The Trade Union Backing of Ed Miliband Was Completely Democratic

There is something very wearisome about that most cynical of all political parties, the Lib Dems; but I was nevertheless surprised by the brass neck of Stephen Tall on Liberal Democrat Voice falsely claiming that union support for Ed Miliband was by a block vote.

 He said:

It’s official. Ed Miliband has just been announced Labour’s new leader by the narrowest of margins, 50.4% to brother David’s 49.6%. But what’s most fascinating is to see the final breakdown of votes after the re-distribution of preference votes:

  • Among party membersDavid Miliband won 54% to 46%;
  • Among MPs/MEPsDavid Miliband won 53% to 47%;
  • Among trade unionsEd Miliband won 60% to 40%.

So that narrowest of wins is down to the trade unions delivering their bloc vote to Ed.

 Block voting is a system where organisations cast a single vote, proportionate to their membership. So under a block voting system, if the leadership of UNITE cast 1 million votes, and the leadership of GMB cast 555000 votes, UNITE would always win.

Now there are occasions where the block voting system is defensible, but despite the dishonest claims of Stephen Tall, the block vote was not used in the Labour leadership election. Every single member of an affiliated trade union who chooses to pay the political levy, and every single member of an affiliated socialist society got their own personal and private vote.

In fact 2,747,030 ballot papers were sent out. So the insinuation from the Liberal Democrats that the trade union vote was cooked up by a handful of barons in a smoke filled room is dishonest. Extending the leadership ballot to members of affiliated organisations that share the same values as the Labour Party is a massive widening of participatory democracy, not its perversion.

127,331 individual members of the Labour Party voted and 247,339 trade unionists voted, giving a total of 374, 670 votes cast. (I have excluded MPs and MEPs from these totals).

The total first preference vote cast for David Miliband among trade unionists and CLP members combined was 114,094

The total first preference vote cast for Ed Miliband among trade unionists and CLP members combined was 125,625

So if all votes had equal weight, Ed Milband would have had a clear first preference majority on the first round. This is despite the media bias in favour of David, including the Daily Mirror promoting him heavily.

Incidentally, there are a few other things of interest about the trade union votes: firstly that the only large union supporting David Miliband, USDAW, had a very low turnout, despite a major campaign to get their vote out; secondly there were 36105 “spoilt ballots” in the trade union section, this is where members will have accidentally omitted to check the box saying they are eligible to vote (basically that they are not members of a political party opposed to labour); and thirdly that in every union the largest vote went to the candidate that the union was recommending.

This last point is worth looking at in more detail. the recommendations were based upon democratic decision making processes in each union. For example in GMB all candidates attended hustings at annual congress, and then the lay member CEC, which has itself been elected by the GMB membership, voted to support Ed Miliband, and make that recommendation to the members. This was therefore a democratic process. However, in most unions more than half the members voted for different first preference choices against the advice of their union (the exceptions being UCATT and USDAW); this proves that the trade union members’ votes were not in any ones pocket.

The endorsement of Ed Miliband  by the trade unions was democratic, and involved the active choices of 87,585 individual members of trade unions who voted for him as their first preference

108 comments on “The Trade Union Backing of Ed Miliband Was Completely Democratic

  1. You’re right it wasn’t an official block vote, but unite’s voting form told its members to vote for Ed Miliband, so it was nothing like the voting form for Labour members. Unite’s voters are not necessarility in the Labour party either. I do find that problematic, just as it was problematic when open primaries saw Obama beating Hillary despite her winning the majority of Democrats. I favour a one member one vote system – political parties should be allowed to choose their own leaders.

    Btw, if you are a member of the Labour party and unite, did two get two votes?

  2. Solomon Hughes on said:

    The right wing are going to try this “Ed only won because of Trade Union votes” quite hard – when in fact Ed won with Trade Unionists votes, which is quite a different thing. As if individual members of Trade Unionist should not be allowed to vote for some reason, or their opinions should not be counted.

  3. Solomon Hughes on said:

    - a bit garbled, I mean of course “as if individual members of trade unions should not be allowed to vote”

  4. #1 Ed D

    The very fact that you have to ask such questions shows that you have no real understanding of how the party works, for all your Blairite zeal.

