The union link
Luckily most people don't read the Times now it is behind a paywall.
For those of us who have had a look today there's some very disturbing stuff from people who should know better attacking the union link and by extension attempting to undermine the recent leadership election result.
The Times having hated unions ever since their own battles with the printers, they are delighted to print this stuff.
Apparently it would be more democratic to disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of political levy paying union members and deny them a vote in Labour leadership contests, opine the various ex-Ministers quoted.
One even says that the unions are "increasingly an irrelevant structure in British society anyway".
I find this deeply distasteful. Actually I find it offensive. There are echoes of some of the bitter anti-union talk that was doing the rounds at Annual Conference, which on probing turned out to be rooted in a contempt not just for the union role in the Party but for their industrial role defending workers against employers.
Right at the moment we should be deepening and strengthening the relationship with the unions not weakening it or severing it. All the progressive forces in British society need to be building a united campaign against the cuts. Instead we have Labour MPs (who ought to pause for a minute and think about how the Party they are in got its name, which organisations founded it, and who funded our election campaign this May) badmouthing our own affiliates.
Yet again we are in danger of elements of the losing side in a leadership contest trying to refight the contest or question its legitimacy. We know where that takes us, we've been there twice before.
We also know where severing the union link would take us. There was an experiment in running a social democratic party without any links with the unions in the 1980s. Devoid of any voice for working people's priorities, and wholly dependent on the kind of London dinner tables that feature in the Times article for its political thinking, it went on a journey which has ended with the perverse spectacle of former Labour men like Vince Cable, Chris Huhne and Tom McNally holding ministerial office in a reactionary Coalition government under a Tory Prime Minister.
My advice to the people floating a "liquidate the party structures" approach is that they should either shut up or put up a series of rule changes and see how much support they get for them. The fact that many of them practice what they preach by having minimal engagement with the grubby minutiae of day-to-day running of the Party, such as turning up to local meetings and engaging with ordinary members, might prove an obstacle to advancing their model.
Alternatively I guess we could leave the dinner party and Westminster cocktail circuit set to continue talking to each other and Murdoch press journos, and just ignore them.