Trade Union Arms Race? Never Again
Ray Collins, the former TGWU official charged by Ed Miliband with drawing up the rule changes for Labour’s special conference in March, has a fine ironic touch in his interim report setting out the questions he has to answer. In the last section, he says:
Election to be the Leader and Deputy Leader of the Labour Party should be a battle of ideas and ability, and never descend into an arms race over who has the money to pay for the most leaflets or the resources to make the most phone calls.
The present leader was elected precisely because he won that arms race, with the big unions not only paying for leaflets but putting them in the same envelopes as the ballot forms. That effort was backed up with phone banks that out-phoned David Miliband’s campaign, not just because it spent a lot of money but because it, unlike rival campaigns, had access to union membership lists, including addresses and phone numbers.
Thank goodness all that is coming to an end, with Collins’s rule changes to give effect to Miliband’s requirement:
Individual Trade Union members should choose to join Labour through the affiliation fee, not be automatically affiliated.
Except that the timetable for the “consequential” changes doesn’t seem to have many actual, er, “times” in it:
Tagged in: ed miliband, labour party, union link
The changes to make this possible will be put to a Special Conference this Spring because Ed has said he wants them agreed well before the General Election. They will then take time to implement, as we manage the organisational and financial implications of any such change. We need to debate what additional rights these new affiliated members should have. And we need to consider how, once this new system is in place, we would address consequences for other structures in the party, such as the Conference and the electoral college to elect our leader and deputy leader.
Recent Posts on Eagle Eye
- The King of Bhutan’s hopes in 1987 for Gross National Happiness are valid today
- Cameron and Modi bond as they woo some 60,000 overseas Indians at Wembley
- Modi tries to revamp his battered image as he flies to London
- Big defeat for India's Narendra Modi just before UK visit
- Mark Carney is compromising the Bank of England’s independence
Latest from Independent journalists on Twitter