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Thu Jul 4, 2013, 09:53 AM

MP Tom Watson resigns from shadow cabinet role as general election coordinator



Tom Watson has resigned from his shadow cabinet role as general election co-ordinator, he said on his blog today.

The move follows a continuing row over the party's Falkirk selection process.

The MP said he was stepping aside to safeguard "the unity of the party", and called for an internal report into the controversy to be published.

In a letter to Ed Miliband published on his blog Mr Watson wrote that: "Iíve thought about it and still feel it is better for you and the future unity of the party that I go now."

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/breaking-mp-tom-watson-resigns-from-shadow-cabinet-role-as-general-election-coordinator-8688356.html

18 replies, 6007 views

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Reply MP Tom Watson resigns from shadow cabinet role as general election coordinator (Original post)
dipsydoodle Jul 2013 OP
Anarcho-Socialist Jul 2013 #1
pacalo Jul 2013 #2
non sociopath skin Jul 2013 #3
muriel_volestrangler Jul 2013 #4
non sociopath skin Jul 2013 #5
muriel_volestrangler Jul 2013 #7
Anarcho-Socialist Jul 2013 #8
muriel_volestrangler Jul 2013 #18
fedsron2us Jul 2013 #9
T_i_B Jul 2013 #6
fedsron2us Jul 2013 #10
LeftishBrit Jul 2013 #11
fedsron2us Jul 2013 #12
LeftishBrit Jul 2013 #13
non sociopath skin Jul 2013 #14
Anarcho-Socialist Jul 2013 #15
T_i_B Jul 2013 #16
LeftishBrit Jul 2013 #17

Response to dipsydoodle (Original post)

Thu Jul 4, 2013, 06:37 PM

1. The scandal

...of union members joining the Labour Party to elect union members to stand as MPs to represent working class people in Parliament.

I know it was why the Labour Party was founded.

But it's a scandal because the right-wing press said it is.

The mistake these UNITE members made was not being born in a well-to-do family to be supported as an unpaid intern for an MP, which leads to a job as a political researcher, which leads to a job as a special adviser and then being selected as a candidate to be parachuted into an ultra-safe Labour seat.

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Response to Anarcho-Socialist (Reply #1)

Thu Jul 4, 2013, 10:33 PM

2. That was helpful -- thanks.

Does this resignation mean that we won't be seeing Tom Watson much any more? I really liked how he stood up to Murdoch & Co.

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Response to Anarcho-Socialist (Reply #1)

Fri Jul 5, 2013, 03:58 AM

3. And it's shameful to recruit members of your union into your political party to support you ...

... though not, presumably, the members of your university dining club or your fellow board members.

The Skin

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Response to Anarcho-Socialist (Reply #1)

Fri Jul 5, 2013, 04:57 AM

4. I can't find what the problem was meant to be

The union members were all from Falkirk - they weren't bringing in people from outside. Neither can I see any implication that they would then join another branch of Labour to vote in different selection processes. So it really comes down to a union saying "join Labour - have a say in politics in your town". As you say, the original reason for the Labour party. I see the scheme for the first year's membership to be paid by the union was introduced under Blair - and yet this is a Miliband problem?

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Response to muriel_volestrangler (Reply #4)

Fri Jul 5, 2013, 05:48 AM

5. A more cynical man that I might think ...

... this a devious ploy to divert attention from the ConDems' continuing woes.

But fortunately, I trust the even-handedness of our wonderful media completely.



The Skin

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Response to non sociopath skin (Reply #5)

Fri Jul 5, 2013, 07:48 AM

7. I now hear that the accusation is some people were signed up without telling them

which does seem a potential problem.

Labour to refer Falkirk selection row to police

The Labour Party is to refer a report into allegations of irregularities in the selection of an election candidate in Falkirk to the police.

Labour leader Ed Miliband has said an internal inquiry into events show people were being signed up to the party without their knowledge.
...
He said the party's inquiry had shown "people were being signed up as members of the Labour Party without their knowledge, it says that bad practices were going on, it says people were being asked to sign up to the Labour Party on the condition that they supported particular candidates. We are not having this in the Labour Party."
...
But in a letter to Labour's general secretary, Mr McCluskey said the union had "nothing whatsoever to do" with the alleged attempt to sign 100 or more members to the constituency party without their knowledge.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-23192888

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Response to muriel_volestrangler (Reply #7)

Fri Jul 5, 2013, 10:47 AM

8. It would be so - if it turns out to be true

I'm interested to hear of someone/anyone who is willing stand up and say that they were signed up without their knowledge.

My cynical side suggests that the allegations will continue until Labour HQ stitches up the selection, then the allegations are dropped shortly after due to an absence of evidence.

Maybe I'll be shown wrong here but I'd be incredibly surprised if UNITE were stupid enough to try and sign people up without their knowledge.

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Response to Anarcho-Socialist (Reply #8)

Thu Jul 25, 2013, 06:20 AM

18. Police rule out Falkirk vote rigging inquiry

Police Scotland has concluded that there is "insufficient" evidence to launch a criminal investigation.

Unite has called for two activists who were suspended over the allegations to be reinstated by the Labour Party immediately.

Labour said it would now pursue disciplinary action "as a matter of urgency".
...
But a police spokesman told the BBC: "Following a comprehensive review of all material submitted, Police Scotland has concluded there are insufficient grounds to support a criminal investigation at this time. However, should further information come to light this will be looked into."

