Wednesday, 14 March 2012
Load of Old Balls
The Times reports today on another 'furious' row between the Labour party and the unions - over public sector pay.
Here's what the latest bust up is all about and key extracts of the newspaper's coverage:
"Mr Balls, In his first speech since Ed Miliband indicated a relaunch of the party’s economic plan, told the Fabian Society: “However difficult this is for me, for some of my colleagues and for our wider supporters, we cannot make any commitments now that the next Labour government will reverse tax rises or spending cuts, and we will not."
"Pay restraint in the public sector in this parliament would have been necessary whoever was in government. But George Osborne’s economic mistakes mean more difficult decisions on tax, spending and pay. It is now inevitable that public sector pay restraint will have to continue for longer in this parliament."
"Labour cannot duck that reality - and we won’t. Jobs must be our priority before higher pay."
A senior source at one of Labour’s biggest affiliates, said it was now inevitable that union conference this summer will vote on whether to remain affiliated to the party.
"Let the taxpayer foot the bill is the likely outcome," he told the Press Association. "This is not an alternative economic approach - it is pure balls. It guarantees that Labour will lose the next election."
"There is no hope, not even a word about tax evasion and avoidance."
"With all three parties now offering identical austerity, what is the point in being affiliated and having the responsibility of funding one of them?"
"We don’t even get to be consulted on major policy issues. The union conferences in the summer are sure to vote on affiliation."
Notice how these senior trade union figures snipe from the sidelines - instead of standing up publicly and speaking their minds.
Tough or what?
But I do agree on one point - it is a load of old balls or Balls.
Because the trade unions are too scared to break their links with the Labour party - for the reasons explained in the following post - from the blog site archive.
Huffing and Puffing (16 February 2012)
One of Labour's big affiliated trade unions - the GMB - is set to debate its future links with the Labour party - according to the newspapers.
The leaders of the GMB - who helped elect the current Labour leader - Ed Miliband - have let it be known that an unprecedented number of branches have raised 'concerns' - about Labour's support for austerity measures.
"Oh my goodness, what big teeth you have - Grandma!"
But I can assure readers there's no need to worry - or get upset.
Because this is not the tale of Little Red Riding Hood - in reality it's much more like The Three Little Pigs.
A big bad wolf is not going to come along going and eat Grandma - or Ed Miliband for that matter.
The trade unions are just going to huff and puff - and threaten to blow Labour's house down - then after a while everyone will get fed up and go home.
The reason being that Britain's unions bosses (the Bubs) have nowhere else to go.
No one else would be daft enough put up with the kind of nonsense - that allows the Bubs to wield 50% of the votes - at the annual Labour party conference.
No other party would allow a crazy electoral college system - that allows the trade unions to impose a leader on the Labour party - over the heads of individual party members.
No other party would allow the trade unions such a huge say in selecting candidates to stand for election - as MPs and MSPs.
So what we will see at the GMB conference is a ritual dance - one that will let off a bit of steam before life returns to normal again.
It's just another tall story - a bit like one of Aesop's Fables except without the moral message.
The fact is that the trade unions have no other friends - because no one else will give them house room.