Ed Miliband, not Len McCluskey is wrong and unhelpful….
I am a trade unionist and a member of the Labour Party. I don’t know about anybody else in a similar position but I am pretty sick of being treated like a dockyard, flea-ridden dog. Maybe this language is ‘pejorative’ but its meant to be shocking because this is how things are in our Party. As a trade unionist, your only purpose seems to be to bankroll this terminally ungrateful Party and otherwise know your place; which is a subordinate to the fuzzy ‘electoral calculations’ of a leadership which is a prisoner of its own shadow. Doormats are treated with more respect and dignity.
So we come to Ed Miliband’s dismissal of Len McCluskey’s ‘comments’ as ‘wrong and unhelpful’. What did McCluskey do? He expressed solidarity with the recent student protests which is more than Mr Miliband had the spine too. Miliband admitted he was ‘tempted’ to join them but that is as far as it got. However, here I agree with Len, when he says:
Britain’s students have certainly put the trade union movement on the spot. Their mass protests against the tuition fees increase have refreshed the political parts a hundred debates, conferences and resolutions could not reach.
Quite right. They are a breath of fresh air while Ed’s reaction is try and contaminate this with reckless scaremongering and reactionary attacks on the occupations which are a shining example of a higher form of democracy than our degenerate legislature, which is corrupt and discredited in the public eye, can manage. Len gets it and Ed doesnt.
McCluskey is also right when he says:
It is our responsibility not just to our members but to the wider society that we defend our welfare state and our industrial future against this unprecedented assault.
In this he is being truer to his duties as a democratically elected representative than Ed Miliband who is failing on numerous scores using those criteria. McCluskey is also right when he says:
A key part must be a rejection of the need for cuts. “What do we want? Fewer cuts later on”, is not a slogan to set the blood coursing.
Ed Miliband’s Labour is part of the ideological agenda it is attacking. It has brought the ‘debt crisis’ moral panic; hook, line and sinker. I welcome McCluskey’s insistence that he will not tolerate Labour councils that embark on union -bashing under the cover of a fig-leaf ‘responsibility’. Such councils are derelict and failing in their democratic duties to the people they represent. Part of the programme McCluskey is calling for has to be a social budget for Labour councils.
So, I think comrade McCluskey is right but what is he going to do about it? I think its time him and other trade unionists sent a clear signal to the Labour leadership that enough is enough and that they are not going to be treated like this without consequences flowing from the actions of the leadership. It’s time for the trade unions to form behind a political program within Labour; to open a dialogue with the Labour left about forming a united platform. Above all its time they were stood up and countered and sadly, realised the only way to win these changes is not through appealing to the better nature of this leadership which doesn’t listen and doesn’t care but through struggle against the leadership.