskey Rants at Mail Editor Paul ‘Dackery’

Red Len has lost it with Mail editor Paul Dacre, or as he awkwardly pronounced it ‘Dackery’, in spectacular fashion during a live webcast to Unite members:

“My message to Paul Dackery (sic) is clear. We know you are sleazy bullies. We know you love to kick the poor while you lick the boots of the rich. We know you loathe women in public life. But if you think you will break the unions you are as stupid as your predecessors who said hooray for the blackshirts”. 

Promoting the mother of your lovechild to be your Political Director is definitely not sleazy, eh Len.

Other gems included an emotional McCluskey confirming he expects to be able to buy policy from the Labour Party, claiming unions have been “taken for granted by people who take our money but don’t want our policy input”. As Guido has been reporting for years

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Unite Behind Right-Wing Press

One gem hidden away at the bottom of Lord Ashcroft’s Unite polling today. As much as Ed and Red Len might want to think otherwise, just 11% of Unite members read the Guardian and Mirror respectively. Turns out not far off double that read the Mail and the Sun. Good on them.

Via @schofieldkevin

Only 3 in 10 Unite Members Would Opt In to Political Fund
Just 12% Would Join Labour Party

A damning Lord Ashcroft poll of Unite members out this morning. If members had to opt in to the political fund, where their membership fees go towards the Labour Party, only 30% would choose to do so. 53% say they would not. 57% want the rules changed to an opt-in system. As evidence of just how unrepresentative and anti-democratic Unite is, if members who opted in to the political fund were no longer automatically made affiliated Labour members, just 12% would join the party as an individual member. 65% of Unite members say that donating funds to Labour is not an effective way of advancing their interests. Most amusingly only 16% could name Len McCluskey when given a photo, confusing him with Sir Alex Ferguson.

Last night Miliband announced a “Special Conference” to “ensure that affiliated members are given a real choice about joining the party”. This poll shows exactly why they need to change. And exactly why they won’t…


Seen Elsewhere

Play the Great Clacton By-Election Game! | ConservativeHome
Your Aussie Sheila’s Not Up To It Mr Speaker | Jesse Norman
The Douglas Carswell Shock | Tim Stanley
Carswell is a True Moderniser | Charles Moore
Assembling a New World Order | Henry Kissinger
India’s Modi Bypasses Mainstream Media | Index
Bercow on the Knife Edge | Quentin Letts
Welcome to Mississippi | Conservative Women
LibDems Select Hancock Replacement | Blue Guerilla
Carswell Resigning: “Moment Labour Won Election” | Labour Uncut
Why We Need Change | Douglas Carswell


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We also need Zil lanes.


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