Caroline Lucas Fails to Declare Her Interest

At PMQs Caroline Lucas, the Green MP for Brighton Pavilion, asked the PM if she would sack Transport Secretary Chris Grayling over Southern Rail. The PM retorted that the unions are the ones responsible for the unnecessary strikes. Shouldn’t Ms Lucas have declared her £7,000 donation from the RMT?

The rules state that “it should be a matter of honour that a financial interest is declared not only .. in debate in the House and its Committees but also whenever a Member is attempting to influence his fellow Members…” Wasn’t Caroline trying to influence the PM on behalf of her RMT sponsors?

Two-Thirds of Union Members Think Corbyn Doing Badly

two-thirds-union

This is pretty devastating for Corbyn. Lefties believe that “the workers united can nver be defeated”, well this says they are heading for total defeat. Before brainless Momentum supporters say we can’t trust the pollsters, well YouGov called the Labour leadership elections spot on, twice. Bring on the early election…

Labour Unrest Ahead of HQ Purge

labourhqpurge

Ross Hawkins is reporting that Labour HQ staff have written to the NEC demanding places for staff on the party’s ruling committee:

“It is disappointing that while the Tory prime minister has promised worker representation on company boards that Labour Party workers are currently unrepresented on their own executive.”

The Cobynistas, with some justification, believe that Labour HQ is the last redoubt of New Labour holdouts. They would like to clear out some of the old guard to make way for new comrades. In truth many of the old guard are happy to go so long as they get generous redundancy pay-outs. They can see the writing on the wall…

Ironically, even though Corbyn is usually dogmatically opposed to compulsory redundancies, this week depressed staff demanded in an email to Corbyn that he send“a message of solidarity and support for unionised Labour Party workers in the face of any attempts to ‘purge’ or ‘clear-out’ hard-working staff”. All Corbyn would commit to in writing is that “at this stage” no staff changes are planned. Classic non-denial. 

 

Militant Cabbies Boast How They Forced Khan to Cave

sadiq

Militant cabbies who vowed to blockade Trafalgar Square have boasted how their threats forced Sadiq Khan to give them everything they wanted. Last week the London mayor conceded almost every single one of the cabbies’ demands, as well as imposing punitive regulations on Uber. What might explain the timing? Well, the militant United Cabbies Group were threatening to bring London to a standstill this week unless Khan caved in. It would have looked pretty bad for the Mayor given he’s off making friends in America at the moment. The capitulation came and now United Cabbies Group have cancelled the blockade as “the Mayor brought forward his announcement because of the pressure of a demo”. London could have a Mayor who stands up to union intimidation, instead he gave in to blackmail so his photo op in the States wasn’t ruined…

Khan Caves in to Taxi Unions

khan

Sadiq Khan has caved in to the taxi unions and awarded black cab drivers a staggering £65 million taxpayer subsidy, 100 new taxi ranks across London and the installation of 90 highly expensive rapid chargers, which electric private hire vehicles will not be allowed to use. At the same time the Mayor is forcing new red tape on private hire drivers, including “advanced driving” and written English tests which black cab drivers will not have to take. So how did the taxi unions end up getting everything they wanted?

Khan’s “action plan” contains 27 measures, almost identical to the 28 measures in the Licensed Taxi Drivers Association manifesto. The day before the plan was published the Deputy Mayor for Transport took part in a photo op with the head of the LTDA. Sadiq himself met the head of the LTDA on his hundreth day in office. By contrast Uber has not been consulted on any of the new measures – indeed the Deputy Mayor for Transport has ignored two invitations to meet Uber drivers. It’s notable that the LTDA are the only people outside City Hall and TfL in today’s press release – it’s clear that they have been heavily involved in drawing this up while private hire firms have been shunned. Sadiq promised he would be a Mayor who doesn’t give in to vested interests. Instead he’s capitulated to the taxi unions. Rather than level the playing field by reducing regulations on cabbies, he’s slapped red tape on the innovators who make travelling across the capital so much cheaper and easier for passengers…

Red Len’s “Stunning” Luxury Apartment Paid For By Unite

len1

Today’s Guardian reveals Unite bunged Len McCluskey £400,000 to help him buy a central London flat in February. So where has Red Len been living it up with his members’ money? This is the luxury apartment block where Unite generously decided to help Len buy, described as “stunning“, “stylish” and “superb” by estate agents.

len2

The plush flats in the contemporary block are all kitted out like the one in these show apartment photos. Wood flooring, an open plan fitted kitchen and floor-to-ceiling windows. Len has a “sought after” two bedder. The views aren’t bad either:

len3

Nothing’s too good for the workers…

Unison Backs Corbyn

corbyn

Unison has nominated Jeremy Corbyn for leader with 58% of the votes cast. That represents less than 1% of Unison’s total membership but Jezza’s campaign team are heartened that every region backed their man. Also worth giving yesterday’s much-vaunted GMB result backing Owen Smith some context. The GMB claims 631,000 members, but the low turnout means just 4.1% of those have declared in favour of Oily, compared to 2.8% backing Jez, so it was hardly the breakthrough Smith supporters were suggesting. Corbyn-backing Unite didn’t ballot their members but they did consult their policy conference of 1,000 or so rank and file members. He’s also backed by the Communication Workers Union, TSSA, ASLEF and the Bakers Union. Corbyn cleaned up with union affiliated last time…