    The Labour Party is a federal party, and has always had the participation of affiliated trade unions, who provide an enormous reservoir of active support for the Labour Party, based upon shared values.

    If you don’t sahre the values of the tradeunion movement, perhaps you are not really at home in the Labour Party yourself?

  5. But many in the trade union movement don’t share the values of Labour members and voters. This is why it should be the case that only union members who are Labour members themselves should get the vote. Otherwise you could end up with a situation where a leader loses with MPs and members, but wins by the unions.

    Now, can you inform me if unite members who were also Labour members had more than one vote?

  6. Ashcroft tried to buy the General election
    funding Tories
    no doubt Tax Payers Alliance
    and millions in marginals

    but thats ok according the right wing press

  7. #7, why would anyone be a member of 2 trade unions?
    It costs enough being a member of one.
    Your post proving that you are a troll absolutely hostile to the Labour and trade union movement.

  8. @8

    You mean they could have three votes? Blimey, this is worse than I thought.

    I’m not hostile to the trade union movement. I just think you should be a member of a political party if you want to elect their leader, and that every member has one vote. That’s generally how democracy works. Otherwise it causes problems for the party. Today is not as great a celebration as it could have been because of the way the vote is done, which is a shame.

  9. jim mclean on said:

    Ed D, if you exist, for fucks sake, the branch secretary wasn’t standing over their shoulders, I don’t support Labour anymore, its been a long time, but here is an instance where party members and trade unionists voluntarily paying a part of their subscription to Labour have chosen the Leader, can you tell me WHY MPS are allowed three or four votes, they have a vote as party member, they have a vote, an inflated vote, as an MP and as one of the few groups that do have multiple membership of trade unions, they have their TU vote. You are not happy in the way that the working class voted, I am not happy in the way that they voted, but it was a free and democratic call, live with it.

  10. Graham Day on said:

    Re #1 I’m a Unite member, and my “voting form” said nothing of the kind. So, you start with a blatant lie.

    Unite is an affiliate of the Labour Party – an affiliate that pays most of the bills – so I don’t see why Unite members should be denied their say, as Ed D suggests.

  11. #9, you don’t understand the Labour Party then, which was pretty obvious from way back.
    Anyone agitating against the result from the point of view of ‘it was the unions what done it’ is hostile to socialism and should be told to fuk off.

  12. Ed D, if you exist, for fucks sake, the branch secretary wasn’t standing over their shoulders, I don’t support Labour anymore, its been a long time,

    So you’re not a Labour member and you voted in the election? Interesting, thanks. This is what I’m talking about.

  13. 11.Re #1 I’m a Unite member, and my “voting form” said nothing of the kind. So, you start with a blatant lie.

    The voting form was accompanied by pro- Ed Miliband propaganda with a message from unite. There is no doubt about that.

    Unite is an affiliate of the Labour Party – an affiliate that pays most of the bills – so I don’t see why Unite members should be denied their say, as Ed D suggests.

    Why? If members want to join the Labour party then that’s great, but you shouldn’t get to vote in somebody else’s election if you’re not a member of the party. Imagine if all donors were treated like that?

  14. you don’t understand the Labour Party then, which was pretty obvious from way back.

    Are you a member of the Labour party?

    Anyone agitating against the result from the point of view of ‘it was the unions what done it’ is hostile to socialism and should be told to fuk off.

    Why?

  15. Graham Day on said:

    Ed D, do you know anything about the Labour Party, it’s history, and it’s fucking rulebook?

    It doesn’t look like it.

  16. Oh sweet jeezus, Ed D discovers that trade unions are affiliated to the Labour Party. Did you do Modern Studies at school?

    No I do understand this. My point is only Labour party members should get to vote in their own election because that produces the candidate that the party wants and leads to less problems. I’m also keen on one member, one vote.

  17. 17.Ed D, do you know anything about the Labour Party, it’s history, and it’s fucking rulebook?

    It doesn’t look like it.

    I wasn’t sure if union members were allowed more than one vote if they were also a member, no, but I was suspicious. Given that no one has denied it I can only presume it’s true.

    Are you in favour of people having more than one vote in an election?

    Personally I’m against this.

  18. 19.Ed D go and join the libdems/tory party ,i think you will feel more at home

    As far as I can work out, I’m the only person here who is actually a member of the Labour party.

