The trade unions and the Labour Party

Michael Gove: Ed Miliband is ‘living in the unions’ shadow’ and undoing progress made by Tony Blair
— The Independent (@Independent) August 27, 2013

This is the latest attack on the relationship between the Labour party and the trade unions, rumbling on from July’s “revelations” that Unite, was seeking to get 41 of it’s preferred candidates nominated in parliamentary constituencies. The Telegraph piece on the latter is hilarious in it’s language: Labour has seized control over the selection process for the seat, Mr Miliband insisted he had taken “swift and decisive” action to the thwart alleged attempts to rig the selection in the seat.

Heaven forbid the Labour party should actually represent the trade unions and the workers therein, the people who fund them to the tune of tens of millions each year. Unite itself has given £7m to the Labour party since the general election and unions overall continue to provide about 60% of the funding to the Labour party.

What is the “progess” that Gove thinks Blair made anyway? Moving the Labour party away from the people, into the centre right, and offering precious little differentiation from the Tories? The figures are a couple of years old now but when I looked at it last year, in 2010 18 of the shadow cabinet were millionaires in their own right.

With the demise of manufacturing and mining, Bob Crow is one of the few proper old fashioned Citizen Smith style trade unionists around, so to equate trade unionism with the old fashioned one out all out approach of Crow is a bit baffling. It’s telling too that Unite aren’t a member of the loose group of trade union leaders known as the Awkward Squad, who oppose the New Labour ideology openly.

But of course the Tories are quite keen to raise the spectre of the loony left and the 3 day week whenever it comes to trade unions, forgetting the valuable work they do protecting their members rights every single day.