Unite – Wrong on Labour, Wrong on Corbyn
You’ll remember a little wee while ago that there was a bit of spat from some trade unions, including Unite, the biggest trade union in our country with approximately 1.4 million members and the Labour Party.
The essential gist was ‘lean to the left or we might have to look at alternatives’. Very quickly the General Secretary, Len McClusky came out to say that actually there wouldn’t be consideration of disaffiliating from Labour, more a discussion on how best the union would continue to support Labour in the future.
The veiled threat was there in the background, the point had been made – and the damage had been done.
In an attempt to appease unions and voters alike, Miliband lurched at bit further to the left and the rest is history as they say.
Now Unite are backing Corbyn – a sure fire way to ensure that Labour aren’t in government for a generation.
The newly christened ‘Corbynomics’ is quite simply the economics of insanity. Don’t get me wrong, Corbyn seems like a great guy, and I agree with his principles. For example I do firmly believe, as he does, that we shouldn’t be punishing children due to the global financial crisis and ensuing austerity that has occurred.
But taxing everyone to death and quadrupling the welfare bill isn’t the way forward. Neither is slashing the defence budget when the UK is entering the most dangerous times for many years – as shown by the recent horrific terrorist attacks against British citizens.
We have to oppose ideology Tory austerity but we also have to listen and admit that continuing down the same path Miliband was taking us is just going to lead to another 5 years in opposition in 2020.
I’m an avid supporter of Unite, but quite frankly, during Miliband’s tenure they made the mistake of pressuring him in a lurch to left on issues that were neither going to win over ‘Middle England’ nor do anything in real terms to support and improve the lives of working people in our country.
Unite’s backing of Jeremy Corbyn in the forthcoming leadership election is another mis-judgement. Therefore I would urge all Unite members to defy Union advice and make a positive choice, a vote for Labour values, a vote for reform and progression but not a vote for Syriza style politics.
Unite continue to do fantastic work campaigning on issues that mean the most to workers in the UK but their choice of leadership candidate to back leaves a lot to be desired. In reality, it should have been the members that chose who to back, as CLPs are allowing in the Labour Party, rather than a decision of the executive.
I strongly oppose the Trade Union Bill attempting to wind it’s way onto the statute books and I think that every single one of the leadership candidates, and indeed every parliamentary representative from the Labour Party should also be opposing this.
Furthermore, I believe that an urgent review into Thatcherite changes to Trade Union law during her premiership need to be independently considered and reformed to remove help both Trade Unions and British business to work better together to achieve a common goal.
If there’s absolutely one thing that as a party and as trade unionists we must do it is to oppose an return to an Old Labour style politics that saw us in opposition for decades.
It’s time to seize the moment and put policies forward to for today’s times – not a bygone era.
I don’t want to return to the past, I want to look to the future – a more progressive and fair future, with a more free and happier society.
If I was a candidate, I wouldn’t hark back to a forgotten time. There would be no return to Old Labour, New Labour or anything-in-between Labour. The lessons have been learnt, the times have changed and it’s time to keep up with the fast pace of change in society and build the progressive politics of the future.