Tuesday, June 10, 2008

GMB's Paul Kenny: Cutting Local CLP Funding



Not all affected MPs will be as sanguine as Dr Stephen Ladyman MP who says he doesn't give a hoot OWTTE that the GMB are giving the impression of playing hard ball with so-called "sponsored MPs":

"It won't matter a jot to me. I think this is just political posturing by Paul Kenny [the GMB's general secretary]. Anyway, I have already got separate funding from Usdaw [the shopworkers' union] which I am much happier with.
"The last cash donation from the GMB was in 2001, although they did spend £3,000 providing a telephone bank for marginal seats in 2005 which helped me."

They've announced six MPs who happen to be members of the government as their first tranche of cuts but according to David Hencke's coverage some of them stand to lose next to nothing, as little as £90 a year; while one, in the Labour-Lib Dem marginal of City of Durham, has a constituency party that has been getting an average of £2000 a year from the Union since 2001.

Even this is not really the end of the world. The GMB are currently looking a bit tight with their support. The likes of Unite and Usdaw have arrangements with some constituencies that are several times more generous.

And that's an important point. As Luke Akehurst has pointed out the truth is that these arrangements are now with constituencies not Ministers, bag carriers or back benchers. Local parties and their activists trying to build the union link with GMB branches, encouraging direct membership, encouraging activism. These are NOT deals with MPs.

But the real problem I've got with the new zeal for holding random people to union policy is that I have certain contrary impressions of their own behaviour:

1. Some of the unions wade in and back candidates for shortlist as PPCs that are NOT the closest to their policy base or class interests; and
2. The Unions' own representatives on the NEC DO NOT vote or speak according to their organisations' policy;
3. The same goes for National Policy Forums.

There are reasons for all these apparent phenomena that I could speculate on. But dis-investing in local parties whose MPs happen to be bound by collective responsibility seems just a tad hypocritical in these circumstances.

DECLARING AN INTEREST: Lord Kenny's crew came to the rescue when I turned up for conference in Brighton one year with no room booked. They bought the beer all night too. No fear and favour, see?

CAPTION: Top, Paul Kenny. Right, Dr Ladyman with Louise Cole of Commercial Motor magazine having been dragged away from lapping in a 40 ton rig. He also enjoyed a very successful spin round the Top Gear track. And he's been talking sense about the solution to Brown's woes too.

4 comments:

Miller 2.0 said...

"But the real problem I've got with the new zeal for holding random people to union policy is that I have certain contrary impressions of their own behaviour:

1. Some of the unions wade in and back candidates for shortlist as PPCs that are NOT the closest to their policy base or class interests; and
2. The Unions' own representatives on the NEC DO NOT vote or speak according to their organisations' policy;
3. The same goes for National Policy Forums."

Indeed... but why?

Chris Paul said...

Why don't they themselves vote with their policy? And expect Ministers to do so? Isn't that the $64,000 question?!

Clue: As they're not going to get last minute (i.e. not AWS) safe seats after all and as the Lords will be gone v. soon we may expect this behaviour to change from all the Brother Barons. Also v. soon.

Paul said...

Ive heard that GMB are on the verge of bankrupcy - I hope they dont come begging to join UNITE,

Chris Paul said...

They're not flush. But they're fine. And UNITE would bite their hands off. Though not sure the leading 3 or 4 officers would be featured in the new SMT.