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Tuesday, 9 July 2013


The Cameron that I am referring to is Simon Cameron, (1799-1889), the American politician, who is famously quoted as saying:- “An honest politician is one who, when he is bought, will stay bought.”

When 'Red Len' McCluskey, the Leader of the Unite Union, engineered getting Ed Miliband elected through Unite’s block vote and huge funding, he must have thought that his efforts to turn Labour to the Left had paid off and that he had bought himself, his Union and his ideology control of the Leadership of the Labour Party.

Red Len’s agenda, as can be seen from his own Unite political strategy (click here >>>, is nothing less than to get control of Labour by getting its candidates elected to many of Labour’s safest seats and thereby elected to Parliament. Until recently he must really have been feeling very smug about what he achieved and what was being achieved in the selection process, but in Falkirk it seems that he over-reached himself. As a result, Ed Miliband has now bitten the hand that fed him, nurtured him and raised him to the leadership of the Labour Party. How Red Len must wish now for an “honest politician” who once bought, stays bought!

I haven’t found a better explanation about what has been happening in Falkirk than the one written by my old Newsnight sparring partner, Eric Joyce. Back in 2003 he seemed to be one of Labour’s natural highflyers. Unfortunately like many of the brightest talents he has been brought low by the “demon drink”. That doesn’t stop him from being an acute observer, but also writing a well written explanation of what is going on.

Here is his article:-

Unite in Falkirk: amateur and irresponsible 

The behaviour of Unite officials in Falkirk was hubristic, but this battle will determine if Labour can win in 2015

 by Eric Joyce

Falkirk has had two memorable battles in its history. Wallace's defeat of Edward I's army in 1298 and the Jacobite success in 1746 each had their own historical significance: Mel Gibson's portrayal of the former in Braveheart has a special place in the modern iconography of Scotland. Now there's a third: the present political battle in Falkirk will determine whether Labour can win the 2015 general election.

Labour's referral today of its internal report into recruitment irregularities to the police has raised the stakes to the highest level. If convictions were to follow, it would have implications for the future of Len McCluskey, the general secretary of Unite, the UK's largest trade union. What lies behind the mess?

First, on a local level, I set off the chain of events last year by behaving atrociously in the House of Commons. My subsequent resignation from the party created a vacuum locally, into which stepped activists who had not had much to do with the party over the years. One, Stephen Deans, chair of Unite in Scotland and a local shop steward, was installed as chair of Falkirk West constituency Labour party (CLP), which covers about 70% of my constituency. In line with wider Unite policy, he immediately began an extensive recruitment campaign at work – Ineos refinery in Grangemouth, and in a local pub, The Broomhill Inn – the aim being to dominate the selection vote for my successor without persuading existing members to support the Unite candidate, Karie Murphy.

Until yesterday Labour party rules permitted trade unions to pay the membership fees for union members who had been paying the union's Labour party levy for over one year. Certainly, many of Deans' new recruits were legitimate in this respect.

It's important to be clear that it's entirely normal for recruitment to go up a little before the "freeze" date set for a selection. Selections get people interested, and are a good time to convert a few Labour supporters to Labour members. Moreover, trade unions have always played a significant part in selections. Many – willing, genuine – members of the Labour party are of course trade unionists.

Over the years, trade unions have used their putative power sensibly. They've understood that party rules create the possibility of serious dysfunction if they choose to overexert their potential muscle. In Falkirk I've found them to be a stabilising influence in partnership with the Labour party. Until now.

However, in this case, the apparent scale of recruitment was worrying local members. Some were approached by people saying they'd received letters from the Labour party, welcoming them as members when they'd never applied. Others found it impossible to find out who the new members were, as the chair would not allow branch secretaries access to their membership list. This made it impossible for new "members" to be invited to meetings. CLP meetings were cancelled at short notice; months went by without any at all.

At around the time this began to emerge, I spoke to Unite's candidate, Murphy. I knew she'd rented a house locally and thought that, with her solid trade union background and the fact she was known to be close to the Unite general secretary, she would be a strong candidate. I advised her, as I did the other candidates, to get into members' living rooms and persuade them of her case. Members always appreciate the effort, even if they don't always vote for you subsequently. She gave me the impression that this might not be necessary.

Shortly afterwards I discovered that the Unite campaign was largely ignoring existing members – the strategy seemed to be to swamp them with new ones, whose membership Unite had paid for. I was made aware of this by local members, and blogged about it. The result of that was a legal letter from Unite, demanding that I take my "slanderous" (truthful) post down and making all sorts of hysterical threats.

Labour party members, whether trade unionists or not, are not that biddable when it comes to selections. Union leaders know their recommendations are just that. With folk signed by their mate in a bar, though – people who've never paid to join and who've had nothing to do with the party – things are different. It's certain that without Ed Miliband's decisive actions in commissioning the report, Unite would have pushed legitimate Labour members out of the way to install what would have been a Unite-first, Labour-second candidate and, quite likely, MP.

Labour has now set a "freeze date" for members' voting rights at the point where I left the party. That means that local members, including many trade unionists, will choose my successor as candidate and, I am sure, MP for Falkirk.

The amateur, hubristic and irresponsible actions of a small number of Unite officials at the top of the organisation will require some rules to be changed to prevent another Falkirk. Unite members will also need to reflect on whether Unite's claim that it is simply encouraging more "working class" MPs is a bogus argument that sits behind a crude attempt to place middle class officials and close friends into jobs: playing the class card is never wise, especially if the sitting MP, council-house born and bred, left school at 16 to become a squaddie.

Len McCluskey has further commented that "middle class" people, such as people who were political researchers, shouldn't be parachuted in. Unite's candidate, Karie Murphy, worked in the office of the MP Tom Watson until she was suspended from the party last week. McCluskey's salary is £122,000.
(click here >>> ).


  1. Privatisation of the Post Office planned for the Autumn, is another attack on England's sense of solidarity. After 350 years, this vital service will be dispersed to foreign ownership.
    Despite its posturing the Conservative Party is unpatriotic.

    1. They are not privatising the Post Office, but the Royal Mail.

  2. The Tories have come up with a wheeze to answer the West Lothian question. MPs representing English seats will be able to veto legislation which only affects England, and include an opt out for England from legislation affecting the the UK as a whole.
    This will require a response from the English Democrats.

  3. Yes what will tghe English Democrats have to say on this?
    You would of thought The BBC with the Today Programme on Radio 4 would be wanting a statement.
    But NO thats to Democratic for the nasty BBC
    Stephen Fry on QI said the BBC PC as gone mad when he is repeatibly told NOT to say ENGLAND but say Britain NOT to say ENGLISH but say BRITISH.
    Herr Goebbels would have been so proud of the BBC.

  4. The country is turning into a third world bankrupt police state dump thanks to Mr Milliband's father and those who have eschewed his Marxist agenda for 60 plus years and is now owned by Goldman Sachs but what are our political representatives doing? They are engaging in their usual mud slinging but this time about party funding. If it wasn't so abhorrent it would be sad as they have now idea of the contempt in which they are held by the English people whose country they have given away to the entire world. They haven't a clue that we are no longer listening, we know longer care and we want to say like Cromwell said to the rump parliament, "In the name of God go!!" and leave us to sort out the mess you have created.