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Why the “Unite strategy” is suicidal for Labour

John Rentoul

Len McCluskey  2153732b 300x187 Why the Unite strategy is suicidal for LabourMartin Kettle in today’s Guardian on why Ed Miliband has to repudiate Unite organisationally and ideologically:

A Labour party campaigning on an old industrial class-based agenda, with extra powers for unions that are in other respects withering across British life, led by quisling politicians manipulated by union officials who in some cases are old Stalinists, in pursuit of a state-owned economy that would not work and would not be popular, may appeal to a few romantics. But it is an utterly bankrupt strategy.

Photograph of Len McCluskey, Unite general secretary, from unite4len

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  • Newsbot9

    So…you’d just shoot it anyway. Wonderbar!

  • Pacificweather

    Newsbot9! Me ol’ pal, me ol’ buddy. How the hell are you!

  • Pacificweather

    Rat poison.

  • greggf

    The Swiss voters seem to control their elected representatives better with their mix of frequent plebiscites and parliaments.
    Although British politicians believe they should be punching above their weight to ever consider such a prosaic system.

  • Pacificweather

    I think it is a matter of temperament. The Swiss are happy to do the work it takes to live in a democracy but the English, in particular, are happy to moan and do nothing. The Swiss had William Tell fighting against the Austrians and we had Robin Hood. That is where the similarity ends. The Swiss beat the Austrians and we lost to the Normans. I guess we kind of lost the heart for the fight.

  • greggf

    Temperament?
    I have to disagree Pacific. In fact you sound defeatist although I suspect you might have your tongue in your cheek!
    The voters would soon learn, adapt and use a direct democracy to their advantage were it to prove effective.
    (I think it’s called “conditioned reflex” – well that’s what Pavlov found in his experiments with his dogs, I’m sure humans would think it more complicated….)
    Which of course is why parliamentarians would never contemplate such a system – such raw power in the hands of the people, who knows where it would lead!

  • Pacificweather

    You are right greggf, I am defeatist. It was the May 2011 referendum did it for me. You are more forgiving of the way people voted than I am. I don’t see how we get from where we are today to even PR, let alone Swiss style participatory democracy. I always hoped, after ‘68, when we lost the revolution, that Britain would become a fully functioning democracy in my life time but, unless someone comes up with a wonder drug to allow me to live another hundred years, that isn’t going to happen.

    It seemed to me that it people voted for their MP to always be preferred candidate (albeit 2nd or 3rd) of the majority of constituents then MPs would be more responsive to the needs of their constituents. Furthermore, one change often leads to another but now we will not be given, nor will we demand, another referendum on the electoral system for at least 50 years. Nobody even asked for the 2011 referendum, it was just a political stitch up to neutralise LibDem anger

  • greggf

    Yes Pacific, I voted to change the electoral system in 2011 too, but I do not see that “No” as an end to it.

    Britain’s “constitution” changes in haphazard ways often by accident, or by unintended consequences, or because someone says it’s about time we did this, or that, not by any systematic plan.
    For instance; the devolution legislation will eventually solve the West Lothian question; the hodge-podge of voting systems, PR, FPTP, part-PR, some mayors etc., must be rationalized at sometime since it could infringe (future) EU rules. And Primaries might develop, perhaps as a result of trade-union gerrymandering or other evident fraud. And then there’s the threat of UKIP…..

    Not that I favour this haphazard approach which, being an engineer, I find depressing as a way of getting things done.
    But at least it makes for surprises because our “elected betters” may inadvertently open doors to issues they didn’t know were there! For example; the overwhelming and persistent public antipathy to welfare largesse must be a surprise to Cameron & Co.


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