Coffee House

Miliband has to win the fight that he’s started

8 September 2013

4:51 PM

8 September 2013

4:51 PM

When Ed Miliband was booed at the TUC in 2011, there was quiet delight among many of his closest aides. They thought that this jeering would help put some distance between Miliband and the unions and show that he wasn’t their puppet despite the role they had played in his election.

But this year, the booing that Miliband is expected to receive will matter far more. Miliband is now engaged in a defining struggle with the union machine over his party reforms. As I say in the Mail on Sunday today, if he doesn’t get them through, then he’ll be a busted flush as a leader.

[Alt-Text]


Unite being cleared by the Labour party of wrongdoing over the Falkirk selection shows just how much of a fight Ed Miliband has on his hand. Falkirk was Miliband’s justification for changing the relationship between Labour and the unions. So if Unite have done nothing wrong in Falkirk, then—at first glance—it appears that Miliband has blundered into a confrontation based on false information. But the truth is more complex than that. One of the reasons that Unite has been cleared is that, rather alarmingly, evidence has been ‘withdrawn’. The whole process makes the case for Miliband’s reforms.

The unions are not going to give in without a fight. Dave Prentis of Unison has been out today rubbishing Miliband’s calls for a special conference to push these reforms through. The GMB has already cut how much it gives Labour and, in a slap to Miliband, made clear that it isn’t going to try and get its members to sign up to Labour directly.

There are now only 21 months until the next election. The last thing Miliband wants is to fighting his party reform battle right up until polling day. But it looks like this is what the unions are going to force him to do. This is a real problem for Miliband as, having staked his political reputation on this fight, he can’t back down.

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
  • Greenslime

    Surely the problem is that the Unions still live in some Dickensian dystopia where all bosses are enemies by default (no such thing as a good one). Despite the evidence of the last 150 years that collectivism doesn’t work, these people are welded to the dogma of the cause rather than the cause itself. Moderate behaviour and conciliation (except when it goes their way) offends them. Being reasonable, in the true sense of the word, has no place in their world.

    Negotiation for the unions means, “do it our way, or else!”. Everything is about confrontation, smashing, beating, abolish, ban, etc. That is their lexicon. It is NEVER (in a positive sense), allow, facilitate, create, etc. The mindset is tribal. It is all about vested interests and about winning and losing they will never move away from where they are now.

    In a lot of ways, the unions are not a million miles away from the mindset of the terrorist. Insinuate, subvert, takeover, use. Their thought is NEVER, “hang on a second, the other side might be right”.

    Milliband will either be their poodle or their sacrificial lamb. And I suspect that he will have no control over which it is.

    • Tom M

      Music music, I wish I had written that first.

  • Mynydd

    Mr Cameron is trying to distance the Conservative party from its major donators by cutting the higher rate of tax from 50% to 45%. This is the same logic used by the anti-union/Miliband comments posted. A Union leader yesterday said the relationship between the Unions and the Labour party must updated this is 2013 not 1913.

  • Fergus Pickering

    Good news for all of us rabid right wingers, what! Go, go the Unions. Crush him beneath your chariot wheels.

  • Abhay

    It is nonsense of the sheer nature. It’s getting undue publicity The only reason there is residual interest in this issue is that the media still reports on it.

    The Unions are not what they were. They are public sector bodies, feeding on the remains of the working class movement of the last century. Labour isn’t Labour. It is a party of the metropolitan bourgeois, regardless of what a votary may claim.

    Any sparring b/w the Unions and Labour will be chimerical. Nobody need pay attention.

  • http://owsblog.blogspot.com Span Ows

    Is it in a wet paper bag? If not he hasn’t a hope.

  • realfish

    Do you really think that there’s a genuine fight going on here? Or is this akin to the sort of phony wrestling bouts so beloved of Kent Walton?

    I couldn’t help notice that BBC News was leading on this story this morning, and the almost synthetic way they were describing Miliband’s stand in heroic terms.

    No doubt he will become the victor in his forthcoming battle of Stalingrad and quite the people’s hero. And the blue coq will be replaced by a victorious red Gromit on the fourth plinth to mark his ‘victory’ over the unions.

