Will Len McCluskey’s drive to “change Labour from within” collapse over Falkirk West?
With the Labour right and Tories accusing the union of trying to control the party McCluskey wanted to change, will Unite, the country’s biggest union, now change course and break with Labour?
And as we face a “hot autumn” of strike action – is the demand for a one-day general strike on the agenda in 2013?
These two issues will have an important effect on the mood among working people in this country.
The Labour Party was borne out of the trade union movement. Trade unionists helped form the Labour Representation Committee in 1900. New Labour broke with that tradition – yet Len McCluskey has not only encouraged Unite members to join but used the union’s political funds under a scheme, originally backed by Miliband, allowing trade unions to pay the first year of membership subs to Labour. It was on this basis that Unite signed up over 100 members in Falkirk. But the union’s preferred candidate, Karie Murphy was barred from standing and subsequently suspended along with the constituency chairperson Stephen Deans.
Amidst claims of corruption from the media and the Tory party, Miliband has now handed over Labour’s secret report to the police, without showing it to Unite! This all comes just a few weeks after McCluskey praised Miliband’s policy statement for being on the right track regarding youth unemployment!
With Labour saying they would not substantially break with the austerity policies of the current government, what impact will this all have on the union?
Socialists in Unite are not only calling for the union to break with Labour, they have also campaigned for the one-day general strike which Len McCluskey openly supported on the mass demonstration against austerity last October.