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

Friday, 12 October 2012

Viewing the Labour Union link through a distorted prism

Tribune reports that former Cabinet Minister Ben Bradshaw MP told a Progress rally at the Labour Party Conference that unions are “zombies” – a splenetic response to pressure from affiliated union leaders for a clean break from the New Labour era: http://www.tribunemagazine.co.uk/2012/10/blairite-rump-will-resist-eds-rebranding/

The Economist magazine followed up the Manchester Punch & Judy Show with a categorisation of Labour attitudes to unions – sentimentalists, critics, ignorers and corporatists – with Bradshaw and his fellow Blairites being in the critics camp – an Economist euphemism for those who want to break the link:

This superficial analysis views the Labour Union link through the distorted prism of career politicians and national unions – set piece speeches by both sides, sabre rattling newspaper articles, including in the Murdoch press, and the perennial tug-of-war (on, off but always back on) over union donations to Labour etc.

At local level in the Labour Party, you will rarely come across attitudes to unions such as Bradshaw’s or any of the nonsensical Economist groups and it is here where the link must prove its worth if it is to endure - it requires greater engagement by trade unionists at local level in the Labour Party, holding office both in the party and local political structures. Not for sentimentalist or corporatist reasons but to build support for socialist policies and to advance the cause of workers.