    All very Soviet, this. His dad would be so proud.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Andrew-Paul-Shakespeare/715581221 Andrew Paul Shakespeare

      I’m not sure that the general public will really care all that much. All they’ll see is Labour having a massive, bloody civil war in the run-up to the next election. The Tories will be out there talking about the EU, education or welfare reform, and Labour will be out slagging off their own over something about unions, which are an irrelevance to the overwhelming majority of the population.

      • telemachus

        Not a civil war but a divorce from those whose agenda has moved from the original purpose of the movement

        • Abhay

          Both have moved from their original purpose. They are metropolitan bourgeois vehicles. Stop pretending.

          • telemachus

            The current party represents a movement to bring fairness and equality to the mass of the people
            James Kier Hardie led a party with just such aims

            • Abhay

              See my post at the top of the section.

            • telemackus

              Labour no more represents the mass of the people than you do. They represent the welfare spongers and immigrants.

        • Greenslime

          What a dinosaur approach. The world has moved on.

      • Abhay

        It is not even a genuine civil war. There are no major principles involved. It is tawdry stuff. Both parties are shadows of what they were and its shadows in engaging in shadow boxing. The electorate already know instinctively.

  • Barakzai

    Of course, the Ballses, Burnham, Dromeys, et al will be standing shoulder-to- shoulder with their esteemed leader on this matter, it’s the loyal thing to do. They won’t be talking privately with the union panjandrums. Will they? And will there be ‘helpful’ advice from Mr Watson or Bananaman in the Big Apple? Watching this space will be entertaining . . .

  • David Lindsay

    Since the introduction of opting out, there have been eight Conservative Prime Ministers. Eight. None of them has changed the law to require opting in, even though that would always have bankrupted the Labour Party overnight. Something about it just cannot be done. I do not know what that something is. But it obviously exists.

    It is time to drop the changes proposed earlier this year. Living standards are in freefall. The world, although mercifully not Britain, is on the brink of rather worse than that. Who cares how Labour parliamentary candidates are selected?

    The levy being strictly optional (the pro-Cameron media lie through your Blairite teeth on that point, as you do when you still talk about “block votes”), all levy-payers and other affiliated members should be declared individual members of the Labour Party, and that would be that.

    Declaring levy-payers to be individual members would be little more than a semantic change, and would merely constitute a move from a less efficient to a more efficient means of the doing the same thing. A thing which already happens, anyway.

    You only pay the levy is you choose to. Anyone who says otherwise is either lying or cannot read a basic form. There is no conceivable reason to pay the levy unless you are already a Labour supporter. By paying it, you already even get a vote in Leadership Elections. You are a Labour Party member. Entirely by choice. You ought to be classified as one. Problem solved.

    • telemackus

      Sophistric bollocks.

      • David Lindsay

        Only one of those is a word.

        Now, any chance of some coverage of how the Conservative Party derives a third of its income from the members of 15 families?

        • telemackus

          If you can make up the rubbish that you post here I can create an adjective from the sophistry you employ.

          • David Lindsay

            “Sophistry” already has an adjective.

            • telemackus

              And an egregious adherent in you. Like many greater men before me, I reserve the right to use a word that makes sense to others, if not to a complete numpty like you. You are quite laughable in your onanistic zeal to spray your meaningless cod-intellectual student socialist crap around and deserve pity, not attention. There are more like you in guardianland and I suggest you will find more solace in your fantasies there. I believe you should be post-adolescent to post here so bog off to leftyworld and take my namesake and that awful guevera fellow with you.

              • David Lindsay

                You people really do know that you have lost for at least a generation as soon as the next General Election comes along, which is now only a year and a half away. It is huge fun to watch.

                • telemackus

                  Here’s a bet. If labour win I will stop posting, and if they lose (which they most certainly will), you must leave.

                • David Lindsay

                  I never bet. I just follow the bookies. If you did, then you would never have written that.

                • telemackus

                  Frit

                • David Lindsay

                  I doubt that she ever placed a bet, either. Denis, I’m sure. But Maggie? I doubt it very much.

