Falkirk: The Wrong Battle
I think it was Lenin who said that the communist party should always be with the trade unions, because that is where the workers are.
Similarly, that is where the Labour Party should be. One of the many difficulties here is that there are many Labour voters who are not in trade unions. How many? I do not know. But the sharp decline in union membership from nearly 14 thousand members in 1979, to less than half that today, is another way of looking at this difficulty.
Put differently, should the Labour Party be looking for non unionised workers support; or even just for adult citizens? With low party membership the Party should look everywhere for its support and votes.
The problem then becomes where to put the parties time and resources at election time. Under Blair the party looked everywhere, but not especially at unions. So, to win in 2015 the current party should redress this past practice. But how?
A fraternal relationship with unions is essential. Allowing the Falkirk incident to escalate is dangerous. The police are now involved. There may be charges against individuals. The responsibility of the party is to tighten up detailed rules; but in con junction with all the unions. Then, just possibly, the party might again be where the unions are.
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