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…