                • http://www.facebook.com/people/Andrew-Paul-Shakespeare/715581221 Andrew Paul Shakespeare

                  Really? With Labour barely 5 percent ahead in mid term? Kinnock had a lead of more than 20 percent at this stage, during both terms of opposition, and Kinnock was never such an utter pillock as Millie is.

              • HookesLaw

                I think you are far too kind. And according to my dictionary sophistic is an adjective and not a made up word.

                • David Lindsay

                  He has changed it. He put “sophristic” originally. That is not a word.

                • http://www.facebook.com/people/Andrew-Paul-Shakespeare/715581221 Andrew Paul Shakespeare

                  So? People do make typos occasionally, and choose to correct them later. You can’t legitimately make that suggestion. What I’m not sure about is whether you don’t care, or just aren’t that aware.

    • Fergus Pickering

      You keep saying ‘living standards are in freefall’. Have you written it up on a card somewhere? Evven for you it is a remarkably stupid dtatement. My living standards are about what they were five years ago. My elder daughter earns considerably more money than she did then. My younger daughter’s salary has just increased by 50%. I imagine you are doing all right, old fruit. But the lower classes are eating grass. Is that the way it is? I can’t say I@ve noticed. ASDA is heaving with custom. It must be in THE NORTH. Where is it you live exactly. I could say I had never heard such balls, but I have. From you.. .

      • David Lindsay

        No one believes you. Meaning that, politically speaking, even if it is true, then it might as well not be.

        The North is where the Tories have to win seats if they ever want an overall majority again. They have held the South East ever since 2005. A fat lot of good it has done them.

        But in any case, this is a nationwide phenomenon: people feel poorer, meaning that, politically rather than economically, it doesn’t matter whether or not they really are.

        So they are going to punish the Government electorally anyway, because it has made them feel poorer. It doesn’t matter whether or not they really are.

        • Abhay

          I agree people feel poorer because they are. The median wages are stuck. The interest rates will see steep increases the ground for which is being laid. The middle class jobs are gone forever, give or take.

          But do not presume that the current Labour is the natural inheritor / beneficiary. These are the same lot who have presided over Labour’s gradual ideological decay. I don’t wish to get lost in ‘personality’ discussions. As a class they are effete and wasted. Burnham or Balls. This Milliband or that. Cooper or Flint. Matters not.

          • David Lindsay

            Well, you are going to have to vote for someone.

            And don’t say “UKIP”. It is not going to have any MPs, and if it affects the outcome anywhere (of which I am not convinced, just as I wasn’t last time), then it will only be to let Labour in, so you may as well vote Labour and be done with it.

            If you really do think that they are all the same, then why not? This way, you do get to punish the present individuals.

            In any case, most voters don’t think like that. If they want to punish one lot, and they certainly do for the reasons in your first paragraph, then they simply vote for the other lot. As they will.

            • HookesLaw

              UKIP – that party of ‘anti intellectuals’.

              Well, we all knew that the ‘I’ could never stand for ‘intellectual’.

              • David Lindsay

                I’m not sure what it does stand for, although at best your lot is no better – http://davidaslindsay.blogspot.co.uk/2013/08/sovereign-integrity.html

                UKIP receives an awful lot of coverage for the twelfth party of British politics. There are 11 parties with elected MPs. Eleven. But UKIP is not one of them.

              • Abhay

                You have perfected the art of substance-less jibes, the cheap shot. Well done.

            • Abhay

              Well, Speccie is also a forum for discussing politics which goes beyond voting.

              Don’t get so rattled by UKIP. I am not a UKIP member but yesterday I saw this video clip, about 25 minutes long, where on most big issues of the day I found myself agreeing with Farage – at the level of principles. There must be many like me looking for alternatives beyond these tossers.

              Also, among the Tories there are interesting possibilities.

    • dalai guevara

      What a novel way of looking at this issue. So the entire issue is driven by the shock drop in membership on the other side, it is obvous to see.
      Balance to stabilise the two party system needs to be maintained, in any way possible.

    • Abhay

      Both shadow boxers are ideologically irrelevant. Both know this.

      The unions are feeding on the remains of the dead movement of the 20th century. And Labour are another party of the metropolitan bourgeois. While the former wants its crumbs and vestigial influence, the latter has to show that its ‘real’ and ‘purposeful’. Its not. It lost its ‘reality’ even before Blair. Blair just announced it.