  19. steelcityred on said:

    you migth be rigth on that one but it becouse of ppl like you, is the reason why we not members of the Labour party.

  20. Graham Day on said:

    Re#20, so as I suspected, you don’t know the Labour Party rulebook.

    I don’t believe you’re a member of the Labour Party, therefore your opinions on our election processes are irrelevant.

    Please piss off back to Harry’s Place…

  21. I don’t believe you’re a member of the Labour Party, therefore your opinions on our election processes are irrelevant.

    Damn it, I hate it when I get trolled by cheeky monkeys.

    I do basically know the rules. I am disagreeing with those rules, as indeed many have in the past and will also be doing so today. Andy Burnham was speaking out against them just the other day.

    What makes you think that some Respect entryists who have been campaigning against Labour for years, and a bunch of people who are not even in the party but get to vote in the leadership election, know more than me?

  22. jim mclean on said:

    ED, the point of this thread WAS THERE A BLOCK VOTE, we are not talking about those who pay a political levy being allowed one vote, we are talking about a claim that the TU’s used a block vote. This claim is wrong, agree or disagree.

  23. 31.am still waiting Ed D so to help you along the “Working class “are?

    I answered above. You need to ask the people who voted for Ed Miliband why he uses terms like middle class. I don’t really see class myself. I work in what could be considered a working class job, but these days most of my colleagues are middle class eastern Europeans. But that’s a seperate matter.

  24. 33.“entryists”like them who turn the Labour party into the shower of shit called New Labour.

    Did you see Neil Kinnock on the ‘Miliband of brothers’ last night using descriptive terms about the left of the Labour party? Funny and true.

  25. steelcityred on said:

    come on Ed D you just playing at beening working class and now a you are a internationalist ,boy i take my hat of for you sir

  26. steelcityred on said:

    “Milband of brothers ” is a piss take of the labour party of the last 15 years so i think it a joke on ppl like you.

  27. Ed D – “one member one vote” is a good old democratic principle. “No taxation without representation” is another good old democratic principle. Should the Labour Party, in your opinion, sever its ties with the trade unions and become a purely membership party, reliant on subscriptions and donations for its funding? Or do you think that political levy-paying trade unionists should continue to finance the party, systematically and regularly, but have no input into its decision-making? And if so – why on earth do you think they would want to do that?

  28. Francis,

    finally a sensible comment.

    What they can get out of it is wonderful things like the Warrick agreement and other policy areas to their liking. But they really have no business electing the leader. That’s party business.

  29. Ed D: “But many in the trade union movement don’t share the values of Labour members and voters. This is why it should be the case that only union members who are Labour members themselves should get the vote.”

    I can forsee two problems with this.

    Firstly, Labour is going to be in even worse financial straits without the funding it gets from the trade unions – it has no Lord Ashcroft.

    Secondly, the membership has dwindled under Blair and Brown to the point where it is dominated by a small rump of people who were happy with New Labour. If it was left up to those members to choose the leader, the party would just keep on dwindling.

    On both scores, it’s a recipe for the death of the Labour Party.

  30. Despite spending more time at HP than here (which means I am clearly very evil) I have also been annoyed by the misrepresentation of the way union votes work in coverage of the leadership vote. I think in some cases people actually don’t know that block votes have been abolished, but some of these people are professional political journalists and *ought* to know – and if they do know then they are being misleading. Obviously if people want to raise issues about the fact that people can in a sense ‘vote twice’ (at least that is my understanding, although your vote as an LP member counts for less than as a union member I believe) that’s fine, although I don’t personally find it terribly sinister and it would be quite complicated to ensure that union member x couldn’t vote in that capacity because s/he was also a LP member.

  31. # 46
    “But they really have no business electing the leader. That’s party business.”

    Ed D (who he/she?) takes the current Labour Party voting procedure (embodied in the current constitution) as the revealed word. But this constitution is merely the latest stage in a long process whereby the political party created by the trade unions to secure representation for the working class has been transformed into a political machine for limiting working class participation in politics.

    There was a time when one became a member of the Labour Party by virtue of membership of a trade union or an affiliated socialist society.

    Individual membership was introduced and enabled middle class sympathizers an opportunity to affiliate themselves as individuals in circumstances where they had no basic class organization to which they could belong.

