Posts Tagged ‘trade union link reform’

If party reform goes through as advertised, it is a major triumph. But it ain’t over till it’s over

05/02/2014, 01:56:27 PM

by Rob Marchant

It has been a rollercoaster couple of weeks for Labour. It started with Miliband’s ideas on how to change competition in banking, and ran through Balls’ announcement on fiscal probity, of which the only story newspapers wanted to print was about the retention of the 50p tax rate. Indeed, the economic story that they tell is one which could yet be Labour’s undoing.

But let us give credit where it is undoubtedly due. The settlement announced at the weekend was, for the long-term future of the party, an undeniable success. It did not go as far as some of us might have wanted. But given where we are in the electoral cycle and the importance of not facing a general election broke, it was surely about as good as anyone could have hoped for.

If you can secure the fulsome praise of Andrew Rawnsley and John Rentoul – no Miliband cheerleaders they – for reforms which they describe as “bold” and “brave” respectively, you must know that you have done something out of the ordinary.

In summary: move to individual affiliation for union members – tick. Primary in London – tick. End of electoral college in leadership elections – tick. Most importantly, it leaves the door open for further reform. If the London primary is a success, then the argument for using them to select parliamentary candidates could become unstoppable. We didn’t get changes on conference voting, but then no-one expected we would.

Now, let’s assume the best of all worlds, and that this all goes through on the nod. Not a particularly safe assumption, but let’s assume it does.

Is there still a caveat? Of course there is. This is Labour Uncut, and we know how to sit amongst the most churlish of churls, if there is an uncomfortable truth to be told. And to do so, we have to get down into a nerdiness of procedural detail that even respected political journalists might baulk at.

And it is this. What happens if there is a leadership election next year?


Facebook Twitter Digg Delicious StumbleUpon

This is bigger than Clause IV

31/01/2014, 11:42:55 PM

by Jonathan Reynolds

One thing more than anything else strikes me when reading Ed Miliband’s final proposals for party reform – when he told us he wanted a new politics, he really did mean it.

What Ed is proposing is genuinely a chance to bring trade unionists into the core of local Labour parties. For an active local MP like me, it offers a tantalising opportunity to expand the number of people involved in my local campaigns, my events and my community work.   In future, when I speak in the Commons in support of manufacturing, industrial policy or the NHS, I could have the chance to send my message directly to more of the people I am speaking up for.

I want to make clear that I know, under the system we have now, there are a great many trade union officers and members who work night and day to spread the Labour message in their unions.  They should never think we don’t appreciate them, because we do.  But I have always understood that all politics really is local – if I want people to vote Labour in my area they need to know what I am doing and believe in, not just the collective Labour message. This is a chance to do that.

Because it is such a substantial change people will inevitably describe it as a ‘Clause 4’ moment.  But actually this is something even more radical than that. Clause 4 was a huge and important change, showing the country we understood the world had changed, but it was essentially a cosmetic issue – an issue in how we were perceived.  Ed’s reforms are more radical because they are about power, shifting substantially more of it away from the centre towards the grassroots of the party.


Facebook Twitter Digg Delicious StumbleUpon

Exclusive: One-off rules for next Labour leadership election mean OMOV electorate to be dominated by 2.3m union members

31/01/2014, 11:43:26 AM

Update 18:43: Uncut’s source are now telling us that the only trade union voters in Labour’s next leadership election will be those who have opted-in as associate members. Events have been fast moving and over the week and the shape of the final proposals is thought to have been evolving in the past few days. Given the potential for a contest in 2015, this would likely mean that only a small number of trade unionists would take part.

10% is often cited as the proportion of trade unionists that will opt-in, but many suspect the reality will be lower. The comparatively short time period between when the rules are ratified at the special conference in March and a potential leadership election in late 2015 means the unions will only have a narrow window to recruit associate members from the ranks of their 2.3m affiliates.

Estimates of the potential number of trade union voters for a 2015 leadership election that have been suggested to Uncut range from 25,000 to 80,000. This would mean trade union votes would be below the third guaranteed by the electoral college and if so, would represent a major concession from the leaders of the trade unions.

Had the 2010 leadership election been run with the electorate likely in 2015, David Miliband would most probably be leader of the Labour party today.


by Atul Hatwal

Uncut has learned that the next Labour leadership election, expected in 2015 if the general election is lost, will be conducted under a one-off mix of existing and new rules. The result will be that this electorate will be dominated by 2.3m union members – over 13 times the number who are full Labour party members (180,000).

At the special conference in March, a new set of rules on trade union members’ relationship with the party will be passed. A new category of member, “trade union associate” will be created. This will be for trade unionists that actively opt-in to supporting Labour and will be phased in over 5 years.

New trade union members will be given the choice of opting-in to the Labour party and becoming an associate immediately with discussions ongoing on how the existing base of affiliates will be transitioned over – if at all.

The big change to be passed straight away will be the move to OMOV for the Labour leadership election. The difference in timing between the roll-out of the associate member category and the shift on leadership election will have far reaching implications for Labour.

It means that the at the next Labour leadership election the electorate will be the same as at the last election, but the rules will be OMOV.

Just as at the last leadership election, the Labour party will not have any access to the 2.3m affiliates membership details and candidates will not be able to communicate with these voters directly.

This is because the affiliates will not have had a chance to opt-in to supporting the Labour party and so, under data protection rules, their personal details will not be allowed to be passed to Labour.

Everything will have to go through the union.


Facebook Twitter Digg Delicious StumbleUpon