      The impoverished and the working British and the downward-spiralling middle classes will have to look for other political alternatives.

      • David Lindsay

        The unions are feeding on the remains of the dead movement of the 20th century.

        It attracts an awful lot of attention, including yours, if it is dead.

        • Abhay

          It actually doesn’t.

          The first time I have cared to post on this issue.

          • David Lindsay

            That is still your attention.

    • Tom M

      Sounds all very democratic however; I know and perhaps you should as well that it would become known in your union circles if you had ‘opted-out’. Things like this can be used, acted upon and conclusions drawn from it all to your disadvantage by unions. Unions have their politics as well and they tend to be at the grubbier and more spiteful end on the spectrum.
      What puzzles me is why this information is in the hands of the unions at all. What is it to do with them who I vote for or choose not to?

  • Alexsandr

    Beeb reporting Sarah Tether is ‘resigning’ at the next election, cos working for clegg has been cr@p. She isnt leaving now so we have to pay her till 2015. Cant be that bad can it then?

    • telemachus

      Cannot cope
      Not so long ago ran away from her Government responsibilities

      • telemackus

        She would be a star on the labour benches.

        • David Lindsay

          She was going to lose her seat to Labour, anyway. That is why she is going.

          • Nicholas chuzzlewit

            Really? Never!!! what a penetrating insight. Labour gain, why not?

  • Cornelius Bonkers

    Fear not? Well, I don’t. The end of socialism and the end of trade unionism began in 1979; both are now anachronisms of a dying political/economic model which has neither serious function nor recognisable legitimate form. The only real purpose of trade unions is to provide pointless jobs for their employees paid for by the subscriptions of their unsuspecting members. As far as socialism goes, I can think of no purpose for it whatsoever except maybe to keep ex-offender baristas employed in Norf London’s many coffee shops. Yo!

    • Russell

      Don’t forget the thousands of pretend nurses, really ‘Pilgrims’ employed as nurses but working either full time or part time on trade union business and paid for by us the taxpayer!
      Same in the Police/Fire Services/Education/Councils, and still not properly tackled by this government (they have cut a few and saved £250,000 per year and not the £millions it is costing us).

      • Cornelius Bonkers

        Is that right Russ? Well, I can’t say it surprises me. I knew it went on in private enterprise; but that’s OK I suppose because the companies concerned spend their own money on it. According to my sources, working for a trade union is a good game – conditions, pay, pension etc. Which is fine as long as taxpayers are not the golden egg. Also, working for the civil service is a doss. I know someone who “worked” for about 20 years and then fiddled her way to a lifelong “disability” pension at age 48.

  • HookesLaw

    ‘rather alarmingly’ is a polite way to put it.
    The Unions have strong-armed people into silence and to be sure if they think they can get away with this they will get away with murder under a labour govt.

    • telemachus

      In case you had not noticed the whole tenor of the post is that with the changes being bravely pushed through by Ed Miliband the Unions will have no purchase on the Labour Party
      This bold initiative finishes what Neil started

      • HookesLaw

        In case you have not noticed, Labour have been party to a corrupt whitewashing of the inquiry. O do not think we are going to be fooled by whats going on.

        • telemachus

          Agree there was a great deal of Union bullying
          In the final analysis this will play into the hands of Ed Miliband

          • telemackus

            The only thing Miliband will be playing with is the bitter tears of defeat and humiliation. This is the end of his dream, and all you labour fools.

            • telemachus

              OK FOLKS
              I Have my suspicions as to the identity of telemackus

              A prize of an evening as a guest of ed Balls at the pre-conference dinner on 21st September in Brighton

              • starfish

                Presumably second prize is two evenings with Ed Balls?

                • telemackus

                  And the night with Yvette.

                • Fergus Pickering

                  Good God. Even at my age I’ll pass on that one.

                • Nicholas chuzzlewit

                  That is a truly disgusting prospect.