    Until just a few years ago individual applicants to Labour Party membership had to demonstrate that they were either a member of their trade union or were not eligible to join one. Otherwise they risked have their membership application rejected.

    The real democratic deficit in Labour’s machinery lies in the unequal value of votes. Labour MPs and MEPs have one third of the votes. If Labour were reduced to half a dozen MPs they would still have that proportion. By the same undemocratic weighting system the bigger Labour’s individual membership the less value is attached to each vote in the constituency section.

    And trade union members who pay the political levy have the most devalued vote.

    A sensible system that would enfranchise many more Labour loyalists would be for every vote to be equal. One MPs vote should equal one trade unionist vote and for those marginalized middle class types who have no affiliated union to represent their class interest a vote could be cast in the constituency section.

  32. Red Bandits on said:

    USDAW really is a HORRIBLE mess of a union
    No wonder USDAW members have always been amongst the worse paid and with worse conditions
    Right wing business Unionism run by a cabal of USDAW officials
    for the officials against the members
    Lets hope that some democracy spreads like disinfectant into USDAW

  33. Lawrence Shaw on said:

    Ed D – without union money, the Labour party would have been bankrupt prior to the general election, leaving you reliant on chasing bent millionaires for money like Blair did.

    I think it’s only fair that the people that pay that money to keep the show going have a bit of a say over how it is spent.

  34. Ed D doesn’t just think that Labour needs to out-tory the tories. In Oldham he defends a similar tactic in relation to the BNP- see the threads on Woolas.
    Ed D the fact that people like you are pissed off with this result makes me just that little bit happier with it. Knobhead.

  35. “the unions got the Warrick agreement”

    Did we

    very small demands, like ending to the two tier workforce

    but despite the promises it was never fully implemented that was the problem

  36. titch mitch on said:

    ed m got just under 30,000 more trade union votes than david m
    can someone tell me the total votes each candidate had from each part of the college-in absolute terms not percentage terms

  37. Yes, Titch.

    First Round:
    Ed M – 84 MPs; 37,980 members; 87,585 affiliated
    David M – 111 MPs; 55,905 members; 58,189 affiliated
    Abbot – 7 MPs; 9,314 members; 25,938 affiliated
    Balls – 40 MPs; 12,831 members; 21,618 affiliated
    Burnham – 24 MPs; 10,844 members; 17,904 affiliated

    Final Round:
    Ed M – 122 MPs; 55,992 members; 119,405 affiliated
    David M – 140 MPs; 66,814 members; 80,266 affiliated

    So, the final round totals:
    Ed M – 175,519 (54.4%)
    David M – 147,220 (45.6%)

    It has occured to me that, had just six MPs voted for David M instead of Ed M, then David M would have won despite Ed M winning a clear majority of all votes cast. Really, the weighting distorts Labour’s leadership horrendously.

  38. Another result for the trade unionists

    Wow. You really see the power of the union instructions when some no name beats a well known person like Prescrott in the lower down elections.

    It will be interesting to see how this pans out in the coming weeks. Whether it will all die away or there will be some lasting blow back from Labour MPs and members who surely will resent not having control of their own party.

  39. Yes, but well known for being a joke.

    How else would you explain why individual trade union members – thats ordinary hard working people if you prefer that sort of terminology – would prefer someone most of us have never heard of?

    #62 Prescott owes his political profile to the trade union movement, so its entirely appropriate to see him getting his come uppance this way.

    I am guessing you are maybe a bit young and not really much aware of what the Labour Party is built on, but thats hardly your fault really as the gulf between Labour and working people has grown so much over the last 13 years or so.

    Think about that, its the party thats out of step with the people with real jobs, not the other way around.

  40. Diana Holland is one of the longest-serving members of the NEC ever and was Chair of the party about 5 years ago. Personally, I (as a rank and file member) voted for Prescott – he’s a funny guy, I like him – but if Ed’s dismissal of Holland as a “no name” is typical of my fellow paying members, it tells us a lot about what’s wrong with the current membership.

    Meanwhile, the influx of new and (I suspect mostly) returning members under Ed M, has already begun. Will beer and sandwiches once more replace cheese and wine as the favoured refreshments at CLP meetings?