Watson Quits Unite Lad Pad after Row With Red Len

tom len

Tom Watson has moved out of the flat he rented from a top Unite official after falling out with Len McCluskey. For years Watson has rented from Unite director Jim Mowatt – indeed he used the share the flat with Red Len a few years back. However in the last few weeks Labour’s deputy leader packed his bags and left. What caused the sudden move? It is no secret that Watson and McCluskey’s long friendship has suffered greatly during Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership. McCluskey has taken a hardline pro-Corbyn stance – he is said to be in thrall to his girlfriend Karie Murphy, Watson’s former office manager who is now a top Corbynista and key aide in the leader’s office. Watson on the other hand has repeatedly tried to get Corbyn to resign, leading to a complete breakdown in his relationship with McCluskey. It looks like things got so bad that Watson had to move out of the Unite lad pad. Or perhaps Tom just decided he needed more space after renting a room in a shared house for so long. Either way, he has been living in hotels ever since…

UPDATE: Watson gets in touch to say he isn’t living in a hotel. Hope he’s found somewhere nice.

Shadow Cabinet Minister Slams “Scabs”: “They Should Expect to Be Called What They Are”

Screen Shot 2016-08-08 at 14.35.42

Gobby Labour MP and Shadow Scotland Secretary Dave Anderson has written to his local paper to mouth off about “scabs” breaking the rail strike. The Newcastle Chronicle criticised Anderson for saying he wouldn’t use trains “operated by scab labour”. Anderson has now doubled down, writing:

“As long as people choose to take part in this despicable behaviour, then they should expect to be called exactly what they are and not seek any dignity by declaring themselves to be replacement or substitute workers. Scab is a hard word and it is meant to be so in order to prey on the consciences of those who would seek to prevent working people from being treated as respected partners in the workplace and not as serfs.”

Kinder, gentler politics, part 294…

Sexists For Remain

patel ROACHE

Uh oh! GMB union chief and leading Remainer Tim Roache tells his annual conference:

“Priti Patel, surely a contradiction in her name”

Think Tim should have gone to Specsavers…

BSE’s Will Straw said Tim Roache “speaks for over 600,000 working people” when he endorsed Remain back in February. Now Straw is silent. Meanwhile Harriet Harman is the big gun wheeled out for the Remain campaign today. She would be touring the studios if a Leaver had said this...

UPDATE II: Roache doubles down:

UPDATE III: BSE statement on the man they described as “fantastic” three months ago:

“Comments like this have no place in this debate.”

UPDATE IV: Tory MP Anne-Marie Trevelyan: “This abuse is a new low for the remain campaign.”

Junior Doctors: It’s All About the Money

In the words of Meja, it is all about the money:

Cg9AnwWWIAUq5px

The FT graphic explains the negotiating positions – the government is offering more money for a 7-day NHS, the junior doctors want more still. Struggling on their not undeserved triple average earnings, their strike is not about “saving the NHS”. Who are they kidding? They are diverting taxpayers’ money from the same cash-pot that funds treatments and life-saving drugs into their pockets. They are playing on the natural sympathies of the grateful beneficiaries of their treatments.

Through all this it is important to remember this is not about “stopping the cuts”, there are none, this is not about “the NHS in crisis”. It is all about the money…

Labour’s Brave Line on Tax Dodging Donors

tax hypocrisy mcdonnell

This is a pretty brave attack line from John McDonnell over Tory party donors who may have avoided tax:

“Is the Prime Minister happy to receive money from big donors who are accused of tax avoidance?”

Especially when you consider that Labour’s biggest donor Unite paid no corporation tax in 2011 and 2012, despite earning £5.78 million from their £51.6 million investment portfolio. The GMB union paid zero corporation tax on its investment income of £1.6 million, neither did the Community union on their income of £4.1 million for the period. McDonnell himself received £3,000 from Unite in 2014. As of last year who were Labour’s biggest non-union donors? Accountancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers, who have been slammed by the Public Accounts Committee for “promoting tax avoidance”To paraphrase, is the Shadow Chancellor happy to receive money from big donors who are accused of tax avoidance?

Red Len’s Steel Shaft

len-shaft

Why are the two unions (Community and Unite) not working together for their members in the face of one of the biggest industrial crises in years? Community is the biggest union in the steel industry and Unite should be supporting them not trying to grandstand and compete for media attention. Relations have totally broken down due to Red Len’s bully boy attitude towards more moderate unions like Community – they took their Labour NEC place off them. So the steel workers are not directly represented on the Labour Party’s ruling body.

In what was described as conference victory for Jeremy Corbyn, the moderate trade union Community was replaced by the left-wing Bakers, Food & Allied Workers Union. Community relied on the votes of Unite to keep them in place, votes that were not forthcoming.