  • Russell

    I am surprised MP’s are not demanding an inquiry into why the police were asked to investigate (wasting their time and taxpayers money) and why ‘key’ evidence was withdrawn! Who withdrew this essential evidence? Who asked or forced them to withdraw this evidence? What was Milibands role in this? What was the Labour party’s role in this? What was Unites role in this?
    These questions need answering and the press should also be demanding answers.

    Conservative MP’s should also demand an inquiry.

    • HookesLaw

      I agree and it should be quite good fun demanding an inquiry into an inquiry. And tory MPs should remember that its always the cover up that gets ’em.

      Bur Mr Russell you must remember that its tory backbench MPs we are talking about here and I doubt that you could find two brains between the lot of them.

      • Cornelius Bonkers

        OK, but I’m also wondering if you could find two TORY MPs amongst the TORY MPs. With a few notable exceptions, real small “c” conservatives (i.e., TORIES) are very thin on the ground in Cameronland.

        • telemachus

          And this is something the majority of the British public give thanks for every day

          • telemackus

            I would take no pleasure in your frontbenchers either. Bryant, Twigg, Burnthem, Reeves, Balls, Cooper, the Eagle brothers – all spectacularly inept.

        • HookesLaw

          Tory MPs are not selected by Cameron – its the tory party who do that and there must be a very shallow pool if it throws up people who march into the same lobby as Tom Watson and also conspire to fail to equalise constituency boundaries (and that on the dimwitted basis of saving the House of Lords).

          I will relish being proved wrong about the continuing abject performance of tory backbenchers, but I am not holding my breath.

          • First L

            It was the Lib Dems who nixed boundary changes. And House of Lords reform. And PR Voting. You’d almost think they didn’t want to win the next election.

      • Hexhamgeezer

        Backbenchers should form their own party and provide the Opposition in 2015. Dave ed nick n’ brainy chums can form the Government.

      • Russell

        Apologies my ‘vote up’ still has Disqus problems, as I have voted your post up.
        My votes, up or down, appear after I do them, but if I leave the article and return, they vanish!
        Disqus seem unable to solve this quirk.
        Telemucus and Lindsay benefit by having 1 less vote down (mine), on every comment they post!

        • telemachus

          I will leave aside commenting on your avatar and simply ask you to reflect on the intellectual stupidity represented by your final sentence
          I guess we might say Faragian

          • telemackus

            You have highjacked my avatar and I demand you change it. I suggest a sackcloth with ashes to represent your dreams of a Mrs Balls led labour government.

        • HookesLaw

          Its a shame we have to agree that tory back bench MPs are thick.

  • anyfool

    This supposed fight is a either a load of guff or there is already a deal cooked up between parties to bring in state funding.
    That even Miliband would be so stupid as to pick a fight with the unions who are to put it in perspective his bosses does not ring true..
    Socialists are fairly dim-witted but when it comes to money and power they are more greedy and grasping than anyone else, they know how to milk the purse of anyone who earns money through hard work as well as plundering council expenses and union affiliation fees.
    This smells like that garbage Blair pulled with the Clause 4 nonsense.

    • Russell

      Why is state funding even being mentioned? I doubt the average taxpayer even knows that Labour get over £5million per year of their money in ‘short money’, on top of all their donations and MP/Shadow minister salaries, and office/personal expenses!
      Let all political parties survive on only donations, and capped at £5000 per year for individuals, and they should cut their spending to suit.

      • Alexsandr

        I accept what you say about ‘short money’, Russell, and agree wholeheartedly that state funding should not happen. If a party cannot finance itself from its supporters then it has no right to exist.

        • telemachus

          Worry not
          As the election approaches much of the sensible end of British industry will pour money into Labour coffers if only to curry favour with the inevitable victor

          • telemackus

            British industry would not give your lot a nine bob note my stalking friend. Labour will go into 2015 as broke as they left this country in 2010.

          • Nicholas chuzzlewit

            Only assuming that there is a widespread outbreak of criminal insanity amongst the private sector.

      • Smithersjones2013

        So does that include the party of government as well? How would you stop the party of government benefitting from the funding used to run the country? The Short money is there to ensure that there is as effective an opposition (and it applies to all opposition parties not just Labour) as possible (I know with our political classes thats not very effective but we can only hope)?

