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

Monday, 13 May 2013

The Boy Who Cried Wolf & Union Bogeymen

Twice disgraced former Labour Cabinet Minister Peter Mandelson used this weekend’s Progress conference to create false alarm about union influence in Labour Parliamentary and MEP candidate selection.

Anyone associated with Labour candidate selections will be well aware of the need for unions to improve co-ordination and unity to ensure a more representative Parliamentary Labour Party. Mandelson's pre-emptive strike is a back handed compliment to the fact that unions have woken up to this reality and improved the operation of the TULO organisation in candidate selection. However seeing is believing and a slick Progress machine continues to be one step ahead in selection processes using the patronage of its existing network of Labour MPs and party officials to maximum effect. Sadly a minority of affiliated unions continue to be locked into ‘master and servant’ transactional politics with career politicians rather than support preferred TULO candidates.

In 2008 Mandelson was rehabilitated when a desperate Gordon Brown surrendered the running of his Government to him (Mandelson was a member of 35 of 43 Cabinet committees and subcommittees). Ed Miliband would do well to learn the lessons of Brown's catastrophic error of judgement and disregard Mandleson's siren voice if Labour is to win back its millions of lost voters.