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Lord Owen’s backing for Labour reforms rounds off good weekend for Miliband

2 March 2014

7:50 AM

2 March 2014

7:50 AM

Lord Owen’s announcement that he backs Ed Miliband’s union reforms and is donating £7,500 to the party rounds off a good weekend for the Labour leader. Owen quit the party in 1981 to set up the SDP, but last night announced that he wanted to support Labour campaigns to reverse the 2012 Health and Social Care Act. He said:

‘This is a brave and bold reform by Ed Miliband and one I strenuously argued for as a Labour MP at the special conference on Saturday, 25 January 1981. This very desirable change, nevertheless, threatens to weaken Labour’s financial support at a critical time when I and many others are hoping to see the Party produce a plan for Government from May of next year to rescue our NHS.’

Owen will no longer sit as a cross bench peer but will instead serve as an independent social democrat. But his intervention helps the impression that Miliband is healing the party while reforming it.

The special conference approving those union reforms went swimmingly well yesterday, as predicted, with delegates backing the changes 86 per cent to 14 per cent. It’s just now that the hard work with the unions begins, with Len McCluskey of Unite and Paul Kenny of GMB flexing their muscles. McCluskey has made it clear that Labour will need to change to attract union members, and yesterday told those who ‘seek to edge us out’ that ‘this is our party and we are going nowhere’

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  • saffrin

    David Owen or Neil Kinnock, which is the bigger joke?

  • Shorne

    Blah,blah blah Labour still on course for an overall majority of 55+ and more importantly the bookies say much the same. Euro elections? maybe UKIP but who can name their MEP anyway. By the way those who sneer at anything to do with North London might care reflect on who was MP for Finchley, North London from 1959 to 1992.

  • Noa

    Always? Sometimes, maybe, if they can be bothered.
    They will always citicise them when they don’t agree with them though. Sometimes they will even be right to do so.

  • Smithersjones2013

    So he was a member of the Labour Party, threw his dummy out over Europe, set up the SDP, refused to join the Libdems in1987, saw the SDP collapse, recommended the Libdems over Kinnock’s Labour and then flirted with the Tories in the 1990’s (Major wanted him as a Cabinet Minister), refused to join Tony Blair because of Blair’s support for the Euro and subsequently spent the last 15 years or so out to grass as a Cross Bencher before refusing to support Brown at the last election.

    Is Miliband setting up an Old Age Care home for lonely political cross-dressers?

  • Noa

    I see my post pointing out that David Owen instigated the Abortion Bill has been deleted.
    Obviously it’s on the moderator’s ‘verboten’ list and reminding others of his role in facilitating the abortion of several million unborn UK children is not acceptable.

    • Fergus Pickering

      Come sir, you don’t mean facilitating abortion,which is dreadful, you mean being pro-choice, which is brave and good.

      • Noa

        Pro-choice? So whether it is good or evil, rght or wrong, is a matter of
        presentation and effective marketing? Better to see it for what it was
        and is, a sly, self-serving deceit practised now, as then, by the
        fabian and liberal left.
        There was always a choice, which was to prevent pregancy in the first place. Removal of the consequences of legitimised mass murder has resulted to date in more deaths through abortions than in the death camps.
        And the legalisation of abortion has paved the way for euthanisia, which is now being progressively introduced.
        It is a fitting fate for the generation which legalised the murder of its children and successors.

  • realfish

    I suppose that it HAS been a good week for Miliband when;

    – His deputy manages to dodge the PIE bullet and despite her appalling lack of judgement is able, days later to turn up at conference with her usual sickening, condescending smirk

    – When his own lack of judgement is paraded for all to see, without scrutiny – defending his NCCL 3 when it became clear, as the week progressed, they had very serious questions to answer

    – When he is able to get away with his ‘smoke and mirrors’ trick of pretending he is handing the party over to it’s members, while at the same time (as Dan Hodges – in fact only Dan Hodges explains) he is giving the Unions even more power.

    – When on the burning and dangerous issue of the Ukraine he manages to go missing – we hear nothing, nothing at all from this would-be statesman (but in fairness he probably first needs to consult his focus groups to see which is the best bandwagon to jump on (or wait for Putin’s people in the Kremlin to tell him what to say)

    And yes!, it’s been a very good weekend for Miliband when a senior Speccie staffer comes out and says, ‘It’s been a good weekend for Miliband.’

    • Fergus Pickering

      But it’s only Isabel so WTF?

    • HookesLaw

      You are right about the ‘reforms’ giving the unions more power – which just shows how thick labour activists and ‘proper’ members are.

      Power is given to a load of union influenced cut price members who will no doubt be carefully signed up en mass and vote in the good old union tradition.

      And Unions still have a 50% conference vote. ‘Yhe Spectator’ – it witters ignorantly on the sidelines.

      And what’s the difference between cross-bench and independent social democrat? What’s independent about donating to Labour?

    • Makroon

      You were doing OK until you started blustering about Ukraine.

  • London Calling

    Eds on the right track for once…..Good Luck to him and the Labour party….
    :)

    • Holly

      Who cares which track Miliband is tied to, or by who.
      No one but the twenty odd percent of bods like Harman or Owen Jones(FFS) give a fig about this.
      Outside the ‘freak bubble’, no one thinks, lives or works like they do any more.
      Remember Blair?
      Makes no difference what happens to, or in the Labour party, the Labour movement or it’s many scams shoved on the public, the same calibre of unfit characters lurk.

