Posts Tagged ‘Union’

Unfortunately for Labour, the voters are never wrong

10/05/2011, 12:00:41 PM

by Tom Harris

The late Jimmy Allison, legendary Scottish organiser of the Labour party, addressed the Scottish reception at annual conference in 1990, just a couple of weeks after I had started work as a press officer. “We won 50 seats at the last election, despite the fact that, unlike England, we have a four-party system,” he proudly told approving and slightly drunk delegates.

That claim jarred with me at the time, and I contemplated it for some months afterwards. There was an error in Jimmy’s logic that, as a new arrival at Keir Hardie House, I didn’t have the confidence or the authority to challenge. Our landslide victory north of the border in 1987 was despite a four-way split in the vote? Or because of it?

Last week settled the argument conclusively. While a dominant party could win seats thanks to the three-way split of the opposition vote, that no longer holds when the multi-party system the proportional voting system for Holyrood was designed to enshrine gives way to a traditional two-party system.

And Labour found itself the victim of a huge tactical vote against it, as former LibDem voters, still reeling from the guilt of putting David Cameron into Number 10 last time, switched entirely en masse to Labour’s main challengers.


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Where have all the Scots gone, and are they coming back, asks Kevin Meagher?

16/10/2010, 10:00:00 AM

Will a Scot ever lead Labour again? You might think that’s a strange question. Of the 17 men elected as Labour leader since 1906, eight have been Caledonians. This includes Labour’s first five leaders and its last three: Smith Blair and Brown.

But the party is becoming less Scottish. This is an imprecise science; but just think back to Tony Blair’s first cabinet in 1997. Gordon Brown, Robin Cook, Donald Dewar, Gavin Strang, George Robertson, Alistair Darling and Derry Irvine. Scots abounded.

Yet the new shadow cabinet contains just three Scots: Jim Murphy at defence, Douglas Alexander at transport and Ann McKechin at the Scottish office. Meanwhile, the biggest casualty of the shadow cabinet elections was Pat McFadden, although he is an anomaly: a Scot representing an English seat. (more…)

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Friday News Review

16/07/2010, 07:29:30 AM

Union backing declared

The GMB Union has backed Ed Milliband for the Labour leadership

Several unions moved to give their backing to candidates for the Labour leadership yesterday as the campaign enters a potentially critical phase.The GMB became the first of the three big Labour-affiliated unions to nominate its choice, urging its 700,000 members to back Ed Miliband, the former climate change secretary. It will ballot all members on the candidates. – The Guardian

Mr Miliband also received support from construction union Ucatt yesterday. The Communication Workers Union swung behind Ed Balls and train drivers’ union Aslef backed Diane Abbott.Voting is split three ways: MPs and MEPs, trade unions and other affiliated organisations and thirdly grassroots activists. The two biggest unions – Unite and Unison – have yet to declare. – The Mirror


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