A Labour leader is biting the union hand that elected him but it’s in Britain, not here.
In the Pensions War that has erupted between the government and the trade unions, the unions must surely feel astonished by the ingratitude of Ed Miliband. The unions founded and financed the Labour party. They currently give about £9 of every £10 that the cash-strapped party receives in donations. Moreover, Ed Miliband would not be Labour leader had he not had crucial union support. Yet here we are, at the beginning of the first serious confrontation between unions and the coalition, and Mr Miliband declines to back them and instead attacks strike action as “wrong”.
It’s difficult to understand how any party which preaches democracy can give more power and influence to unions than its individual members.
Labour here is quick to criticise National of legislating for its mates if it does anything which might help businesses. Some businesses donate to National but only members have power in the party and most of the bigger ones donate to Labour and possibly some of the minor parties as well.
Some unions donate to other left wing parties, but it would be a cold day in hell before they gave money to National and I think it’s only in Labour where they have constitutional rights.
The internal workings of a party are the party’s own business. But if influence and policy in return for money is wrong for donors to right wing parties, it must also be wrong for left wing ones.
. . . Mr Miliband . . . also wants to recalibrate the relationship between Labour and the unions as a key element of his project to make the party more democratic, vigorous and engaged with the public. . .
The unions wield 50% of the vote at the party conference, a proportion that Mr Miliband thinks might be diminished by creating a new voting role at the conference for the elected members of the National Policy Forum.
The British Labour Party is attempting to reduce the power unions have in their party to make it more democratic. What chance is there of Labour here doing the same?