  41. Also, Ed D, the “lasting blow back from Labour MPs and members who surely will resent not having control of their own party” is what delivered us the party in its current shaper – the current membership and PLP are people who quite happily lived with having no control of our own party under Blair. The issue is whether Ed M’s leadership will see a return of all those members who left because of a lack of internal democracy and leadership accountability – I believe it will.

  42. onlyoneteaminessex on said:

    ” The issue is whether Ed M’s leadership will see a return of all those members who left because of a lack of internal democracy and leadership accountability – I believe it will.”

    I’ve just heard on the news that people are joining at the astounding rate of one per minute since Ed’s election. I don’t know how many are those renewing, but I’m one now that I know that it’s not David M as leader.

  43. jim mclean on said:

    Still a step too much to rejoin, the Labour Party must take collective responsibility for the actions in relation to the illegal wars and unethical foreign policy in relation to the enterprises they have participated . Just as members of the Ba’ath Socialists were prosecuted by the US and Britain for the actions of Saddam, Labour must at least apologise for the actions of the Labour Government when they were in power.

  44. There will be no apology for Iraq that’s not how the Establishment does things. At least Ed Miliband isn’t tainted by it since he wasn’t in Parliament when it voted for war. We don’t know whether he’d have been enough of a tool to vote for the war had he been present.

  45. Anonymous on said:

    Trade unionists have saved the Labour party from itself.

    Throughout the different electoral colleges of the party, the votes of trade unionists have ensured that Ed Miliband is party leader, Ken Livingstone is the London mayoral candidate, and a solid trade union official rather than Lord Prescott is the party treasurer.

    By definition the trade-union vote was democratic:

    Firstly in the ‘one member one vote’ form of the vote, where trade union members were actually under-represented by the disproportionate power given to the relatively fewer numbers of individual members and especially MPs.

    More importantly it was democratic because the trade unions represent the interest of working people as the overwhelming majority of our society.

    These elections have reaffirmed the legitimate and integral role of trade unionism within the Labour party and left-leaning politics in the UK generally. It is the largest direct participation of working people in politics since the general election, and probably far more important given it concerns the institutions of the working class.

  46. Yes I see this as the trade unions’ revenge on New Labour.

    However both the right wing press and the Blairites will claim the fact Ed Miliband was dependent on the trade union vote to win somehow makes him less legitimate. There’s a danger that he will be pressured to move to the right so as to prove he’s not “in the unions’ pocket”

    If “Red Ed” does take a mildly social democratic position rather than a neoliberal one I wouldn’t put it past the Blairites to brief their mates in the media against their own party leader. Look how loyal they were to Gordon Brown.

  47. Look how loyal they were to Gordon Brown.

    You’ve said that a couple of times. What does it mean? They were incredibly loyal to Gordon Brown given how disloyal he was to Blair.

    Remember the most poisnous spin came from Brown’s spin doctors.

  48. Lawrence,

    yes I agree that the unions have a right to express their view and seek to do deals with the party leadership. But I do not think they should have a greater say than ordinary party members who also pay a levy to the Labour party. Nobody should have more than one vote and no voting forms should be accompanied with instructions on who to vote for. That’s not democratic.

    The voting system is badly in need of reform.

  49. Ed, they did not have a greater say than ordinary party members. In fact, given the electoral college weighting and the turnouts, they had much less of a say.

    By my reckoning in Excel, every vote cast by an affiliated member counted for 0.5 votes overall. This compared to every vote cast by a rank-and-file member counting for 0.9 votes overall, and every vote cast by an MP/MEP for 424 votes overall.

    So, the votes of ordinary members counted almost twice as much as the votes of affiliated members. And MPs had a much, much greater say than either. Of course, this merely reflects the level of turnout in the member and affiliate sections; if more of them had voted, each would have had much less of a say.

    That really isn’t democratic and is in desperate need of reform.

  50. But union members who were Labour member had two votes. Plus the union members were told who to vote for, whereas no Labour party member were instructed in this fashion with papers accompanying their voting cards. That’s what I mean by the unions having a greater say. But I agree the system needs reforming across the board. In future it must be one Labour member, one vote, and no gerry mandering instructions.

  51. But Labour members who were union members had two votes. And MPs who were union members had two votes (and almost all MPs are members of unions, whereas very few members of unions are MPs). The multiple vote thing is a bit of a scandal and needs to be dealt with – but, like the formation of the electoral college, it helped David Miliband more than it hindered him.

