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Should one union be so influential?
As everybody knows it was the heavy voting for Ed Miliband in the “associates” third of Labour’s electoral college that won the leadership for Ed Miliband.
But a close look at the detailed results shows that it was the three unions that endorsed him, particularly UNITE, which made all the difference. For of all the first preferences that were cast for the new leader in this section well over half were by members of the latter.
The voting pattern amongst the non-EdM backing organisations was broadly in line with other parts of Labour’s electorate. It was UNITE, the GMB and UNISON that did it.
They were helped enormously by the fact that turnout in this segment was very low and the general theory of low turnout elections is that the best organised campaigns prosper – and so it was.
For according to the FT’s Jim Packard the unions behind Ed “got round” a Labour ban on unions sending promotional material in the ballot paper package by using two envelopes.
The outer one had leaflets supporting the younger Miliband – the inner one the ballot papers. The result can be seen above.