Monday, March 15, 2010

Who Are The New Breed of "Sponsored" Labour MPs?

The announcement that Laura Moffat has given up the ghost and is standing down from Parliament at the next election, brings the number of Labour MPs retiring voluntarily to 93. Think about that. It's 26% of their total number of 352 MPs.

All the attention so far, has centred on the fact that if the Conservatives win a majority, 40% of their MPs will be parliamentary virgins.

But perhaps of even more significance is the fact that in the same scenario, more than 50% of Labour MPs will also be first timers. Who are these people? Anecdotally, nearly half of them will be wholly owned subsidiaries ofsponsored by the UNITE union. Perhaps Labour should consider changing its name.

I have never understood why we allow MPs to be "sponsored" by trade unions. Imagine if I stood as a Conservative candidate and was "sponsored" by Tesco. Now there's a thought.

35 comments:

Jason Myers said...

What I want to know is why are the unions letting Brown blast them over BA strikes. They should say to him, "apologise in public or lose our funding."

dizzy said...

I reckon anyone that stands as an MP who has never taken drugs should be sponsored by Virgin because they've never scored in their life.


That was truly awful wasn't it?

DespairingLiberal said...

Jason, it's all just tactics - Brown can't be seen to publicly side with Unite, otherwise he would have opprobrium heaped upon him for being in their pocket. However, there is an element that he and his nearest and dearest (Mandleson, Balls) are both well over to the neoliberal right and therefore strongly opposed to worker's struggles and rights. I do feel some surprise that the Unite leadership continue to shovel money at a neocon leadership.

On the BA thing though, loads of mistakes today from various sources. Daily Politics for example had Andrew Neil and the perpetually starboggling ex-Birmingham Chamber of Commerce hack, lover of Chinese slave labour conditions and erstwhile Labour minister (haha) (typed all this whilst trying to remember his bloody name) - oh yes - Digby Lord Jones of Birmingham - announcing that the BA strike should not go ahead because we "don't need public sector strikes at the moment". Apparently news has not reached these gentlemen that BA was privatised in 1987!

john in cheshire said...

The disagreement between brown's labour government and the Unite union is a put up job; a facade to make them appear independent of each other. More dissembling by the socialists.

Sean Haffey said...

Waitrose, surely?

simon said...

A few of the new Tories will in effect be sponsored by Lord Ashcroft, won't they?

titus-aduxas said...

It's certainly a put-up job. Brown will step in, save the world, err, sorry, stop the strike (at the last second), sort the problems out and stand on his soap box a tell the world how great he is.

norman said...

I alos feel that it is a Labour put up job to show that Bully Brown is a strong leader. He is a prisoner of the unions, and people are ready to swallow this. This is pathetic union-friendly Britain we live in.

longrun2 said...

@ Sean Haffey
No, it has to be Tesco, Labour is sponsored (to the tune of £16m) by Sainsbury's and John Lewis is a co-operative

Geoffrey G Brooking said...

Bye bye Laura. Power to your elbow Henry Smith!

Lola said...

I suppose it depends on what payment you receive for being sponsored by Tescos. Free Scotch for life? Reserved parking spot near the door? A special trolley that actually goes where you push it?

Westminster watch said...

In my opinion governments should not be interfering in disputes in companies in the private sector. They should shut up and let the parties to the dispute resolve it. Organisations were privatised to get away from such interference.

ahsbenton said...

I suspect that David Cameron's Conservatives are more likely to be sponsored by a jolly nice upmarket stationery company than a mere purveyor of baked beans to the oiks.

Rod said...

If you were sponsored by Tesco could we tell you to BOGOF.

Paddy Briggs said...

Sponsored by Tesco? Why not. You'd follow in the great Tory traditon of Dame Shirley Porter... now there's a thought!

albertmbankment said...

To talk of Laura Moffat having "given up the ghost" on the very same day that Ashok Kumar (and you get your wrist self-righteously slapped for it) falls off his perch strikes me as being ever-so slightly tasteless :-)

James said...

"I have never understood why we allow MPs to be "sponsored" by trade unions. Imagine if I stood as a Conservative candidate and was "sponsored" by Tesco. Now there's a thought."

This implies Tesco aren't allowed to sponsor MPs. I am not sure that is correct. I think it is more likely to be the case that Tesco simply choose not to sponsor MPs for fear of soiling the reputation of their fine business.

Gallimaufry said...

Aren't all MPs sponsored by taxpayers already? They ought to have "I own you" tattooed on their tender parts to remind them of their duty to the public.

Walsingham's Ghost said...

"Imagine if I stood as a Conservative candidate and was "sponsored" by Tesco. Now there's a thought."

Only if we get Clubcard Point for every comment on this Blog, Iain...

WG

Evensong said...

I've never really been one for conspiracy theories, even if the mendacious nature of this Government leaves plenty of scope for them to be quite plausible.

However, looking at this from another vantage point, if there is a hidden agenda here between Unite and 10 Downing Street, does this then show the union is happy to consider its members as no more than expedient fodder in its quest to become the chief puppet master in Westminster? I think I'd be mightily brassed off if I was one of those involved in the strike and this was the case.

