Ed Miliband’s private discussions with Labour Party affiliated unions at the TUC were one sided to say the least.
The Labour Party wants union members to join the Labour Party as individuals at a special rate which will still mean individual trade unionists will have to pay union subs and an additional Labour Party sub. He wants such members to be active in recruiting and building the Labour Party. He wants them to assist in turning out the vote at election time. He still wants unions to affliate to the Labour Party and give it donations. No doubt he will want them to keep quiet about his cuts and anti worker and anti union actions and laws when in power.
And what does he anticipate giving in return? Legislation against some aspects of zero hours contracts, a repeal of the bedroom tax, some social housing building, no devolution of Scotland. He certainly will not give in on the main planks of the neoliberal agenda, handcuffed trade unions, no access to justice for workers and those on low incomes, a retention of anti union laws, wage restraint, lowering the deficit by further public sector cuts, membership of the EU and NATO, no return to full employment, no public ownership of key utilities and natural resources, no rail nationalisation, no promise to renationalise a privatised Royal Mail or NHS.
In other words Miliband’s attempt to ditch the collective voice within his own party is an essential pre requisite of the political objectives he is signed up to pursuing on behalf of the banks and neoliberals. While there was a flicker of anti new Labour and anti neoliberalism at one stage in Ed Miliband’s eye, he has certainly been dulled now into a loyal servant of the Establishment and yet another Labour leader opposed to the unions and all that they represent – democracy, working people, a sovereign nation.
Whether the Labour Party unions will dance to this more severe tune and go for meltdown within the Labour Party is another matter. Whatever the decision, the working class landscape has fundamentally changed and all because one union, Unite wanted to get a worker accepted as a parliamentary candidate.