Sunday, February 28, 2010

2004 - a missed opportunity?

If we are to believe today's "Observer" Tony Blair came close to resigning as Prime Minister in 2004.

I remember that at UNISON National Delegate Conference 2004 the Lambeth branch called for Blair's resignation. This proposal was well and truly squashed thanks to the opposition of General Secretary Dave Prentis who feared that the Union would be marginalised by opposition to the Prime Minister of the day.

No one can say whether, had we been better able to mobilise trade union support for Blair's departure in 2004 he could have been forced out, though it seems now to have been more likely than we thought then. Had we done so I believe that a vacancy for leader created by struggle from below rather than promises in a restaurant ten years previously might have produced a contest in which a left challenge would have been a possibility.

That in turn could have opened up a much more significant space for trade union influence over a Government and Party which badly needs such influence from rank and file trade union members.

Whereas, as we know, UNISON eventually backed a fait accompli and the coronation of Blair's successor.

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