If the Mail was wrong on Ed Miliband’s dad, then Unite are wrong to target Ineos managers’ families. And Labour needs to say so

by Atul Hatwal

Another day and yet more revelations from Grangemouth. This morning’s Daily Mail carried details of how Unite targeted Ineos executives at home as part of a strategy called “leverage campaigning.” While most members of the Labour movement will read anything in the Mail about unions with a level of scepticism, on this occasion the basic facts seem to be incontrovertible.

The Mail reports that as part of “leverage campaigning” 30 Unite members descended on the home of an Ineos executive during the school holidays to stage a protest on his drive. In response, Unite haven’t denied any details of what happened, but have defended the actions as “legitimate in the context of an industrial dispute.” On their website there is a section that describes “leverage campaigning,”

“Leverage is a process whereby the Union commits resources and time to making all interested parties aware of the treatment received by Unite members at the hands of an employer. Those interested parties may include shareholders of the employer; competitors of the employer; communities within which the employer operates; customers of the employer and the market place of the employer.”

Many in the Labour movement will simply shrug and think “so what.” But that’s not good enough. Its time for a bit of consistency.

If the Daily Mail was wrong to go after Ed Miliband’s father, then its wrong for Unite to target senior managers’ families.

It was despicable of the Daily Mail to attack Ralph Miliband to hurt his son. It’s equally disgraceful to harass peoples’ families and neighbours simply because they happen to be managers at a firm in an industrial dispute.

The outrage from the Labour party on the Daily Mail’s piece on Ralph Miliband was voluble and justified. Silence on Unite’s antics now will abrogate any moral authority the party had in criticising the Mail. Morality isn’t a one-way street. Principles don’t apply selectively. Either everyone connected with an adversary is fair game, or they’re not.

Labour needs to decide whether it believes in total war, where the families and friends or political opponents are justified targets. Or if it still holds to the values so loudly declared over the Ralph Miliband article, where they are off limits.

If it is the former, then the fathers, mothers, wives, husbands, sons, daughters, friends and neighbours of Labour politicians should make sure they have never done anything that might merit a news story.

But, if it is the latter, then the Labour party should condemn Unite’s tactics.

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20 Responses to “If the Mail was wrong on Ed Miliband’s dad, then Unite are wrong to target Ineos managers’ families. And Labour needs to say so”

  1. bob says:

    Miliband will never condemn Unite because so many of his MPs are supported by Unite, his accession to the leadership was in the gift of McClusky and he will not say a thing in opposition to ‘leverage’.

    The gift that keeps giving. just in case anybody here does not contemplate reading the Mail and Telegraph.



    Unfortunately cannot link to Telegraph story.

    Even criminals don’t attack police officers families.

  2. Nick says:

    Milliband is just a puppet. He’s paid to do as he is told to.

  3. swatantra says:

    I always remember that wonderful remark of Douglas Home’s : ‘If I’m the 14th Earl of Home, then you Sir must be the 14th Mr Wilson’. Pretty appropriate I think. Its not where you come from that matters, its what you do to change injustices when and where you see them, Len.

  4. forlornehope says:

    Morality is a one-way street. Anything done for the benefit of the working class is worthy of praise and anything that attacks the working class should be stamped on. The so called judaeo-christian ethic has absolutely no place in left wing politics.

  5. Les Abbey says:

    Good to see yourself, Marchant and Eric Joyce taking this opportunity to attack the unions Atul. Sort of places everyone in that grand scheme of things doesn’t it.

  6. paul barker says:

    And what will you do if Milliband/The Party dont condemn this behaviour?

  7. Danny says:

    Atul, you are an idiot. Your anti-Union bias is severely effecting your ability to function.

    They staging a protest at the address of an executive. An executive who has been involved in the systematic destruction of the rights of the workers and who has been involved in decision which are going to diminish hundreds of worker’s incomes.

    The timing of the protest is down to the events of the pursuit, not the school calendar.

    It has not been arranged to target the executive’s family. If it’s intention is to bully and intimidate the executive, well whoop-de-do, it’s high time he had a taste of his own medicine. Whilst the only consequence for the executive is a minor annoyance and perhaps a bit of embarrassment, the intimidation and bullying tactics he has helped implement cause far worse consequences for a far greater number of people than one wealthy and comfortable individual.

    I’m sorry, but to compare this protest to the Daily Mail’s treatment of Ralph Miliband is utterly, utterly stupid. You do come up with some appalling drivel Mr Hatwal, but this pathetic piece of agenda-driven bile has probably seized the prize.

    You hate Unions, we get it. But you have a media platform with a decent sized readership and with that should come a modicum of responsibility and integrity. To let your anti-Union bias effect your output to the extent that you are reduced to making woefully poor comparisons between a Union protest and the disgusting treatment of a dead-man to score political points is bizarre. There is no connection between the behaviour of the Union and the Daily Mail other than in your warped little imagination.

    And to quote one of these directors, “‘They were trying to humiliate me. Trying to portray me as a nasty boss, a nasty capitalist. To portray me as someone evil. Their intent was to have my neighbours thinking, gosh, what sort of a guy do we have living there.” Maybe they will deduce that he is the sort of person happy to play around with the livelihoods of hundreds of workers to protect his own inflated income? If so, job done.

