Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Unions back austerity?


My attention has been drawn to the above, from Jon Lansman of the Campaign for Labour Party Democracy (and from many other places, including, on this occasion, a van in the car park outside Labour's National Policy Forum).

‎Jon reports on the overwhelming support for the foolish decision to endorse Ed Ball's hare-brained scheme to continue Tory austerity policies in the first year of a Labour Government. This policy of "austerity-lite", intended to burnish Labour's reputation for economic competence subordinates fiscal policy to unreliable electoral calculation.

‎As a local government worker in a borough facing the loss of fully half it's central government funding between 2010 and 2017, this decision suggests no hope of respite even if Ed Miliband is in Number 10 a year from now with a solid majority in the Commons. As soon as we finish the TUC demonstration this October we had best start planning one for the autumn of 2015, since Chancellor Balls will be promising us more of the same.

All of this will be music to the ears of those involved in the various vanity publishing outfits with electoral ambitions, who will repeat their calls to the trade unions to break our links with Labour and back other candidates. However, these comrades will be missing the target quite spectacularly.

The problem is not that the trade unions will back Labour in spite of an economic policy which is contrary to the interests of our members (and to the health of the economy - but that's a different blog post for another time). That may be A problem - but it isn't THE problem.

The problem is that trade union delegates at the National Policy Forum voted to support Ed Balls and against the policies of their own unions and of the Trades Union Congress (TUC). The question we need to be asking is not "why do we support Labour?"

The question we need to be asking is "why do we fail to support our own policies when we are involved in Labour's policy-making machinery?"

Sent from my BlackBerry 10 smartphone on the EE network.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

indeed jon, it is absurd on many levels but not least that unison spends significant sums campaigning against austerity and motivating lay activists to do likewise, so why would we vote against our own policies and campaigns? that of course assumes that the 3 UNISON delegates did vote against, and that they were not mandated to do so by a labour link or other ctte decision. this should come to light in due course and then there may be a debate to be had about how we hold our representatives accountable