And can Ed stop them?
— Neil Henderson (@hendopolis) September 4, 2013
In the past week, whilst it has felt that there’s nothing happening in British politics other than Syria, yesterday saw a story that may have a crucial impact on the 2015 general election.
The news was
The 65-strong GMB executive announced on Wednesday that it would cut the number of its members affiliated to Labour from 420,000 to 50,000 next January, slashing the amount of affiliation funds that would be paid to the party in 2014 from Â£1.2m to Â£150,000.
The move is in protest at Miliband’s announcement, in the wake of the row over union involvement in the selection of a Labour candidate in Falkirk, that three million trade union members who pay the political levy would be personally asked if they wished to affiliate with the Labour party. Under current rules, trade union executives decide how many of their political fundpayers are affiliated.
Whilst the situation isn’t as bad as the Mirror front page implies and there are a few misconceptionsÂ about theÂ actualitÃ©Â of how much the unions give to Labour, Labour would rather have this money than not.
If Labour are forced into reviewing their spending, between now and the election, if it comes down to prioritising money, it is a no brainer, that resources should be focussed upon the 2015 General election, rather than say the 2014 Euros.
I’m sure oppositions view winning the European elections in the same way John Nance Garner viewed the American Vice-Presidency, “it is not worth a bucket of warm piss”
Were Labour to cut spending on the European elections, the betting implications is that the Â Tories could finish first, they are currently 9/2 to win the Euros.
Though does Ed Miliband want to join Neil Kinnock as the only opposition leaders not to win the European Elections not held in a General Election year, and bring forward all the negative headlines that he’s just not doing well enough as Leader of the Opposition?
Mark Ferguson has doubts about Ed’s approach (and the financial implications if other unions follow GMB’s lead)Â over at Labourlist concludes with this
Iâ€™m unconvinced that thereâ€™s the desire amongst trade unionists to become Labour Party members â€“ nevermind the funds and the organisational capacity to run that kind of recruitment drive â€“ for that approach to be successful.
Labour will most likely be forced to do far more, with much less, against a well resourced Tory Party machine.
â€œThis (GMB’s decision) will make it harder for us to win the election. If thatâ€™s what they want, fine. But ultimately itâ€™s a matter between the GMB and the leader they picked.â€
Ed is due Â to make a speech at the TUC next week,I wonder how he will respond, and how will the unions react. Â A few sources have all made the following observationÂ “And senior party figures believe it is now â€œinevitableâ€ the partyâ€™s largest donor Unite will follow suit.”
Tom Watson,Â who resigned over the fall out over this subject, wrote yesterday,Â Over the next year we have been asked to consider a change to the constitution of the Labour party, though no detailed proposals have been revealed. Iâ€™m not opposed to reform but I will fight very hard to retain the fundamental link between the party and Labour movement.
I wonder if Ed regrets his handling of the Falkirk situation, he still has time before the special conference to get the GMB to reverse their decision and to stop other unions following suit.
Who would have thought the night Eric Joyce decided to punch and headbutt a few ToriesÂ could have such an impact on the outcome of the 2015 General Election.