The Unite row is going to blow up in Ed Miliband’s face


4:47 pm - July 5th 2013

by Sunny Hundal    


      Share on Tumblr

Well done Labour leadership – you’ve fallen into the Tory trap of turning a local row into a headline scandal, and sent Westminster hacks scurrying to find any activist willing to complain about selection processes.

The longer this drags on the worse it gets. By next week or soon after, the Conservatives will move quickly on legislation to limit union funding of Labour. A financially crippled Labour party is their main hope for outright victory in 2015.

They’ll say this row illustrates the ‘malign and undemocratic’ influence unions have on the Labour party. The Lib Dems will support them. Labour will be completely blind-sided and paralysed. After starting a massive row with the unions they’ll find it difficult to argue that unions don’t try and interfere with politics.

Of course, Labour will argue the Falkirk row shows the party does not let unions dictate policy but the public won’t understand the nuances. The press will pile in. Labour’s message will be lost. And the government won’t find it difficult to pass such legislation.

I have no idea why the Labour leadership are escalating it, but the row with Unite is going to blow up in Ed Miliband’s face.

There’s little here about principles and everything to do with political calculation. That’s how politics now works. There will be some who want to take down union influence a peg or two. There will be some who dislike Len McCluskey himself and want him cut down to size.

There will be other calculations that this row will make Miliband strong and willing to stand up to ‘union paymasters’. Some just like to fight with the Left of the party as they did during the Blair years.

It has now become about egos and political pundits will henceforth intone gravely about who ‘looks weak’ and perhaps even shoe-horn in silly poker references. Most of the public of course will be focused on Wimbledon or the sunshine, and not give two hoots about bickering politicians. What a farce.

    Share on Tumblr   submit to reddit  


About the author
Sunny Hundal is editor of LC. Also: on Twitter, at Pickled Politics and Guardian CIF.
· Other posts by


Story Filed Under: Blog ,Trade Unions

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.


Reader comments


It couldn’t happen to a nicer spineless cipher.

Ah, you young things!

No sense of history!

Same old; same old.

This is one of the oldest ploys in the Tory dirt-book. But why change a scenario which — once it has been buffed up and remodelled — works, with remarkable success, every few years? Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me; fool us serially, we must be the UK electorate.

Thatcher sold a variant as “the enemy within” (the text subtly implied sympathy for the strikers was cognate with support for the Argentinian Junta — look it up).

Heath tried it, “Who rules Britain?”, only to be told, “Well, not you, that’s for sure!”

Then in 1974 it was “Cut out the middle-man, vote TGWU.” We reckoned that one was Young Tories and a bucket of white-wash.

The earliest — and most evil — outing for such black propaganda might be the Zinoviev Letter, forged by the White Russians, fed (by someone in the British secret service?) to the Daily Mail, and foisted on the receptive right-wing public. Others would note the enthusiastic efforts of Churchill, in particular his rant, “Zionism versus Bolshevism, A Struggle for the Soul of the Jewish People” for the Illustrated Sunday Herald, 8 Feb 1920 — which recently was restored, in full rhetorical spittle, for public attention by David Irving (so no surprise there, then).

Allow me to assure you, Master Hundal, this one will pass. Just be prepared for the renovated, redecorated model in a couple of years time.

“There’s little here about principles and everything to do with political calculation.”

Bollocks. If just half of these allegations are true its the worst scandal of the coalition era (so far). I genuinely cannot believe union members were ‘signed up’ to the Labour Party without their knowledge. It is quite extraordinary when you think about it.

You seem less surprised than me. I suppose you are more ‘progressive’ though. I also suppose you know this has been going on for years.

Hang on, only a post ago Sunny was claiming that standing up to Unite was an indication of Labour’s strength. Now it’s a catastrophic mistake? Oh dear.

I genuinely cannot believe union members were ‘signed up’ to the Labour Party without their knowledge. It is quite extraordinary when you think about it.

Particularly when the forms to sign up to a Union generally mention it!

Hang on a moment. Are you really saying that the Leader of the Opposition should ignore allegations of criminal behaviour (the matter has been referred to the police) on the grounds that his political rivals will attempt to exploit the political fall out from it? Quite apart from the question of integrity, there is also the consideration as to the effect of the report being suppressed, finding its way into the public domain anyway, and then the police getting involved.

Sometimes all your options are bad. I think that this was one of those occasions.

“I have no idea why the Labour leadership are escalating it”

Mark Ferguson of LabourList was wondering aloud along similar lines on News 24, asking why Miliband and McCluskey haven’t sat down in private to sort this out.

My guess is that there’s more to this than mere ‘political calculation’ of the sort you describe – about looking tough, standing up to the unions, etc. We don’t know exactly what’s gone on in Falkirk, but Labour have referred the matter to the police. If anything close to criminal activity has been going on, Miliband’s best chance of insulating himself and the national Labour Party from an extremely damaging shitstorm is to put as much distance as possible between himself and whoever’s behind that activity. Patching things up in a smoke-filled room out of the public eye is not an option.