    You can sit and whinge at how awful it is for these people to have been so disgustingly wronged. Or the Labour movement can reflect on how powerless workers and Unions have become in our broken, unjust and immoral economy.

    You sympathise for millionaires if you must, but I should remind you they don’t need you batting for them, they have the Tory Party to look after their interests.

    I’m a member of the Labour Party. I got the impression you were too. That used to mean something.

  8. bob says:

    If Miliband and his shadow cabinet does not publically condemn Unite and its actions he and they are as bad as the thugs on the door step of those families. These are the same tactics as were used in the 70s at places like Halewood and the docks and later on in the miners strike orchestrated by Scargill and his acolytes.

    Why if the police were called they did not at least move them on or arrest them under public order laws such as sections 5.

    Will he condemn and apologise, not a snowball in hell chance, just too cowardly and can’t afford to lose nine million pounds of Unite’s money, if he publically rebukes McClusky and his friends which I doubt, because they can sack him.

  9. septicisle says:

    Yes, how very dare unions engage their right to protest? If Ed Miliband doesn’t condemn this it’ll be the greatest scandal of all time! This site gets more and more ridiculous as time passes.

  10. Robert says:

    Unite handled the Ineos dispute very badly and it ended up being humiliated. No need for Miliband to say anything.

  11. Ex-Labour says:

    Typical leftard hypocricy as usual. Same thing over energy bills where Miliband is responsible via his Climate Change Act imposing “green taxes” on everyone and then calling the energy companies for doing what he demanded in the first place.

    Unite are out of control, Miliband is kissing their arse in private and pretending he wants to fight in public.

    Judging by some of the moronic leftard comments on here it seems common decency and respect has gone from the values of the left. As usual anyone who does not like the actions of the left are “evil” people and anyone who has some wealth is to be derrided. The politics of envy are so very clear.

    Unions are dying and lets hope the actions of these twats in Unite hasten the demise.

  12. Danny says:

    Yes because Unions are the axis of evil and the world would be such a better place if millionaire business owners could do what the hell they wanted.

    How can someone who makes such idiotic comments have the bare-faced audacity to calll anyone moronic?

  13. southern voter says:

    While it is fair to protest about workers’ rights at the place of employment.Holding
    a protest at a manger’s home is going to far in my very humble opinion.

  14. Fred says:

    Labour an uncredible political force because so many in the party are as morose as Danny and his moral high ground.

  15. Rallan says:

    Most people would consider what Unite has done to be very ugly. A threat like “we know where you.live” sends a shiver down most peoples spines. Mob intimidation can’t be justified or excused.

    Up to this point Labour was only.indirectly damaged by Falkirk / Grangemouth. But this is different. If Miliband does not clearly condemn it the Labour Party will be marked as the willing party of thugs & bullies.

  16. Danny says:

    The Labour movement lacks credibility because, despite its name, it sits idly by whilst corporate bullies play with the livelihoods of their works and jump to the defence of said corporate bullies when the boot is on the other foot.

    They’ve already got an economy that works for them, a political party that works for them who are currently in government, a media industry that largely works for them. They don’t need members of the Labour Party working for them as well.

    Tony Blair’s philosophy of greed being good really has rubbed off on so many people hasn’t it? To the point where people don’t just advocate the idea, but leap to the defence of greed with drawn swords when people try to peacefully protest against it.

    It shocks me that people still swallow spin from the Mail and Telegraph, particularly where unions are concerned. It saddens me that people associated with Labour swallow it.

  17. Ex-Labour says:

    @ Danny

    You started the vitriol in your very first comment for what its worth.

    You also seem to think that intimidation of someone you feel (in your opinion) you can justify intimidating because you dont like his style of managment is a thuggish mentality. Everyone has to deal with people and situations they dont like throughout life, so what gives you the right to turn up on doorsteps with your bullying tactics ?

    You criticise the company when many union memebers empolyed there are paid very well in comparision to millions of people throughout the country. Yeah those nasty capitalists providing jobs, good salaries and benefits, when all the commrades really want is power. This wasnt about jobs it was about protecting one of the comrades who had been caught out. You were prepared to put 800 jobs at risk for one of your own – full stop.

    You clearly are not intelligent enough to understand the contrast and compare element of Atul’s piece. So yes your comments are moronic.

  18. Danny says:

    “You were prepared to put 800 jobs at risk for one of your own – full stop.”

    Ah yes, Ineos were threatening to close the entire plant just because one man used his company to send Union-related emails. There was a lot more to it than that.

    Again, I’m afraid any accusation you make of someone being moronic is as lacking in credibility as it is full of hypocrisy.

    An idiot’s greatest compliment is to call someone unintelligent. I’d be very worried if someone as limited as you thought me clever.

  19. Ex-labour says:


    OK so union official resigned before getting sacked and 800 jobs saved, yet you still claim this is nothing to do with the unions?

    Times have changed fella and unions can no longer dictate the terms with aggressive and thuggish tactics.

    Obviously in your Marxist wet dream you still think you are in charge…….well clearly not.

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