Monday, May 21, 2007

Whatever happened to the awkward squad?

What staggering hypocrisy. Woodley and Simpson have managed to get both wings of 'Unite' to support Gordon Brown, having opposed support for John McDonnel, in the Labour leadership contest. For Amicus it is "a pleasure" to announce its political committee's decision to support Brown, and their choice for Deputy, of John Cruddas.

The TGWU section of 'Unite' it is "proud" to have nominated Brown ( a deision taken by the General Executive Committee) and says it will give him "our full support as Prime Minister in working to tackle social inequality" and, of course, fighting for that all important fourth general election victory!

One again this stalwarts of what was once described as "the awkward squad" are facing both ways at once. Why? Is it lack of courage? Is it stupidity? Simpson says they are supporting Cruddas because he is calling for a change of direction". The joint press release says that Unite wants to see "a move ttowards an agenda which suoorts working people" yet supports a man who wants to press on with public sector "reforms" and the essentials of New Labour's neo-liberal programme.

It says it want to see "a halt to private sector involvement in public services" and NHS cuts, so the blindingly obvious thing to do was support the author of the government's privatisation programme!

It is difficult to see this as anything other than opportunism on the part of Woodley and Simpson. Perhaps they think by supporting Brown they can gain some influence over him. But to union members who are facing the consequences of the government's programme it will look like Turkeys voting for Christmas. In taking such a position they have once again placed the interests of the link with Labour above the interests of their members, and they have let off the hook all those union sponsored MPs who lined up to support Brown.

Interviewed on Radio 4 on their support for Brown, Woodley managed to avoid answering the question about the lack of evidence of any change of direction by him. The Trade Union leaders are going to plead with 'Gordon', of course, more in hope than expectation. The consequence of that will be that he treats them with the contempt that they deserve.


AN said...

I dunno martin, as we discussed earlier on the ohone, i just don't see this as significant.

They were aleays going to support Brown, or at least abstain, and they didn't publicly back him until he was the only candidate!

I think psycologically they feel they are buying space to argue for a change of direction at a cheap price.

Jim Denham said...

The T&G's decision to support Brown at least makes sense from a trade union view-point: to keep on terms with Brown, so that the members' interests can be pursued, etc...what *does'nt* make any sense is backing Cruddas (though, I'm tols, that was only done by the T&G Exec, to prevent a vote in favour of hain...)

grimupnorth said...

Well, whatever faith I had in the awkward squad has now gone entirely. "We don't do coronations in the Labour Party." Derek Simpson, Labour Party Conference 2006.
"Comrade, I will do everything I can to give you oxygen."
Tony Woodley to John McDonnell, Labour Conference 2006.
Thanks, boys.

cbmilne33 said...

Thursday/24 May/2007.Sender:Colin Bruce Milne.Te Awamutu.Waikato.3800.New Zealand.Dear Comrades/Citizens,When are these Trade Union Leader idiots going to only support the politicians of the Political Wing of the Labour Movement who began their careers as rank-and-file Delegates/Shop Stewards and Officers of the Industrial Wing of the Labour Movement?Yours Fraternally,C.Bruce Milne.C.B.Milne.