UNISONActive is an unofficial blog produced by UNISON activists for UNISON activists. Bringing news, briefings and events from a progressive left perspective.

Monday, 27 September 2010

Labour - no room for complacency‏

There has been some leaping and a whooping about Ed Miliband’s win with the left clearly pleased that the union vote swung into action (albeit a luke warm response from UNISON’s own Labour Link members with a substantial vote for David Miliband).

But any exploration of the voting pattern makes one thing abundantly clear and that is new labour is far from dead and buried. In spite of media protestations that Ed is ‘Red Ed’ there was barely a cigarette paper between the brothers on policy.

Big brother was clearly still a believer in plurality of provision in public services. And the not so radical Ed believes the mistake was that the NHS should have been allowed to bid for work that was subject to outsourcing. A marginal difference because both still fundamentally believe that marketisation and competition is a means to drive up quality and drive down cost. Yet there is no to evidence to prove either works – in fact the evidence points the other way.

Ed’s ‘Johnny come lately’ position on a living wage is equally galling. Was it a key strategy and plank of the labour manifesto that he wrote? I’m still searching for it. So too on social housing, both big and little brother, as advisors to both Blair and Brown left social housing, built by councils, as a marginal issue, on the very periphery of their policies. Worse still they carried on the love-in with transfers to RSL's and ALMO's. Any rouse they could think of to avoid the ugly topic of council housing being talked about in Islington.

I remain to be convinced that Ed Miliband has the capacity to deliver the party with a progressive left agenda when near to 50% of the membership and MPs are clearly still following the new labour mantra. For the unions that means keeping our foot on the gas and the dialogue open. We can’t afford to be too trusting too soon.

Anna Rose