X

Create an account to continue reading.

Registered readers have access to our blogs and a limited number of magazine articles
For unlimited access to The Spectator, subscribe below

Registered readers have access to our blogs and a limited number of magazine articles

Sign in to continue

Already have an account?

What's my subscriber number?

Subscribe now from £1 a week

Online

Unlimited access to The Spectator including the full archive from 1828

Print

Weekly delivery of the magazine

App

Phone & tablet edition of the magazine

Spectator Club

Subscriber-only offers, events and discounts
 
View subscription offers

Already a subscriber?

or

Subscribe now for unlimited access

ALL FROM JUST £1 A WEEK

View subscription offers

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating an account – Your subscriber number was not recognised though. To link your subscription visit the My Account page

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

X

Login

Don't have an account? Sign up
X

Subscription expired

Your subscription has expired. Please go to My Account to renew it or view subscription offers.

X

Forgot Password

Please check your email

If the email address you entered is associated with a web account on our system, you will receive an email from us with instructions for resetting your password.

If you don't receive this email, please check your junk mail folder.

X

It's time to subscribe.

You've read all your free Spectator magazine articles for this month.

Subscribe now for unlimited access – from just £1 a week

You've read all your free Spectator magazine articles for this month.

Subscribe now for unlimited access

Online

Unlimited access to The Spectator including the full archive from 1828

Print

Weekly delivery of the magazine

App

Phone & tablet edition of the magazine

Spectator Club

Subscriber-only offers, events and discounts
X

Sign up

What's my subscriber number? Already have an account?

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating an account – Your subscriber number was not recognised though. To link your subscription visit the My Account page

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

X

Your subscriber number is the 8 digit number printed above your name on the address sheet sent with your magazine each week.

Entering your subscriber number will enable full access to all magazine articles on the site.

If you cannot find your subscriber number then please contact us on customerhelp@subscriptions.co.uk or call 0330 333 0050.

You can create an account in the meantime and link your subscription at a later time. Simply visit the My Account page, enter your subscriber number in the relevant field and click 'submit changes'.

Please note: Previously subscribers used a 'WebID' to log into the website. Your subscriber number is not the same as the WebID. Please ensure you use the subscriber number when you link your subscription.

Blogs

Was the glory of the labour movement just a crazy dream?

16 September 2011

8:05 AM

16 September 2011

8:05 AM

Watching the footage of the debates at the TUC this week can’t have been a happy
experience for anyone on the left. I understand the leadership’s decision to hold an “austerity Congress”. I can also understand why the unions want to take the argument on
cuts and pensions to the government. It is their job to protect the interests of their members using tactics up to and including the withdrawal of labour.

The trouble is that the scaled-down version of the once-mighty Trades Union Congress just didn’t feel grand enough, heroic enough or scary  enough, despite the apocalyptic tabloid
headlines. The threat of a mass walkout in November and allusions to 1926 just drew attention to the pint-sized nature of the event. Somehow I don’t feel the pictures of Len McCluskey voting
for strike action sitting in a plastic chair in what looked like a school gym will have sent a chill though the bones of the ruling class. A snigger perhaps.

[Alt-Text]


Ed Milband’s staged confrontation with the TUC and his scripted response to the TV cameras outside just added to the impression that everybody involved was just playing at being grown-ups.
This impression was compounded by the international debate and the absurd motion 71 (Peace in the Middle East/South Asia) proposed by Andrew Murray, chair of Stop the War and “chief of
staff” at Unite. It is worth reading it in full:

“Congress notes that the “war on terror” is still continuing and has failed, after ten years, to bring the promised peace and stability to either the Middle East or the
wider world. Congress believes it is time Britain disengaged from this conflict and in particular urges the rapid withdrawal of British forces from Afghanistan.


The occupation there has brought devastation to the country, cost the lives of thousands of civilians and hundreds of British soldiers and destabilised nuclear-armed Pakistan. The future of
Afghanistan can only be determined through talks between the parties in the country itself.


Congress believes the attack against Libya has been misjudged and, while holding no brief for the Gadaffi (sic) regime, believes military action should be halted immediately and that
international efforts should be focused on securing a peaceful political settlement to the conflict. Since there can be no peace in the region without justice for the Palestinians, Congress
endorses the call for the recognition of the State of Palestine and urges the British government to take all actions appropriate to help achieve this objective.


Congress calls for immediate, unconditional negotiations between the Israeli government and the representatives of the Palestinian people to secure peace.


Congress reaffirms policy adopted in 2010, particularly the instruction to the General Council “to work closely with the Palestine Solidarity Campaign to actively encourage affiliates,
employers and pension funds to disinvest from, and boycott the goods of, companies who profit from illegal settlements, the Occupation and the construction of the Wall.”

So the TUC now officially opposes the UK intervention in Libya and has adopted a policy which links the removal of Gaddafi to the war in Afghanistan and the Israel/Palestine conflict.  This is
an intellectual and policy black hole that creates a conspiratorial mush from the Maghreb to the Khyber Pass.

Subscribe to The Spectator today for a quality of argument not found in any other publication. Get more Spectator for less – just £12 for 12 issues.


Show comments
Close