Thursday, July 17, 2014
It is up to the trade unions whether Labour's manifesto is worth voting for
A hat tip is due to a Mr Berry on Facebook for alerting your blogger to the excellent article above by Labour Left stalwart Jon Lansman.
I won't repeat here the detail, but will take the liberty of trying to summarise the points made in a couple of sentences.
Every reactionary move and disappointment in the Labour Party since Blair ditched Clause IV (and before) has rested upon the tacit (or not so tacit) support for the Party leadership from union heirarchies.
If the trade union leaderships want progressive outcomes from Labour's National Policy Forum they have the power to achieve them (whether - and here I am elaborating a little - by putting together a majority at the NPF or by creating a large enough minority that the matter has to be voted on at Conference.)
Everyone who absents themselves from the Labour Party, or engages in this or that project of leftist vanity publishing with electoral ambitions, renders themselves irrelevant to the fight in hand - but those of us who can see what needs to be done ought not to waste time and energy on pointless arguments with those determined upon the purity of such irrelevance at the next General Election.
Our real adversaries are twofold.
First, there are those in the ranks of the Labour Party who remain committed to the ultra-Blairite project of breaking the link with the trade unions.
Secondly, our most important adversaries are those within our own trade unions who will fall (often willingly) for the tired and unconvincing argument that we must not "rock the boat" or "defeat the Leader" in the year before a General Election.
Jon Lansman rightly castigates those who mistakenly think that the problem is a reactionary Labour Party dragging trade unions to the right. A similar error is made by those who fail to understand that there are not separate bureaucracies of the Party and trade unions, but a single, interchangeable caste of careerists, some of whom hold positions in both "wings" of our movement.
Our problem is with that layer - and with all those who won't push for the bold, radical policies which would make Labour popular in 2015 (and which could be pretty much extracted from the policy decisions of recent annual meetings of the Trades Union Congress (TUC).)
The trade union leaders have the power to push Ed Miliband into adopting the forthright policies that can deliver a Labour majority next year. If he does not adopt those policies it will only be because our trade unions will have refused to use our muscle.
The General Secretaries of the big unions have a once in a lifetime opportunity to leave a positive legacy.
Watch this space.
Sent from my BlackBerry 10 smartphone on the EE network.