        The thing is if the Short Money was abolished then Parliamentary Democracy would be severely undermined.

        No to state funding of a party’s political and campaigning activities certainly but like it or not one has to provide some money to opposition parties for their Parliamentary activities.

        • Russell

          The party of Government doesn’t get short funding!
          Opposition and government should have to rely on the £millions they get from donations for all their ‘extra’ spending.
          The taxpayers already pay a substantial amount of money for salaries and expenses (and pensions/redundancy payments) to all MP’s and more to Ministers/Shadow Ministers, plus they have £millions in donations.
          All political parties should be required to manage on that money, not any additional money from taxpayers!

          As for not using short money for the labour opposition party (and any opposition party), tell me what they use their £5million plus for if not political and campaigning activities?

          • Smithersjones2013

            I know very well that the Government do not receive short money. That is why it is for opposition parties (as I stated).However the Government have the full resources of the Treasury at their command to undertake whatever ‘activities’ they wish to ‘in the national interest’.

            The purpose of the Short Money is to provide the opposition parties a comparatively small amount of money to compensate for the Government’s advantage to run their own parliamentary activities.

            And what should opposition parties be using Short Money for? Doing their own research into the areas on which government are legislating (for example researching the feasibility of HS2 independently). Whether they are or not is a different matter. But thats what it is intended for. To support the opposition’s response to Government activities (as opposed to funding their own proposed activities).

            Do away with it and likely the opposition to government in this country
            will become even less effective than it is unless of course you wish to severely cutback
            government expenditure as a whole. Now thats a whole different discussion.

            • Russell

              When the government spend £millions of taxpayers money, getting independent reports into for instance, the feasibility of HS2, why should the opposition get £millions to carry out their own ‘independent report?.
              The opposition parties do not account for the short money they receive, and primarily use it to embarrass the government and make political gain. That is not what our money should be used for, that is what they should spend the money they receive in donations for. Just like all MP’s used to and some still do with their expenses, they abuse the taxpayers! The taxpayers are getting ripped off, and it must end.

            • First L

              Government money should not be being spent on party activities or political campaigning. That is party money and all parties should have the same opportunities of taking donations and living on that.

              UKIP is not in Parliament so gets no short money – it doesn’t stop them being three times as effective at challenging the Tories than Labour who presumably spent theirs on building golden thrones for Watson, Balls and Chukka.

      • HookesLaw

        Its pretty clear to me that Miliband’s idea is to curry favour with the wider electorate by trying to distance himself with the trade unions and then making up the shortfall by introducing taxpayer funding.
        Once in power of course he can bring in all kinds of pro trade union legislation.

        But I am on old cynic when it comes to socialism.

    • David Lindsay

      The old Clause IV did not mention nationalisation, although it certainly allowed for it; it had been framed so that people who already had nationalisation in mind could read that presupposition into it, even though no one could have read that presupposition out of it.

      But Tony Blair and his fan club thought that it was about nothing else. So, in
      repudiating it, they repudiated public ownership in order to repudiate everything that public ownership delivered and safeguarded, notably national sovereignty, the Union, and the economic basis of paternal authority.

      Likewise, in repudiating trade unionism, they repudiated controlled immigration, and the moderating influence of the wider electorate in the affairs of the Labour Party. Mercifully, that latter, at least, reasserted itself in the victory of Ed Miliband over the Blairite candidate.

      But it still needs to be reasserted that requiring the production of a union card is no different from requiring the production of a British passport or a work permit, while the closed shop was as important for that as it was for giving the Tory 45 per cent of the industrial working class a moderating influence in the selection of Labour candidates for the safe Labour seats in which they lived.

      • telemackus

        Yawning already and I didn’t bother reading it.

        • David Lindsay

          Based on your failed impersonations of the English language elsewhere on this thread, you couldn’t have done if you had tried.

      • Smithersjones2013

        Surely it was Hugh Gaitskell who first made that association when he tried and failed to change Clause IV after the 1959 Election defeat.

        Furthermore, I really don’t see how public ownership safe guarded the Union, and sovereignty either because the Union and sovereignty existed long before the sort of public ownership you refer to existed.

