The Falkirk Selection dispute has been bubbling under for months now. It exploded onto the national scene last week when the Labour leadership suspended the candiditure of Karie Murphy, who was allegedly UNITE the Union’s chosen candidate, together with the constituency Chairman (sic). I am unclear as to whether they have decided that the NEC should play a role in the selection, and it is clear that neither the NEC nor the Orgsub have met, nor to my knowledge has the National Constitutional Committee. Tom Watson has also resigned as Deputy Chairman and Election Co-Ordinator. The usual suspects within and outside the Labour Party are attacking the Union links.
However Owen Jones speaks for me in his article, “This attack on labour’s union links must not succeed”. He has, it would seem, seen the internal report which documents the alleged payment of membership fees for people that don’t want to join by unnamed supporters of Murphy and Unite, together with alleged payment by Gregor Poynton, Murphy’s chief opponent of the membership fees for another 13 members. Poyton’s action if true is against the Labour Party’s rules.
The bulk of Jones article locates the animus in the right wing of the Labour Party, he says,
An unholy alliance of politically ambitious über-Blairite Shadow Cabinet members, Tory politicians and outriders and a large swathe of the press are conspiring to sever Labour’s trade union link. It is not just an attempt to drive Britain’s biggest democratic movement out of political life. It would dissolve what the Labour party is – the clue is in the name – ending what connection with working people it still has, leaving it a rootless party, a mere plaything of vacuous careerists and apparatchiks.
It is a sad truth that there are those in the highest echelons of the Labour Party who want to extinguish what limited political voice working people still have. They would wreck a party they owe everything to for their own crude personal ambitions.
He’s not wrong.
Ed Miliband will be making a speech later today in which it seems he plans to announce the end of “contracting out”.