    I can understand the concern about unions sending out an effective endorsement with the voting ballots (whether it was for Ed or for David – and some unions sent one for David). But presmably you would have no objection if they sent that endorsement out seperately – as my local MP sent out a flyer endorsing David Miliband.

    Anyway, I think we are at the point where we all agree the process for electing a leader is utterly ridiculous and must be reformed, and if it was constructed properly it would have delivered a much larger and more obvious majority for Ed Miliband.

  52. #75

    “Plus the union members were told who to vote for, whereas no Labour party member were instructed in this fashion with papers accompanying their voting cards. “

    no one was instructed, the recommendation of the union was communicated, a recommendation which had itself been democrarically decided by the appropriate structures in each union, based upon debate and consideration.

    If unions were not allowed to do this, then should there also be a ban on mass circulation newspapers seeking to influence the result?

  53. Lawrence Shaw on said:

    Sorry EdD, but without the union money funding the structures there [i]would be no labour party [/i] for you to be getting so worked up about.

    Pesonally, I thought it was more of a disgrace that Brown was never even elected Labour leader – it was a conspiracy by the MPs to stop a debate, and was more in line with a Papal selection than any sort of democratic election. Now we have had an open debate and wide-ranging election and because you don’t like the result, you are picking holes in it.

    By going on and on like a broken record about the very few people who had two votes through being a labour member and a union member and who actually bothered to use them both, you are playing nicely into the hands of the Tory media and trying to rubbish Eds election and are putting the Labour party on course for another defeat. You should be more concerned about the disconnected millions of affiliated voters who DIDN’T vote in the Labour election – turnout in some unions was less than 10 per cent, but they are the very voters you need to re-engage with for Labour to win again…

  54. boilermaker on said:

    I agree that the electoral college needs reforming. MPs need to have their enhanced voting rights removed – they already have the sole rights to nomination.

    Let’s start with 50/50 CLPs and TUs.

  55. boilermaker on said:

    #81

    Agreed. Party units should be able to nominate, not just supporting nominate.

    Maybe the unions could put a rule change to this effect to next year’s Conference.

  56. Andy, the fact that a well known figure like John Prescott lost against a no-name for party treasurer shows you the power of the union instructions. It clearly had more effect than the spamming letters sent from all the candidate during the campaign. Their union branch leaders were clearly telling the shop floor exactly what to do.

    if it was constructed properly it would have delivered a much larger and more obvious majority for Ed Miliband.

    That seems very unlikey to me.

  57. Lawrence Shaw on said:

    “Their union branch leaders were clearly telling the shop floor exactly what to do.”

    What planet are you on EdD? Do you have a job? If so, have you ever actually been in a union? Do you understand how unions actually work?

    You seem to subscribe to this “Carry-on” style notion that workers are incapable of thinking for themselves and simply do as they are told by their union “bosses” without question. Do you not think it is possible they may have formed their own opinions in the campaign?

    I can tell you as a trade union full-timer with nearly 10 years experience that we have very little actual influence over the way people think. And workplace reps have enough trouble trying to represent their members, let alone get involved in any sort of union election.

    I suggest John Prescott lost because he is widely seen as a embarrassment across the movement, having happily gone into the Lords to bow and scrape to the aristocrats without so much as a thought. Did you that in spite of the fact his trade union put him where he is – educating him and ensuring his selection as an MP, a few years down the line because he didn’t like something Bob Crow did, so Prescott he tore up his union membership? I suspect many trade union voters remember this shameful act of disloyalty. It is possible they voted for Diana Holland to spite him, not because some mythical union bully was standing over tens of thousands them, presumably all in their own homes, ensuring the ballot paper was filled out correctly.

    Then again, that wouldn’t fit in with your suspiciously Tory critique and understanding of what trade unions do.

  58. “the fact that a well known figure like John Prescott lost against a no-name for party treasurer shows you the power of the union instructions. It clearly had more effect than the spamming letters sent from all the candidate during the campaign. Their union branch leaders were clearly telling the shop floor exactly what to do.” ~ Ed D

    You mean that ordinary shop floor workers valued the advice of their elected representatives above “spamming letters” (your words) sent out by an out-of-touch Z-list celebrity has-been associated with the ancien regime?

