Men fight and lose the battle, and the thing that they fought for comes about in spite of their defeat, and when it comes turns out not to be what they meant, and other men have to fight for what they meant under another name. (William Morris - A Dream of John Ball)

Friday, December 22, 2006

Party funding and the union link

Sorry for the reduced rate of posting recently – I am laid up in bed with a cold but, having had to prop my computer on my lap to send a couple of Emails I thought I ought to share a worry about (Labour) Party funding.

The threat to the current regime for union funding of the Labour Party could provide an opportunity to those who would like to restrict union influence over the Labour Party.

One supposed friend of the unions (Alan Johnson) has suggested further reductions in the share of the Party Conference vote taken up by the unions. This would, in recent years, have saved the Government from defeat on all manner of contentious issues.

It is not beyond the bounds of possibility that those within the Labour Party who wish to restrict trade union influence will take a chance to restructure the relationship so that we can go on providing the funding (perhaps repackaged somehow) without being in such a strong position to win support for union policies within the Party.

I did read in the Independent that “Dave Prentis, the leader of the biggest union, Unison, is expected to back the Education Secretary, Alan Johnson (in the race to be Deputy Leader of the Labour Party).” So I understand why some UNISON members have expressed worries to me that our Union might not be in the forefront of resistance to attacks on the effectiveness of the union-link. These worries cannot be well founded if UNISON is going to pursue our agreed policies.

UNISON’s National Labour Link Committee has rightly come out against limits on donations to political parties – we need to be equally robust in our resistance to Johnson’s anti-trade union plan to limit union voice within the Labour Party. As long as the National Committee implements the policy it is bound by then we shall. It is the clear policy of our National Labour Link Forum that “that the UNISON and trade union share of the vote at Labour Party Annual Conference should not be reduced any further.”

Of course, if we want to convince an increasingly sceptical UNISON membership of the efficacy of the link with the Labour Party in promoting the interests of trade union members we probably need to make sure that there is a candidate on the ballot paper for Leader who backs our policies.

1 comment:

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Hope you ad a great xmas and best wishes for the new year.

January will be a very busy time and hope to see you soon :)