Posts Tagged ‘machine politics’

When Ed Miliband condemned Unite’s “machine politics” in Falkirk, did he forget his office had signed-off on their tactics?

13/11/2013, 07:14:31 PM

by Atul Hatwal

The Times today carried some revelatory new details on Falkirk (£). Strangely, they seemed to miss the real significance of what they’ve got (assuming the Ineos e-mails are as reported and what they say is true).

Their story focuses on a deal agreed between Iain McNicol, Labour’s general secretary, and Len McCluskey to ensure Unite members who were recruited into the party via the old “union join” scheme, where the union pays the first year of subs, were all moved onto direct debit so future payment could be assured.

The prospect of Labour’s general secretary cutting a deal with a union boss is hardly edifying but it’s not the big story. More interesting are the implications of an e-mail  from 21st January this year that is cited in the piece.

The mail is from Steve Hart, Unite’s political director at the time, to Karie Murphy, the Unite candidate and Tom Warnett, Unite’s political co-ordinator.  In it, Hart refers to delays by a sceptical Labour membership department, in processing the mass of new Unite recruits, stating,

“I was advised the week before Xmas that these had all been processed — advised by Jenny Smith [Ed Miliband’s union adviser at the time] and Scott Landon [Iain McNicol’s chief of staff] — but it is for the party to confirm authority, not us.”

Originally, the Sunday Times published the mail, but the names had been redacted. The inclusion of the names tells us that the leader’s office not only knew about Unite’s plans, they agreed them.

Dan Hodges picked up on the real importance of the revelations earlier today when he wrote,

“Back in July he [Ed Miliband] had said: ‘I am here to talk about a different politics, a politics that is open. Transparent. And trusted. Exactly the opposite of the politics we’ve recently seen in Falkirk. A politics that was closed. A politics of the machine. A politics that is rightly hated…’

But all the time his office had been supporting a deal with Len McCluskey to enable him to rig the selection.”

Think about it for a moment.


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