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-23447279

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Response to non sociopath skin (Reply #5)

Fri Jul 5, 2013, 04:13 PM

9. The crushing irony is that one of the reasons so many of the Tory faithful have decamped to UKIP

is because Tory central office have been parachuting in 'preferred' candidates on local constituency parties against the wishes of local activists.

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Response to dipsydoodle (Original post)

Fri Jul 5, 2013, 06:31 AM

6. The thing for me here.....

....is I look at the Unions, the Blairites, the media kerfuffle and I wonder what possible incentive there is for anyone with good intentions to join the Labour party.

It's very difficult, if not impossible to see what good can be achieved by joining any political party right now, unless your a hooray henry with lots of senior connections and more money then sense.

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Response to T_i_B (Reply #6)

Fri Jul 5, 2013, 07:10 PM

10. You do not have to be a member of the Labour party to belong to a union

and not all Unions are affiliated to the Labour party.

I seem to recall that even a certain Norman Tebbit was once a BALPA shop steward





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Response to fedsron2us (Reply #10)

Sat Jul 6, 2013, 11:32 AM

11. I would guess that even with the sadly successful Thatcherite war against unions...

far more people belong to a union than to any political party.

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Response to LeftishBrit (Reply #11)

Sat Jul 6, 2013, 04:28 PM

12. There are something in the region of 6.5 million Union members in the UK

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/32191/11-p77-trade-union-membership-2010.pdf

Numbers are far lower than in the 1960s and 1970s but they still represent nearly 29% of all workers.

By contrast the major political parties have withered to virtually nothing. For example the Conservative Party which once numbered nearly 3 million now has only about 150,000 members. The Labour party has shrunk from 1 million down to 193,000 members. The Liberal Democrats have about 49,000 members.

http://www.parliament.uk/briefing-papers/SN05125

Twice as many people belong to trade unions as buy Rupert Murdochs papers the Sun and the Times, and Unite alone has far more members than the Daily Telegraph has readers

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_newspapers_in_the_United_Kingdom_by_circulation
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unite_the_Union

The truth is that the Trade Unions are not a dead weight holding back the Labour Party. It is the other way round.

BTW as a life long Union activist I am not saying everything in the Union movement is roses at present Too many union bosses are remote from their members, turnouts in union elections are appallingly low and some TU officials spend far too much time on advancing personal political agendas than in fighting to defend their members jobs, terms and conditions. That said they are still far more representative of ordinary working people than any other set of institutions in the UK.

The irony of party politicians and media hacks whose own houses are tumbling down around their ears calling Unions outdated should not be lost on people

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Response to fedsron2us (Reply #12)

Sat Jul 6, 2013, 04:44 PM

13. Agree on all this

Last edited Mon Jul 8, 2013, 06:32 AM - Edit history (1)

Most unions have plenty of faults, no doubt; but belonging to a union definitely beats not belonging to a union!

And I agree that there is a great deal of hypocrisy in politicians and media hacks, criticizing unions for self-interest, cronyism and being out of touch, when they have all these tendencies in far greater measure.

ETA: I had not realized that union membership was now as low as 29%. That's worrying in itself.


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Response to fedsron2us (Reply #12)

Sat Jul 6, 2013, 05:54 PM

14. Well said, Feds

The Skin

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Response to fedsron2us (Reply #12)

Sun Jul 7, 2013, 06:24 PM

15. Great post, thanks n/t

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Response to fedsron2us (Reply #10)

Tue Jul 9, 2013, 06:44 AM

16. The problems go deeper then the relationship between Labour & Unions

I can't help but think that Ed Miliband would do well to make supporting Labour more attractive in the first place rather then phaffing about with the trade union link.

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Response to T_i_B (Reply #16)

Tue Jul 9, 2013, 08:29 AM

17. I think it goes even beyond the attractiveness of Labour or any particular party...

Part of the problem is that a large number of policymakers, politicians, journalists, and sadly, as a result of all this, members of the public, have swallowed the idea that the public sector is inferior to the private sector at best, totally unnecessary at worst. There has always been a bit of this, especially perhaps as regards education where Private is often automatically seen as Better, but it's become much worse in recent years.

What is needed is people prepared to support the public sector robustly; to take the attitude that the provision of public services is a Good Thing, and that if there are problem with public services, they should be corrected and improved, not de-funded or privatized.

Even in the Labour Party, at least the New part of it, there is a tendency to be somewhat ashamed of the public sector, and to treat it as a weakness, rather than one of our country's great strengths. (And of course such an attitude inevitably means that the public sector will not work as well, thus leading to a self-fulfilling prophecy). New Labour too often act as though the public sector is a necessary evil, while the Tories act as though it were an unnecessary evil.

Personally, even if I had no ideological leanings in that direction, my experiences have convinced me that private organizations, e.g. banks and businesses, are often more confused, inefficient, and generally of worse value than even indifferent public services. I am the proud denizen of one of the worst county councils in the country IMO; nevertheless, the well-reputed firms that I've dealt with have generally been no better than county services, and the average ones have generally been worse.

Which leads back into another of the current problems. There is a popular attitude, both in the public and the private sectors, that the problem with most organizations is 'overmanning'; that there are loads of people being paid just to sit on their bums and drink tea; and that reducing staff as much as possible will make services more 'efficient'. Maybe overmanning was a problem in some areas in the past; I don't know. But nowadays it's just the opposite. Most organizations are understaffed, which may cut immediate costs, but makes them much LESS efficient for the consumer- and no, computers can never quite compensate

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