        Frankly the reason the Union is under threat and our sovereignty has been compromised is down to a lack of character, integrity and political will amongst our establishment political classes. Simply put when it comes to running a country they our political classes are inadequate.

        • David Lindsay

          In the case of the Royal Mail, which is now under threat of privatisation, I am not sure that national sovereignty in the modern sense did predate what would now be called public ownership, and simply as a matter of fact the Union didn’t.

          Just look at who now owns what were once our railways or our utilities. The point is made. They and other nationalised industries very often even had the word “British” in their names.

          Yet these things are now routinely owned by foreign states, which in several cases keep prices low at home by overcharging in Britain, because they can. Anything else would be Communism or something. Course it would.

          • Smithersjones2013

            Oh please. The Royal Mail you refer to belonged to the monarchy and was not ‘publicly owned’ per se. Neither was any sovereign activity back then. Public ownership in your terms is a modern concept which has only existed since 1946 and ever since has been in question. It has nothing to do with the sovereignty of this country.

            Of course one has to ask whether these core pieces of infrastructure that have now fallen into foreign hands would have done so if they had not been taken into the public ownership in the first place? Perhaps taking these industries all of which seemed to be in persistent decline under public ownership was the cause of the problem in the first place and not their subsequent return into the private sector?

            • David Lindsay

              The Royal Mail you refer to belonged to the monarchy and was not ‘publicly owned’ per se.

              There has been no change in that status. Think on.

              Perhaps taking these industries all of which seemed to be in persistent decline under public ownership was the cause of the problem in the first place and not their subsequent return into the private sector?

              Bless.

              Look up the East Coast Main Line, so to speak.

              Your side has been proved completely wrong. We now need a shift as big as the recent one on military intervention. Either the re-privatisation of the East Coast Main Line, or the privatisation of the Royal Mail, should provide MPs with the opportunity.

              • Smithersjones2013

                There has been no change in that status. Think on.

                And which left wing pseudo history rewrite did you read that nonsense in? There has been 500 hundered years of change not least in the role and influence of the Monarch.

                Your side has been proved completely wrong.

                I have no ‘side’. I leave that to partisan sock puppets. I am somewhat amused by your reference to the ECML given there are 8 private companies already using it successfully. Somehow I don’t think privatisation will make much difference.

                We now need a shift as big as the recent one on military intervention

                I rfeally don’t see the revolution beginning over either ECML or for that matter the much diminished Royal Mail. But keep fighting the good fight though Wolfie because one day your revolution will come……or maybe it won’t……

                • David Lindsay

                  It is still the Royal Mail. And it still means what it says. Thatcher understood that. “We can’t privatise that,” she said, “It’s Royal.” Spot on.

                  The East Coast Main Line has had to be rescued from the private sector twice, and now costs the taxpayer the least to operate of all the franchises in Great Britain. All of the others are private.

                  Yet this mad Government is determined to re-privatise it. If either this or the Royal Mail does repeat the Old Right-Labour alliance seen over Syria, then someone, somewhere in the process has not tried hard enough. But they are going to try hard enough.

                  They only have to outwit Cameron and his missing, presumed dead Whips. Not hard over Syria. Not hard over this.

            • First L

              When Maggie privatised a number of industries – she wrote into the contracts that they would never be sold off to foreign hands.

              When Blair came in he ripped all those contracts up and consequently saw all our utilities sold off to other countries.

              Another thing to hate him for.

          • Fergus Pickering

            Our railways were a bloody disaster pre-privatisation as any fule no – dirty, late and intermittent.

  • telemachus

    And Miliband will win
    McCluskey, Prentis and apologists think they are Jack Jones and Joe Gormley
    But in truth the Unions are a busted flush
    All we are seeing is agonal gasps
    An election is coming and there are enough private rich donors who cannot stomach the thought of 5 more years vacillation
    Fear not

    • telemackus

      The one at the moribund state is our friend Miliband whose agonal symptoms are approaching the end.

    • Smithersjones2013

      Next you’ll be telling us the City will be clamouring for ‘Blinkey Balls’ to lead them to the land of wealth and money!

      You’re so funny………

    • Fergus Pickering

      I love agonal.

Close