Thursday, January 28, 2010

Owned by the Unions

Working Class Tory, a blog I find I read increasingly often has this...

The Morning Star has an interview with Nancy Platts, one of Labour's Brighton candidates. She says:

"The links have been weakened, but Labour remains a route into government for
the union movement.
"

A great message. "Standing up for special interests!" etc. Imagine what people would say if a Tory candidate said:

"The Tories are the main route into government for big business."

It would be seen as sinister, to say the least.

Indeed.

27 comments:

Cynic said...

Ah the fifth column lives

Forge Lindin said...

Big business isn't a movement associated with political representation.

Its not wrong for trade unions to have a political voice. Its not wrong for there to be a trade union party even - all of this in principle. In practice, there may be some unfairness in how it is implemented.

Norfolk Blogger said...

But it is true Iain. So what you say is that it is sinister to admit something that is correct, in the case of both examples you gave.

Frugal Dougal said...

I hope that article plays a part in Tory electioneering, to show that nothing's changed. I remember when a motion could be adopted by the Communist Party one year, by the TUC the next, and be on the table at the Labour Party Conference the year after that.

Beowulf said...

Coincidentally, it would also be true.

Sean Haffey said...

A while ago Unite approached our organisation and offered all employees membership. As I discovered, this was equivalent to becoming a member of Labour. I declined.

Paul Halsall said...

Unions are mass democratic organizations. Why should they not have a route into government?

Do you really think they are comparable to self-interested people (such as Lord Ashcroft) who control the Tories?

Roger Thornhill said...

The "union movement", if it wants "a route into government", should form a party and stand.

However, I think I will provide a transaltion of what is really meant:

"but Labour remains a route for a small number of activists hiding within the Union movement to gain disproportionate access to the levers of power for their own opaque and self-serving ends..."


p.s. [pedant] pls insert comma between "often" and "has this" to make it easier to understand [/pedant].

Just Wonderful said...

You only need to look at the debate around dementia care yesterday in the House. Time and again Labour members and ministers made snide insinuations that the Tories policy on dementia and residential care was being made on behalf of a private company who have made a donation to the party. Even after the Speaker ruled that they should not make such statements they continued to do so, causing the Deputy Speaker to read the original ruling in full a second time. It seems Labour are not content for other parties to listen to their donors. (If indeed the Tories did. The front bench spokeswoman for the Tories gave an unequivocal assurance that there was no basis for the Labour implications)

I'm certainly grateful that Labour policies and manifestos have never been influenced by the millions of pounds of union donations!

williamsjk said...

I personally don't see what's wrong with either having a route into politics, surely everyone (and that includes business; big and small) deserves the right to have their views represented - so long as the public are aware of whom speaks for whom?
And if public donations get your points raised by the party won't that just encourage more people to donate to their party of choice?

judith said...

R Thornhill - surely the Labour Party was created to give the Union Movement a political voice?

Simon Lewis said...

Is it any different to the massive influence big business has always had over the Tories. The opposition to the minimum wage was down to big business and we all know if the Tories get in all this posturing against the banks will be dropped by the afternoon of a victory. Workers rights will be eroded as under every Tory government. Big business runs the Tories. It's no different. Each different government just changes the people it favours.

Windsor Tripehound said...

Roger Thornhill @ 4:30pm said...
The "union movement", if it wants "a route into government", should form a party and stand.


I think that you will find that about 100 years ago they did precisely that, and called it "The Labour Party".

Whether the founding fathers would recognise its current incarnation is a moot point.

Unsworth said...

@ Paul Halsall

So Trade Unionists are not self-interested? Remarkable.

The whole raison d'etre of Trades Unions was/is to benefit their members - financially or whatever. Or do you have another definition of 'self-interest'?

waddell said...

Well on the face of it, it would SEEM sinister, but that's what the Labour party was about. There was a period where it seemed to have moved on, but maybe that's no longer so...

Anonymous said...

Why the defence of unions in politics? They are baleful influences, because like all special interests they are only interested in their members' watchout and not the good of the country.

In Germany IIRC they are banned from formal links with parties. The German Social Democrat Party has to convince people, not rely on pulling the heartstrings of the members. This is how it should be.

Tone said...

you could've provided a link, rather than make me google that blog

Ian R Thorpe said...

And Labour is trying to hold on to its core consituence by driving them down into poverty and dprivation again? Right.

Top of Gordon Brown's agenda if by some fluke he cets re-elected will me to make rickets a human right...

Poverty: Labour Succeeds Where Maggie Failed

Jimmy said...

Looks like the secret is out. It was only a matter of time before some bright tory found out the secret of where the Labour Party got its name.

John said...

"The links have been weakened, but Labour remains a route into government for the union movement."

Quite.

When I was employed by Legal & General, Ivor Caplin was our union rep.

I always thought he had a higher agenda (as it turns out he did) and I finally left the union when they were forming policies on nuclear disarmament!!!

Those were the days!

gary said...

During the miners strike i was a striker who followed the union line rather than my common sense.i felt that i owed my fellow workers a camaraderie and as we were together underground so we shall be on the surface.needless to say we know what prevailed. my only assertion is this it is very easy to raise a mob very easy to condemn but scargill was a cunt.

Dimoto said...

That's hypothetical Iain.
In case you hadn't noticed, "big business" these days, is far too busy simpering up to New Labour.

Even the CBI's Richard Lambert can't bring himself to say clearly "Labour is bad for business", he just mumbles some sub-BBC "neutrality" line.
The Conservatives have underestimated how deep the New Labour subversion of this country has penetrated.

Dimoto said...

For example, wouldn't this headline from today's Times, make a good election poster ?

"Proportion of UK plc owned by overseas investors rises to all-time high, figures from Office for National Statistics show".

John Tank said...

All I know about Unions is the dang guy sitting for 8 hours and doing nothing!!!! Getting paid for it, just cause the union said so!!! RIDICULOUS!!!

John Tank
Ogio Stand Bag

Roger Thornhill said...

@Paul Halsall,

Unions are made of members. They, individually, have a route the same as everyone else. Why should they have advantage over others just as why should Corporations or special interest groups? Unions have no more legitimacy than John Lewis or the MCB.


@Windsor Tripehound, @judith,

I do wonder if my statement could also be applied to the formation but in that the Union movement was used as a way for Fabians and similar to gain access...

Kier Hardie began it as solidly of the Union movement but Ramsay McDonald was their first PM - a Fabian.

David Lindsay said...

I don't know why the unions waste their money on New Labour, but at least that party is not dependent on a single donor, never mind a single donor who does not even live in this country for tax purposes.

Ronald said...

My concern is that any union candidate would not be primarily looking after the interests of the constituency but of his union bosses.

I have no reason to think that union bosses will put the good of the country ahead of their own good or the good of the party.