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So Labour is bankrolled by the Unions…er what’s the news? And who cares?

Tom Winnifrith
Sunday 7 July 2013

Am I missing something from afar? I read that the Unite Union gives Labour vast amounts of money and now stands accused of trying to rig selection meetings in safe seats so that crony candidates who believe in thinks like workers’ rights and all those terribly passé concepts of the 1970s get picked. Heck so what is the news?

We always knew that Labour was bankrolled by the Trades Unions. It must have been a bit galling for the Unions to pony up only to see a bunch of Middle Class privileged young men ignore a vast amount of what they were promised. And so the Unions now want to ensure that MPs they bankroll can be relied upon to do the right thing. I.e. the wrong thing.

It is almost amusing to see Ed Milliband reporting his biggest backer to the Old Bill. But these are squabbles among the political classes.  During the past thirty years Union membership has fallen off a cliff – outside the public sector they are pretty irrelevant. Political party membership and voter turnout has fallen off a cliff too.

I spotted the other day a CV of a contemporary of mine from Oxford. Apparently he joined Labour at 15 because he was so appalled by the wicked Tories etc., etc. Nothing to do with the fact that his Dad was a Labour minister. His career since University has been political wonk (7 years), Union worker and employee of three crackpot Labour councils. His good Mrs., who he met at Oxford, was the daughter of a Union official and Labour local Government stalwart and now wants to be an MP. Both are clearly very middle class Oxford folk. Earnest in their intent if dull as ditchwater. Yet they pretend to be “part of the Union.”

And that is how the Unions are run, by nice middle class fools with no real world experience spending time between University and Westminster. At the top of the Union there will be some working class dinosaur who is paid an arm and a leg to spout the nonsense written for him by nice Middle class kids as they pass through from policy researcher at New Labour to policy coordinator at Hackney Council to MP for some grim Northern shit hole. And it is becoming semi-hereditary.

I cannot say that the Tories are much better although they have different paymasters. But it is all the same self-serving political class lobbying each other and earning a packet, totally alienated from us poor sods who pay their wages and actually work in the real world, earning an honest crust. So do I really care about Ed Miliband’s squabbles with Unite? I don’t give a damn. Will the outcome change my life? Not in the slightest.

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About Tom Winnifrith
Tom Winnifrith is the editor of When he is not harvesting olives in Greece, he is (planning to) raise goats in Wales.
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