      • London Calling

        Remember Blair? Yes and I remember Gordon and the mess they left behind………..I still wish Ed good luck though……………..:)

  • Colonel Mustard

    Cnuts all of them and you have managed to put three together in that heading photograph.

  • Alexsandr

    so a has been rejoins labour. wow.
    good weekend for millipede? well I suppose he will be in better shape for the car crash when he has to kick the Dromeys out of the PLP, for that is the story that will run and run. Massive spreads in the tabloids yesterday. Nice family trees linking the PIE 3 to the great and good in Labour. Cant see the Mail giving up on this in a hurry,they can smell scalp and want one.
    Maybe the fallout will extend to BT where Hewitt is a director.

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

    Good weekend if you ignore the facts: a few points from various coverage:

    -Unions would still control 50% of votes at Labour conferences
    -There would be no cap on union donations
    -Some of the changes would be phased in over five years
    -78% of candidates in Labour’s 106 target seats have union links
    -Nearly half are directly connected to Unite

    • HookesLaw

      And since even the supposedly right wing Spectator does not cover this – then it has been a good week.

  • James Strong

    David Owen is one of the ‘Great and Good’ with which the UK is cursed.
    He mixes arrogance amd pomposity, not unlike Fat Pang and Paddy Pantsdown, and they all seem to be immune from accurate analysis of their achievements.
    On this occasion he might be closer to right than wrong, but in general if he and his type were completely ignored we’d make better progress.

    • David Lindsay.

      Yes Great and Good.
      Whether pompous or not he shows that the bandwagon is rolling.

      • Frank

        You really should seek medical help in respect of your neurotic attention-seeking.
        As for your comment, Miliband is an utter nerd and a north London one at that. The only chance he has of getting in is due to the fact that most people would have him (barmy policies and all) than David Cameron. If David Cameron were to offer an instant referendum on the EU, serve notice to quit the EU, and show a pair of balls, then he might just get re-elected. This is not going to happen, so we will no doubt have to endure Miliband, unless we have our own Maidan Square!

        • Fergus Pickering

          I don’t know that politicians should show their balls. There’s a Labour one whose name I forget who shows his underpants but I don’t know that ithas done him any good. No, Cameron can keep his balls inside his trousers.

          • David Lindsay.

            Miliband is an utter nerd and a north London one at that.
            I admit it would be better if he was from an industrial city outwith the capital.
            Newcastle comes to mind.
            But win he will. He probably rejoices that you think him a nerd.

            • Colonel Mustard

              # 2

          • Noa

            There is a school of thought which considers that no politician, of whatever hue, has cojones, including the female ones.

            • Fergus Pickering

              I have observed that people always praise a politician for his courage when his nonsense is something they agree with.

              • Noa

                Always, Fergus? No. Sometimes, maybe, if they can be bothered to.
                People will always citicise them when they don’t agree with them though. Sometimes they will even be right to do so.

                • Kitty MLB

                  Sometimes to criticise them can
                  become a national bloodsport
                  and they are criticised for whom
                  they are regardless of them being right
                  or wrong.

                • Noa

                  Searching for truth, whether by a different path, is one thing, seeking invariably to hide it is another.

                • Kitty MLB

                  There are also those who can hide the real truth
                  because of their own bias agenda and produce
                  a distorted version in order to manipulate .
                  The path is full of traps and pot holes.

          • Kitty MLB

            Agree, people ( male obviously) must
            not be encouraged to show their crown jewels in public
            including those who just show the display case ( name forgotten)
            Both must be kept under lock and key in the tower of London,
            and far away from carnivorous Ravens.

      • Noa

        This is not David Lindsay but the avatar thief Telemachus, the real character rises like steam from a cow pat.

        • David Lindsay.

          Was that meant as a serious comment or are you simply pandering to the Colonel to get him to stay?

          • Colonel Mustard

            # 3

            • arnoldo87

              Bingo!

          • Colonel Mustard

            Neither. He is simply stating the measure of you – accurately.

            • Kitty MLB

              I find it preposterous that voting down has been
              stopped.

        • Kitty MLB

          ‘rises like steam from a cow pat’
          Very good Noa, may I add, in the words of some ruff wearing bald old chap, with a bad taste in stockings. Who could
          sting a few words together:
          ‘All the infections that the sun sucks up from bogs, fens,
          flats on prosper fall make him by inch meal a disease. ‘

      • Smithersjones2013

        Downhill straight towards the cliff with no brakes……..

      • Colonel Mustard

        # 1

    • Makroon

      I think young Isabel is just being provocative again.

  • Whizjet

    “the impression that Miliband is healing the party while reforming it.”

    Of course, the reality is that the reform is smoke & mirrors, and changes very little. Good headline though, ‘Clause 4 moment’ anyone?

    • telemachus

      Explain how electing a leader by one man one vote as compared to the Union block vote is not a major democratic leap forward

      • HookesLaw

        Because the ‘voters’ are not proper members. They are cut price people who will do doubt have their opinions manipulated by the union shop stewards.

        • telemachus

          Since yesterday Union Shop Stewards have no further influence

          • Andy

            Lots of Trade Unionists are Conservatives. So why should the Fascists get all the money.

            • Mynydd

              Unions by law have to ballot their members in order to have a political fund, and, to which political party it is donated. However company directors are not required by law to ballot the shareholders, who are the rightful owners, in order to donate to the Conservative party.

              • Andy

                Please list the public companies to which your refer.

                And shareholders are not the ‘rightful owners’ of a company: they are the bloody owners.

          • Colonel Mustard

            # 5

      • Colonel Mustard

        # 4

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