    What an outrageous perversion of democracy! The “no-namer” should be condemned for striking a chord with the concerns of ordinary workers’, and they in turn should have their voting rights cancelled for voting the wrong way.

    Very Kissingeresque. To paraphrase the old war criminal: “I don’t see why we need to stand by and watch a party go communist due to the irresponsibility of its own people”

  59. [but don't worry Ed D, contrary to Tory press speculation the Labour Party isn't going red anytime soon, with or without John Prescott's fingers in the till]

  60. What planet are you on EdD? Do you have a job? If so, have you ever actually been in a union? Do you understand how unions actually work?

    My employer doesn’t recognise unions.

    You seem to subscribe to this “Carry-on” style notion that workers are incapable of thinking for themselves and simply do as they are told by their union “bosses” without question. Do you not think it is possible they may have formed their own opinions in the campaign?

    Given how heavily this sector voted for Ed, and the Prescott result – whatever you think of him, he is well known – I doubt Ed would have won if not for their heavy handed endorsment.

  61. “heavy handed endorsment”!?

    What on god’s earth are you implying here? Mafia-style threats? Ballot rigging?

    It was a secret ballot and voters could choose to take on board or reject all trade union endorsments, spam emails, and comments on blogs.

    Your celebrity candidate lost to a nobody despite his huge advantage, and your response is to blame the victor for running an effective campaign and connecting with the voters! You couldn’t make this shit up.

  62. Lawrence Shaw on said:

    #87 – Ed – as a Labour supporter you’ll no doubt be aware of the statutory rights to trade union recognition brought in under New Labour, which encourage employers to reach voluntary recognition deals with trade unions, and if they do not, then unions can apply to have recognition enforced legally PROVIDED a majority of workers support it.

    I have lots of experience in this field, so if you want any help getting a union going on your workplace I would be happy to help, along with many others on this board.

    Also it is well worth being in a trade union for the individual protection, you may not be aware that regardless of your employers attitude, you can be accompanied and represented by a trained union rep in any grievance or disciplinary hearing you may have at work.

    Feel free to tap me up at nujmanchester@nuj.org.uk if you want some advice. Don’t forget unionised workers get up to 8% more pay on average than their non-union counterparts, and also the companies that are unionised are proven to be more profitable and productive as staff are happier and there is less turnover – so its a win win all round.

    Best

    Lawrence

  63. That’s a kind offer, Lawrence, and I hope Ed D takes you up on it. It’s possible that his ignorance results from lack of contact with trade unions, so all he knows is media misrepresentations rather than the positive role they play in the workplace.

  64. boilermaker on said:

    While we’re on the subject of rule changes, let’s bring back the requirement that you have to be a member of a trade union to join the Labour Party.

  65. Guys with all this talk about union backing, we haven’t even addressed wthe preference issue, where the first loser wins the vote rather than the person with the most first choices.

    On first preferences D Miliband would have had an overwhelming victory.

  66. #95

    Ed D’s fantasy world:

    On first preferences D Miliband would have had an overwhelming victory.

    The reality:

    The total first preference vote cast for David Miliband among trade unionists and CLP members combined was 114,094

    The total first preference vote cast for Ed Miliband among trade unionists and CLP members combined was 125,625

    There are two issues here.

    YOu have to win any campaign withing th rules of the actual contest you are competeing in. Ed Miliband ran a better campaign to win the electoral college than his brother. David relied overmuch on the MP/MEP section, and blew the TU section.

    Secondly, to be sucessfuol as an electoral party, any party needs engage a wider layer of people that identify with its core values, and reach out beyond the party membership. The broad progresive vales of Labour are consistent with the values of solidarity, fairness and equality of the trade union movement; so it is entirely beneficial to actively encourage participation with people who identify with the Labour party but are not individual members. that makes Ed MIliband’s mandate stronger not weaker.

  67. #95 Well no, on ‘first preferences’ no one won, because no one got a majority, and a plurality doesn’t tell us anything because people allotted their first preferences knowing in many cases their main candidate was unlikely to win, and what really mattered was whether David or Ed Miliband came first in their listing.

    For instance, if it’d been FPTP, people wouldn’t have ‘risked’ supporting, say, Diane Abbott, and would have used hard-headed logic about which of the Milibands they wanted as leader.

