Unison threat to withdraw funds from Labour…
So say the BBC;
“The Labour Party’s biggest financial backer trade union Unison has said it will no longer give financial support to MPs that do not support its values.
General Secretary Dave Prentis told union members it would not give any more “blank cheques” to the party.
He said Labour MPs and candidates at the next election who backed further privatisation of public services would have funding withdrawn.”
Let’s be a bit sceptical; these kind of stories do the rounds frequently and to me look an awfully lot like sabre-rattling to me most of the time. However, this story has a bit more bite than normal mainly because of the rumblings on the Labour-left that they may stand their own candidates as some kind of ‘Real Labour’ against ‘OfficialLabour’. If there is a large scale withdrawal then the main damage to Labour will be in an infrastructure sense although if it is twinned with overt support for this ‘slate’ then it may well go beyond that and start losing Labour seats. If that was the case and the poll gap continued to narrow then the 64 MP’s losing funding could potentially become a game-changing number.
Really, it points the way to the desperate need for reform to party funding to end the system where one party is weighted to represent one set of interests against another which does the same. There is nothing inherently wrong with trade unions wanting to fund their own interests just as there is nothing inherently wrong with business wanting to do the same; what is wrong is the dependency culture where one party depends overtly too much on one or t’other. No reasonable Conservative can complain about union funding with the Ashcroft millions sloshing around just as no reasonable Labourite can complain about the Tories only representing business when their party has the unchallenged monopoly on union money.