Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Union Ed-Ache

Red Ed has big problems going on at the moment. The huge question of 'what should be the links between Labour and the trade unions' is causing critical problems. 

Will Red Ed still stay with his Red Unions.

It all started with Falkirk when Ed alleged the Unite Union had rigged the votes for the selection of the parliamentary candidate. Unite was allegedly signing up members to the Labour Party without their knowledge and then using their votes for the selection. In response two people were suspended from the Labour party by Red Ed and the Falkirk local party was put into special measures.

Was Len McCluskey making moves for the Falkirk Labour Party.

Red Ed used this moment to try get rid of the problem that has been facing him and Labour for years. Overly strong trade union control. Ed proposed that instead of implied consent for donation to the Labour Party from union members this should be an express voluntary contribution. This would mean however that Labour will receive less funding, Unite for example believes that of the 1.5 million membership only 60,000 will be prepared to fund Labour. 

This is a very big change for Labour and one which is the right path for them to take. People on the face of it may not care about union links but they care about its impact because the trade unions push the Labour Party further to the left when voters will only elect a Labour Party of a position closer to common opinion. This is also a policy is that trade unionists want with 60% of them wanting voluntary payment and only 30% opposing (10% of that 30% believe that all funding should be withdrawn). 

So what was the result of the Falkirk disaster for Labour. Well the Unite was absolved of all wrong doings, the two suspended people were re-instated and the candidate backed by Unite decided to stand down from the selection. In other words the Trade Unions are formally not guilty of any accusations Ed made, a very big mistake. This is made worse by Ed refusing to apologise for the accusations he made. 

Ed trying to grab for control of his own party.

But why was Unite absolved? It's because the evidence provided by two witnesses was withdrawn and the whole case against the union fell through. Why was that? We'll never know for sure because Ed refuses to publish the Falkirk report which would make it clear if the evidence provided was dodgy. However its unlikely to be so because otherwise why would Red Ed clearly state that the Labour Party rules had been broken by vote rigging? He's not that stupid to make serious allegations with no solid evidence.  

It could be that the witnesses were told to withdraw their evidence, this scenario seems to be getting more likely every day as the argument between the trade unions and Labour hots up. Has Red Ed been twisting the truth for political purposes by leaning on the witnesses?

Who will win the fight for power within Labour.

He definitely has a motive to do this as he wants the trade unions back on his side because they were deeply upset by the allegations and the moves to loosen the links between themselves and Labour. There is another consequence for the trade unions which is a lose in financial power to Labour means a loss in political influence, which they want to avoid. The trade unions are now thus trying to punish Ed Miliband where it hurts, in the bank balance, and force him to drop his plans. GMB has dropped its funding to Labour from £1.2 million to £150,000. Their reasoning is that this is the amount of money Labour would receive Ed's new union plans. However, it is clear to see this is a punishment and a warning to Red Ed not to do it. 

Will GMB continue to back Ed Miliband.

This is one right old mess for Ed to sort out. He has a decision to make of whether to back down, look weak and have greater trade union control in Labour but receive union money. Or he can decide that he will do what he says but lose vital funding and very likely the support of  the trade unions who win him votes as well as provide the pennies to run the General Election. 

Red Ed says there needs to be 'courage to change' the relationship between the trade unions and Labour. However this is one that is likely to end badly for the Labour Party because Ed has messed quite a lot up. 

The likelihood is this isn't going to change at all.

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