    And when it came down to it, and people were asked to make that choice through the preference system, both an absolute majority of voters in the election, and a majority of the electoral college, voted for Ed Miliband.

    So you’re talking complete rubbish.

  68. Andy,

    I meant amongst party members. I think the party will view it as Ed having less of a mandate to change the party given lots of those votes came from outside, but you’re entitled to your view.

    But whatever the outcome of the vote system, I prefer a system where it’s one member, one vote, and that one vote means for one candidate only. Otherwise you get lots of tactical voting, like the union support for whoever could beat DM which was not a positive vote for Ed, there is sentimental voting for unpopular candidates like Abbot, and the winner is the least worst option rather than most people’s best option.

  69. For instance, if it’d been FPTP, people wouldn’t have ‘risked’ supporting, say, Diane Abbott,

    Precisely. She would have received no votes at all if it wasn’t for this system where people can play around with their votes.

  70. boilermaker on said:

    OK Ed, you’ve admitted you don’t have the first idea of what you’re on about but here’s quite a simple question.

    Currently trade unions provide the vast majority of Labour’s funding. The party could not pay its bills at the end of the month without our money.

    What makes you think affiliated union members will want to continue writing the cheques if they don’t exert any influence at all in exchange for them?

  71. Lawrence Shaw on said:

    #100 – the awkward and awful truth that everyone wishes would go away :)

    Worth restating the mass of paying party membership collapsed under Blairs leadership and the party became reliant on millionaires to keep operating. Then when they decided to back Ca-moron and the Tories, the only people that would bankroll labour were the unions Blair was so keen to bash.

    Watching Labour members and MPs attack unions then come begging for cash to pay for organisers and facilities is a bit like watching a teenager tell their parents to “f@ck off and die” before asking for their pocket money. Pathetic.

  72. Well this is becoming rather circular. Of course unions should be able to express their view and seek to do deals with the leadership on working rights. I think that relationsip has been very productive and has helped working people. That’s how they got great deals like the Warrick agreement a few years back. Nobody is saying they should have no influence. But I’m saying they just shouldn’t have extra votes and non-Labour votes in these elections, that’s all.

    Given the last meaningful leadership election was in 1994, it’s not as though this right is something that is on the top of the agenda most of the time. I’m sure if this was reformed the powerful relationship could continue.

  73. boilermaker on said:

    You haven’t answered the question.

    If you remove the trade unions’ current rights which they have (as integral units of the Labour Party), do you think they will continue to fund the party?

    Clue: the answer begins with ‘N’.

  74. It’s not all or nothing. The unions have a great relationship with the Democrats in the US, but it’s slightly more balanced in favour of party democracy. That’s all I’m saying.

    Anyway, I have some jobs to do.

  75. “On first preferences D Miliband would have had an overwhelming victory.” ~ Ed D

    There has never been such an election in the world history of elections (you can’t have a first preference without a second and third etc), so your premise is nonsensical. It would be like stopping a 1500 metres race after one lap and saying to the guy who happens to be in front at that point, “Congratulations mate, you won!”.

    What you meant, presumerably, is that had the election had been held under a first-past-the-post system, David Miliband would have won a landslide. Which is equally nonsensical because candidates campaign, and people vote, on the basis of the actual elecion system as it is, not on an imaginary one.

    On the current system, a voter might for example vote 1. Abbot. 2 Ed Balls 3. Ed Miliband, because he knows that if/when Abbot and Balls are elimated, his vote for Ed M still gets counted. But in a FPTP system, the very same voter may well cast his one and only vote for Ed Miliband, even though Ed M is not his ‘first choice’ because he wants to stop David M and doesn’t want to waste his vote on Abbot or Ed B.

    Try to have a think before you post next time because it’s beginning to look like you’re very stupid, or just trolling.

  76. boilermaker on said:

    #104

    I know when you hold up the US Democrats as a model of internal democracy you must be chuckling to yourself but we’ll call that an over-exuberant rhetorical flourish as I’m sure you didn’t mean it.

    It is no accident that the political scene in the USA is to the right of the UK.

    Meanwhile you still didn’t answer the question. What makes you think unions would willingly give up some/most of the influence they currently have and continue funding the party? Just because someone on the internet says “waaaaah it’s not fair”?