Donald Macintyre is off target when he suggests that "The unions should realise - this isn't an attack"
Donald Macintyre: Independant
Miliband seems to have forgotten, or is conveniently ignoring, what many other Labour party leaders since Clement Attlee, have also ignored.
The relationship between the Labour Party and the TUC, and the wider Trade Union movement, is an historic one dating back to 1900. It should be a relationship where the Parliamentary Labour Party, (the MP's) should have as its primary objective the representation and well being of working people in this country. The same objective in fact as the TUC. In this context, “working people” is used in its wider definition, to include employed and unemployed, the disabled, the sick, benefit claimants in fact the whole spectrum of society.
Over recent decades and certainly since the days of Blair, the “relationship” has become one where the Parliamentary Labour party are more closely associated with business interests and the “establishment” rather than their traditional base in the workplace. This is the main reason why thousands of people, myself included, have left the Labour Party over recent years and why there is now this contrived “struggle” between the party leadership and its union affiliates. The Labour Party no longer represents “working people” in this country and any attempt to highlight this fact is immediately seized upon by the press and media as union militancy or left wing extremism or some other emotive term, designed to scaremonger the public into believing that “the Unions” are trying to hold the country to ransom and are blackmailing the Labour party.
The evidence of the growing rift between the Labour party and its traditional base is compelling, particularly since the last election. All the current ConDem coalition legislation attacking working people, pensioners, disabled, unemployed etc, seem set to remain in place should a Labour government emerge from the next election. We have even seen Liam Byrne Labour's opposite number to Ian Duncan Smith instructing Labour MP's to abstain on a vote in Parliament pushing through legislation to allow the compulsion of unemployed people to work for nothing. The anti trade union legislation remains on the statute books and has effectively castrated the TUC and affiliated unions to the extent where working people have no real representation in the workplace. There has been nothing about the current Labour leadership or the actions of the shadow ministers to suggest to me that anything has changed.
Like a married couple who have been arguing and bickering for many years, the TUC and the Labour party should recognise that they have come to the end of the road and that the best option for both parties would be a swift and preferably amicable divorce. I have been arguing for some time that the TUC should end the relationship with Labour and field its own candidates at elections under a manifesto which represents working people and social structure rather than the finance and business interests which now are the main areas of concern of the Labour party.