I agree with Len….
It won’t surprise anybody who is a regular reader of this blog to hear that I agree with the comments made by Len McCluskey in The Guardian today. However, it is worth laying out the case why he is correct coherently. Incidentally, I intend to leave aside the issue of public sector pay which I have tackled in the last couple of blogs.
McCluskey’s central claim – that the leaderships stance on public sector pay will embolden the Blairites – seems ostensibly odd following hot on the heels of the defection of Luke Boizer. However, that defection is symptomatic of something else – the fact that neither left nor right thinks the party is responsive to their contesting claims anymore. Its natural that in leadership you can only please some of the people some of the time, however, this one is dangerously close to pleasing next to none of the Party none of the time. Obviously that position isn’t sustainable.
The public sector pay position paves the way for Blairite success because it weakens the cohesion of Labour’s core support as well as Ed Miliband’s core support. Ed won neither a majority amoung Labour members nor Labour MP’s. Trade union members carried Ed over the finishing line and they are the ones who are going to be badly affected by this policy. Of course, that doesn’t mean they should have all the policy decisions go entirely their way but it does entitle them to more consideration than they currently receive.
The ‘core vote’ v ‘big tent’ approach to electoral politics is based on a false counterposition – you need a strong foundation to stop a big tent falling down. Who are Ed’s core supporters right now? Mostly left-wingers who are too scared to let go of him for fear of what may follow. I can tell them what follows maintaining this leadership as it stands, as can Len McCluskey – defeat at the polls and five more years, at least, of Conservative rule.
Is it loyal to watch somebody or something you care about hurtle towards the edge of a cliff and say or do nothing? I think not. However, that is exactly what Labour is doing so it is right that Len McCluskey has spoken out. He should be commended for it, not condemned and supported in what he has said.