Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Who is falling for Brown?

Having been disappointed at the official response of UNISON General Secretary Dave Prentis to what Gordon Brown had to say yesterday, I though I would check what the other big unions had to say, Paul Kenny of the GMB says it was a “speech of great substance”. Derek Simpson of AMICUS was even more glowing;

"This was a unifying speech and one which will reconnect the government with the wider party.

“Gordon Brown captured the mood of the movement and demonstrated that he understands the insecurities and the concerns that people are facing, on jobs, affordable housing, the health service and pensions.

"Gordon said that that he was listening and this can only be a good thing."

The TGWU have yet to post anything commenting on the speech (or if they have I can’t find it!), but do report on an opinion poll which found that;
Labour voters strongly want more action for working people (95%) and for British workers to have the same rights at work as those in Europe (96%);
91% believe the Labour government should be more proactive in supporting manufacturing, in Wales (100%) and Scotland (93%) the responses were even stronger;
60% do not want anymore involvement of the private sector in health and education;
81% want a British foreign policy that is more independent of the Bush administration in the USA;
Only 18% think enough has been done to protect pensions.

I fear you would search in vain through the text of Brown’s speech for commitments which meet these aspirations. Of course it is a good thing if someone promises to listen to the trade unions – but what matters is whether they take what they hear into account, and Gordon Brown is not saying anything that suggests that he will. Why not back someone who would?

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