A battle for Labour’s soul?
The GMB’s precipitous reduction in funding to the Labour Party could well herald the dawn of a new era in labour movement politics. It is more than likely other trade unions will soon follow suit and that a de facto semi-separation will exist between the trade unions and the Party they formed. Some are seeing this as a battle for Labour’s soul and indeed it looks that way to many outsiders and indeed some influential insiders seem to feel the same way.
It is important to remember it need not have been this way. Indeed, what made it this way was the leaderships grand design, they stitched-up an Aunt Sally in Falkirk, an invented an excuse to beat the union bogeyman. It was wrongly decided that a confrontation with the unions would be totemic and shift voter perception of the Party and its dithering leader.
However, in taking this approach, Mr Miliband has made a rod for his own back and is on a hiding to nothing. This tack will potentially alienate people like me who would support the reforms as a good idea in practice but will be concerned about the principal behind them. Furthermore, even if the reforms pass, the victory may well be Pyrrhic, coming at the cost of a large chunk of Labour’s money and a huge dent in the Parties morale caused by the bitterness the issue will invariably introduce into inner-Party relations.
This whole episode has sadly continued to illustrate the lack of joined-up thinking at Labour’s top table. Now we are committed to a much bloodier, more costly, battle than ever should have been the case, this is a battle for Labour’s soul but it shouldn’t have been.