On 1 April 2014, Unite General Secretary Len McCluskey told the parliamentary press gallery that Unite could stop funding Labour if it lost the next General Election on a ‘pale shade of austerity’. This was a clear threat that Labour must go into the election promising more borrowing, more spending and more taxes or face the consequences.1
• Len McCluskey is still calling the shots on Labour’s candidates, policies, and their whole future as a party.
• This week he demanded more spending, more borrowing, and more taxes – exactly the same old Labour policies that got us into a mess in the first place.
• Ed Miliband is a puppet on Len McCluskey’s string: shoved around by the trade union bosses who pay Labour’s bills. And it’s hardworking people who would pay the price for that, with fewer jobs and a less secure economy.
• Unite unashamedly call for more borrowing, more spending and more taxes. Unite’s last Policy Conference in 2012 adopted the following resolution: ‘Unite is committed to continue the campaign of industrial action and civil disobedience against the cuts’.2
• Ed Miliband’s Labour Party are reliant on Unite for funding. Since Ed Miliband became Labour Leader, Unite have donated over £10 million to the party, well over a quarter of Labour’s total donations in the period.3
• Ed Miliband’s so called union ‘reforms’ mean Len McCluskey has even more power over Labour policy than before. ‘Len McCluskey said [that the] changes would leave his union with more spare cash which it could dispense to Labour – or withhold – at its leisure. Asked whether that meant he would have more clout over Labour, he replied: “That’s exactly what it means. We would obviously have more money in our political fund, and we are able to make donations”’.4
• Unite played a central role in making Ed Miliband Labour Leader. Then co-General Secretaries Derek Simpson and Tony Woodley urged Unite members eligible to vote in the Labour Leadership election to back Ed Miliband: ‘To ensure Ed Miliband wins we need you to give him your support and your vote when the ballot opens on Wednesday 1 September’.5
• Unite are fixing Labour candidate selections across the country – not least in Falkirk. Unite’s preferred Labour candidate in Falkirk was Karie Murphy. The selection was suspended in February 2013 after it was alleged that Unite had recruited 100 members in Falkirk CLP, and paid for their membership.6
• Unions get 50 per cent of the vote at Labour conference. Affiliated organisations- of which unions form the vast majority, are given 50 per cent of the vote at Labour conference. ‘The balance of voting between the two sections shall be: 50 per cent to the affiliated organisations (as in i above), and 50 per cent to the CLPs (as in ii above).7
1. BBC News Online, 1 April 2014.
2. Decisions of the June 2012 Unite Policy Conference, August 2012 .
3. Electoral Commission calculations.
4. Financial Times, 28 February 2014.
5. Unite Press Release, 26 August 2010.
6. Guardian, 12 May 2013.
7. Refounding Labour Rule Book, September 2011.