Whether it is really important or not, 99% of the population either don’t know or are interested in it. Come September and the two trials involving Andy Coulson jump to the fore, people connected to it are asked to swear on oath and members of the cabinet, including the PM could be dragged before the court…..now that may prick the publics conscience.

Sunny, how on earth do you manage to make a single Lib Dem blogger saying, as an ex trade unionist, that he objects to union funding of Labour as being some sort of proof that Lib Dem MPs will support taking union funding away from Labour?

I suspect BBC Scotland will cover as much of it up as they can.

I’m wondering why, when we were told that Mrs Lamont was the absolute leader of Labour in Scottish (they probably called it the Scottish Labour party, but there is no such thing), that Mrs lamont has been hidden away in her bunker during the whole debacle and Mr Miliband is taking charge.

Could it possibly be that they were lying to us about the important role Mrs Lamont has in Labour in Scotland?

11. Maltese Cross

‘they’ll find it difficult to argue that unions don’t try and interfere with politics’

Please stop, my sides are hurting…

For once, albeit belatedly, Miliband has done the right thing in showing that he won’t tolerate a corrupt selection process.

Good ol’ Ed.
He stood up to the Press Barons and now he’s standing up for the independance of the Labour Party. At last a man of principal.

“the public won’t understand the nuances”

Explain these “nuances” to us, oh wise one!

“The Guardian pads around the topic rather sensitively but the truth is that the target was Douglas Alexander, with Tom Watson and Len McCluskey giving the green light for the Unite operation in Scotland to take out the shadow foreign secretary.”

http://labour-uncut.co.uk/2013/07/06/how-unite-tried-to-deselect-douglas-alexander/

@14 Interestingly that link makes Unite’s actions sound not all that dissimilar to what the tea party has been doing with the Republican Party, ie gaming the internal selection elections so that they can get the cadidates and policies that they want on the republican ticket.

Cadidates? Candidates.

@15 one slight difference being that one of the prime movers in that case is/was a member of the shadow cabinet ie Watson

18. Planeshift

“I have no idea why the Labour leadership are escalating it, but the row with Unite is going to blow up in Ed Miliband’s face”

Basically an internal war between Blairites and Ed Milliband/Balls followers that has become public. Hence Owen Smith’s article in new statesman versus the blairite briefings.

If it was any other party it would be seen as a coup/leadership challenge. But Labour frontbenchers have always lacked the competence to stab the leader in the back. Only plus side for labour is that at least this wasn’t 2 months before an election.

I opted out of the political levy when Blair went to war in Iraq, and have stayed out ever since. Will only consider paying when Labour follow policies that support the working class. Something as remote as Labour turning socialist anytime soon. Until then I would prefer the unions not to support labour. They’re financing of the Labour Party is like handing the hangman the noose.

Apparently, it is scandalous that a trade union with well over a million members should seek to involve itself in the political process on their behalf and even pay some of their Labour Party membership fees, which (I am not making this up) are unofficially set in line with those of the National Trust in order to keep the party as middle-class as possible.

But it is perfectly acceptable for the Prime Minister to surround himself with people who went to the same achingly expensive school (not university, school) as he did, and to be a member of the same essentially criminal student drinking club as the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Mayor of London and the presenter of Question Time.

21. PottyTraining

@ post #19

“Will only consider paying when Labour follow policies that support the working class”

The Fabians helped fund and start The Labour Party.
Their motto “To protect Capitalism FROM the Working Class”
Their Logo – “A wolf in sheep clothing”

It was all a con in the first place (the parties) leading ignorants into believing they had a voice.

All the Tory vs Labour heave-Hoes are put on – like a muppet show.

That’s an underlaying theme of the Westminster seat colours
ie Commons=Green (greenest Govt ever) look up numerous meanings of ‘green’ ignorants, learners, newbies, etc etc

House of Lords RED is Satanised elite-troughers keeping their wealth satatus quo, which is why all new laws are scrutinised by ‘them’ before being passed.

BALLS (whilst at Oxford Uni) produced a major Fabian document which got him noticed by Labour and fast promotion to the top
(where he commits his public attrocities as a zionist jew treating UK public like Cattle-Animals
– behind his “Wolf in sheep clothing” fabian facade!)

Get it?

IMO many in the electorate will need a lot of convincing about voting Labour if the Party has more working class leaders like Ramsay MacDonald and Sunny Jim Callaghan.


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. Liberal Conspiracy: The Unite row is going to blow up in Ed Miliband’s face | moonblogsfromsyb

    [...] via Sunny Hundal Liberal Conspiracy http://liberalconspiracy.org/2013/07/05/the-unite-row-is-going-to-blow-up-in-ed-milibands-face/ [...]

  2. Did Labour stoke up Unite row to force changes in candidate selections? | Liberal Conspiracy

    [...] said on Friday that this would blow up in Ed Miliband’s face if the Tories used the row to attack union funding of [...]

  3. Liberal Conspiracy: Did Labour stoke up Unite row to force changes in candidate selections? | moonblogsfromsyb

    [...] said on Friday that this would blow up in Ed Miliband’s face if the Tories used the row to attack union funding of [...]





Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.