The struggle takes many forms – in Wales Unite prioritises jostling for left-wing influence over the proper representation of steel workers. Up the workers!

Happy ‘I Heart Unions’ Day

Hundreds of unionised Luddites in black cabs bring Millbank, Whitehall and Parliament Square to a stand still this afternoon. Doing Uber’s marketing for them…

Corbyn Wears Sponsors’ Badge

Guido has always said that Labour MPs should wear the names of their union paymasters while they ask questions in the House, to ensure outside financial interests are always properly declared. Good to see the Labour leader agrees…

LEAK: Lansman Emails Mock “Clueless” Unite Chief

On Saturday Momentum’s 52 person National Committee convened for the first time, telling supporters that the purpose of the meeting was to elect a Steering Committee of 14 senior figures who will run the organisation. Yet in leaked emails sent the week before, Momentum chief Jon Lansman boasts that the election will be a “formality” because Steering Committee members had already been “confirmed“. In other words, it was a fix.

From: Jon Lansman
To: xxxx
Sent: Feb 1

Thanks for your email.

I too am looking forward to getting the structure confirmed at the meeting on Saturday. To a large extent, as you note, this will mostly be just a formality as we have already confirmed those who will be setting the direction for Momentum, myself included. These individuals will formally take their roles on the Steering Committee this Saturday.

This email was sent five days before the sham election, at which time Lansman already knew the result.

In another leaked email, Lansman is asked if the trade unions involved in Momentum will have concerns over bumper staff salaries. Lansman warns that the salaries must be kept confidential, writing that Unite political director Jennie Formby is “clueless“:

From: Jon Lansman
To: xxxx
Sent: Feb 1

Jennie is fairly clueless and as long as the proper procedures are followed on Saturday, I do not anticipate any issues.

So Lansman wants to keep Unite in the dark about how much Momentum are paying their top team, mocking Formby as “clueless” about salaries. Would be a shame if Jennie were to find out…

UPDATE: Lansman tells Guido the emails we have, sent from his email address and with his email signature, are “complete fabrications”. Lansman insists he is “good friends” with Formby and says he may have been hacked:

“I am not aware of anyone hacking into my emails but I can assure you I did not send either of those emails. If someone has hacked my email I would certainly like to know. I shall be changing my passwords.”

185 RMT Members Vote For Strike Affecting Half a Million

Conductors on Southern Rail have voted for strike action this morning, with the RMT union boasting that more than 70% of those balloted backed industrial action. What they didn’t mention in their press release was how many employees actually voted. Here is the breakdown:

Total Votes Cast – 255
Number Voting ‘YES’ -185
Number Voting ‘NO’ – 70

Just 185 people voted for strike action, affecting Southern Rail’s 447,000 passenger journeys per day…

Unions v Steel Industry

scunthorpe-steel_2716892b

The unions are demanding the government slashes energy prices and green taxes for the steel industry in response to today’s Tata announcement:

GMB: Only the UK Government acting with the EU can deal with dumping of steel and green taxes on energy prices.”

Unite: “Unite is calling on the government to support a key component of the UK economy by taking action to stop the ‘dumping’ of cheap Chinese steel, help with high energy costs and business rates and ensuring that major infrastructure projects use British steel.”

That’s the same GMB and Unite who have been campaigning for higher energy prices and green taxes…

GMB are a partner in the Trade Unions for Energy Democracy group, which lobbies for stricter regulation for fossil fuel industries.

Unite are actively calling for its members to join the the “Climate, Justice and Jobs” march in London later this month, which wants – you guessed it – tougher energy regulations. Wonder if union members would rather have a job or keep global warming below 2°c…

John McDonnell Praises Spitting as a Form of Protest

Corbyn condemed the actions of the protesters spitting on delegates and journalists as unacceptable, but it appears no everyone holds the same anti-gobbing view. Just four years ago John McDonnell praised a trade unionist who spat in her manager’s tea every day:

“I always give the example of P&O when I worked for RMT, in the P&O dispute we had some real difficulties and all the rest of it – we lost, the strike was difficult and the struggle went on.  There was one woman in all of that… she said I make the manager’s tea; I spit in it everyday. And it’s that form of we’re not taking it any more, and we’re going to give it back, I think builds up a climate of opinion, a climate of dissent, which I actually think, when combined with industrial action, will produce a tipping point that will force this government out of office and that’s got to be our objective.”

Nice…

H/T: Harry’s place

First Look at “Conservative Workers & Trade Unionists”

tory union site

The Tories are planning to launch ToryWorkers.co.uk at their conference next week to accompany their newly founded “Conservative Workers and Trade Unionists” movement; the site is currently blank but Guido has discovered the finished product hidden in the Google cache.[…] Read the rest

+ READ MORE +



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Quote of the Day

Tory MP Nick Boles says what everyone thinks…

“There is a timidity and lack of ambition about Mrs May’s Government which means it constantly disappoints. Time to raise your game, Prime Minister.”

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