Nicki UK (Trans Authoress) said...

Welcome to the new world of politics where the unions and business owns the people supposed to be making the laws.

(Just as I have written it in my novels, except here it is the unions in my books it is the corporations)

Not a sheep said...

Maybe Conservative spokesmen should start referring to Unite sponsored MPs as Unite/Labour MPs.

skynine said...

Ian

I am surprised that the Tories aren't making more of the Government sponsorship of the Unions with the Union Modernisation Fund that channels taxpayers money to the Unions only to be returned to the Labour Party as political donations.

Paul Burgin said...

Paddy I was thinking the same thing! ;-). Labour admittedly has had it's villains, but Dame Shirley is an Uber Thatcherite whom many Tories are, and if not should be, ashamed to have had among them

Dan said...

Trade Unions have not been able to "sponser" MP's since the 1980's

It is part of Labour Party rules that if you are a member and in work then you should belong to the relavent Trade Union. As Unite has grown by multiple mergers to be pretty the only private sector Trade Union lots of people who subsequently become MP's will be members and stay in membership it is not quite the same thing.

How many Tories are also members of any number of clubs or societies?

David Lindsay said...

"Imagine if we had MPs sponsored by Tesco," scoffs Iain Dale at the fact of MPs sponsored by trade unions. But there is no comparison.

Rather, imagine if we had MPs sponsored by membership organisations drawn from across civil society, indeed effectively required to be so.

Imagine if all funding of politics and even of parliamentarians' staff had to be resolution of such organisations, whose names would therefore appear in brackets after the party or Independent designation of the candidates in question, and who would maintain lists from which the appointments of those staff would be made.

titus-aduxas said...

Welcome to Labour United.

A squad of 20-odd misfits with an aggregate IQ of something close to a dog turd. Paid extortionate amounts of money to cheat at every opportunity.

Whenever allowed the slightest freedom to think for themselves they score nothing but own goals.

Whatever damage they cause, it wasn't their fault, it was the ref's for not stopping them.

They haven't won a game in 13 years, but still get a big crowd. Mostly made up of people whose father supported the club and his grandfather before him.

Yes, welcome to Labour United.

DespairingLiberal said...

Evensong, isn't it equally possible that Unite are having a dispute driven by discontent from their members in BA, that this is a union dispute with a private company and is in fact none of the government's business? And that G Brown is only commenting because otherwise he will be seen as a Unite patsy?

One of the bizarre things about all this is that BA is still being talked about as if it wasn't privatised at all in 1987 but is still a state arm. Worse, it isn't even the largest airline in Britain any more - Easyject carries more passengers. If Easyjet were having a strike, would the PM make a public statement about it? Go figure.

In fact, Unite are fighting a last ditch battle to preserve union membership (and better pay and conditions) in the airline industry, since the other big cheap operators have dismal standards of staff benefits, pay and conditions and are mostly ununionised. Quite rightly, BA staff fear the same is being planned for them. They are right to as BA is building up a separate cheap operator which is ununionised and intends to transplant those conditions onto the remaining business.

De-unionisation is supported by both Labour and Tory as it is part of a programme of de-skilling, job export and working conditions destruction to make us "equal" to China and India, with a mass of low paid workers and most of us fighting for survival in a dog-eat-dog world whilst the capital owners bask on their island retreats.

pete-s said...

"Union members should be raising urgent questions about why their money is being used to back MPs who vote against their union’s policies."

This quote comes from the Socialist worker 31st May 2008 issues 2103.

Now you know why we don't want a union sponsored Parliament.

Evensong said...

@ Despairing Liberal - as you missed the point I'll explain it again for you.

If there is some sort of plan, and as I said before I find it unlikely - then what does that say about the attitude of Unite to its membership? All very cosy for you to trumpet about 'the workers and their struggles', but you're ignoring Charlie Whelan and his role in Downing Street's plotting machinery, his own past in some truly disgusting spin work, and Brown's desperation to be returned to power.

Just one last thing - do drop the class war rubbish. I own a business and, as someone who has fought every day with no break to some island retreat over the last 8 years to keep my staff in work in the face of increased taxation, regulation and legislation, just like so many other firms across the country, your comments are simply pathetic.

torylandlord said...

Every little helps...

Jimmy said...

"Perhaps Labour should consider changing its name."

To something more indicative of its links to organised labour perhaps?

skynine said...

How about Labour United?

DespairingLiberal said...

Evensong, I have every respect for your efforts to run a small business. Unfortunately, the cards are as stacked against you as they are against working people now - there is nothing class-war minded about realising that our lords and masters have it in mind to screw us from on high. This isn't a political point - the major big business interests are nothing to do with small business interests and they are now fully in control of both Labour and the Tories and have been for some considerable time.

allnottinghambasearebelongtous said...

Most Tory MPs ARE sponsored by big business. Its just that they call it a 'directorship' or 'consultancy'.