Labour MPs at risk as union plots challenge

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by Kitmarlowe, Jul 2, 2012.

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  1. Just out of interest, aren't there rules about how much individual candidates can spend during an election campaign?

    The main threat seems to the Union's stated intention to throw cash behind a candidate they approve of.

    But if that is limited by law then it's just an empty load of noise, surely.

    Anyone know if I'm right about there being a cap? And if so, what is it?
  2. There are rules about election expenses and they are capped. I can't remember the limit off the top of my head. It's not just about them though. The Union will have other resources to offer any candidates that they choose to back including telephone canvassing, leaflet printing and generally boots on the ground among other things so to speak.

    I don't think Labour will be particularly upset about this move though to be honest.

    This Union is not affilliated to the Labour party and in all honesty, where other candidates from the left have stood against a Labour candidate, they mosty fail. The Respect party have bucked that trend recently but their success has been because of a number of different reasons that won't work for PCS candidates.

    I think this is actually a shot in the foot move by the PCS if it goes ahead. It will burn whatever bridges it currently has with Labour and it will also upset other trade unions who are affilliated to Labour and are hoping for the return of a Labour government in the future.

    I wouldn't raise anybodies hopes that this will split the Labour vote and stop them winning any future election. :)
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  3. If the trade unions were serious about politicians governing for the interests of the working class they'd all disaffiliate from Labour and start again.

    But they won't. Union leaders like the perks, the access, the sense of importance far too much for that.

    These alternative candidates will get nowhere.
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  4. Wordsmith

    Wordsmith LE Book Reviewer

  5. There is talk of applying a cap...

    ...and then funding political parties out of taxpayers' money rather than from donations from those who care.
  6. Not all Unions are Labour Party affiliated but this article sums up why I voted against PCS being able to fund candidates in this manner in the recent ballot on the subject. While I don't agree with the current Government who are using austerity to justify what they'd wanted to do anyway, too many of Public Sector based Union members (I am in a Private Sector branch) are in denial about the need to cut spending to any extent.

    A recent article in the May PCS magazine laid out the case of a PCS activist who had first "retired" aged 53 giving her an immediate lump sum & full pension due to enhanced terms. She had then joined another Department just 4 years later and worked until her 65th birthday. This gave her another pension on top of her existing full pension that she'd been in receipt of while working for the second period and presumably keeping a young person out of a job. Youth unemployment being another PCS hobby horse.

    Her argument was that the Pensions system did not need any reform and was perfectly affordable as it was. When I wrote to the Editor to point out a few facts I was ignored but plenty of letters in support of her appeared in the next issue.

    The way the political campaigning ballot questions were set out PCS would have been be able to campaign politically and direct my funds to support whoever they wanted without consultation. My particular worry was they would seek to fund knobs like the anti-Austerity types or worse, the Anti Fascist League - a group that are just as fascist in their activities as those they seek to oppose.

    It seems I was right to oppose. Trades Unionism is a perfectly laudable idea, The problem is the majority of members are not very active, they are apathetic at best and that leaves their contributions open to abuse by the cliques and slates that stand for Executive Committee & General Secretary election. You need only look at the candidate's statements to see how it works......, "Vote for me and candidates u,v,w,x & y for the EC & z for General Secretary." Before you know it £ms are in the hands of a dozen or so people to spend on whatever crackpot idea they like.
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  7. I've managed to find a form from my union that stops me contributing to the political fund. Like hell I'm giving money to labour.
  8. It's alright, you already did until the Union Modernisation Fund was abolished. From 2005 until it was abolished by the Coalition in 2010, Labour gave taxpayers' money to the Unions in support of "innovative modernisation projects which contribute to a transformational change in the organisational effectiveness of a trade union".

    The Unions then gave the money back to Labour. Anywhere else that would be called money laundering...

  9. I'm sure the capped rate is dependent on the size of the electorate (no. of electorates x X amount of pence) and is different for national/local elections(I was an agent last local election and it came in at circa £750 per candidate) and, up here, Scots Parliament.
    In all honesty unless the seat is marginal or targeted the cap is rarely reached (especially in local elections)
    Looks like Mr Serwotka is looking for a way to fund SWP candidates.
    I agree with rgjbloke ,I can't see Labour dying in a ditch over this.
  10. You might want to check what the fund is for. Prospect, for example, (the TU for, among others, MoD scientists/engineers) whislt dontating no money to political parties has to have a political fund as legal opinion is that activities such as campaigning for public sector TACOS is "political activity" and thus, without a balloted political fund they would be in breach of the law
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  11. I'm sure the Department of Business , Innovation and Skills issue guidelines on what constitutes and setting up a Political Fund for TU's.
  12. With both Labour and Tories looking exceptionally weak at the moment, I suspect that the trade unions sniff their first chance of real power since the 1970s.

    As has been said, there's not much chance of a new party making a significant impact at the next election. But, with the collapse of its membership, Labour is making staff redundant and, allegedly, the phones were cut off at Labour HQ for a while last week.

    There's no time like the present for Len McCluskey and the other unionistas who provide 90% of Labour party funding to continue turning the screw.

    Dozens of Unite officials were parachuted into safe Labour seats at the last election. Len laughed off the results of the Labour leadership election and told David Milliband to jog on before installing Ed?

    What's next?

    A seat in cabinet for union leaders, as happened in the 60s?

    Repeal of the post 1979 union legislation?

    Flying pickets able to block roads as in the 70s?

    Never mind public funding of political parties. What about public funding of union leaders. A million a year will do to start.

    Tax free, MP style expenses, for union members? That should boost membership.

    When you have the government by the balls to the extent that a few unions will have the next Labour government by the balls, the sky really is the limit.
  13. The absolute nonesense is really strong within this one!
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  14. I didn't even know where to start on it. I got as far as "But,with the collapse of its membership".
    A quick check with our CLP (and TU) Members Secretary tells me that since the 2010 General Election, Labour Party membership has increased (across the UK) by 50,000.