Coffee House

Ed Miliband’s union bosses would change Britain for the worse

31 July 2014

3:40 PM

31 July 2014

3:40 PM

Trade unions have an important role in any decent society, but their stranglehold on the Labour Party is something we must fight against.

I will never forget walking the streets of Poland back in 1981, when martial law was in force, and there were armed soldiers on almost every street corner. There it was a trade union, Solidarity, which brought authoritarian Communism to its knees.

In the UK Margaret Thatcher recognised the importance of trade unions in society. Indeed one of her first roles in politics was as chairman of Dartford Conservative Trade Unionists.

But the battle in British politics today is nothing to do with the work done by local union officials or workers struggling for political freedom. Instead it is about the personal ambitions of a small group of union bosses who want to change our country in pursuit of inefficient spending and a larger, ineffective state.

The union bosses want a Britain where hardworking taxpayers are left to foot the bill for unaffordable welfare systems. A Britain where borrowing more and more is the norm and not something we want to stop. Borrowing which, under Labour, would produce more debt than future generations could ever afford to repay. A Britain where entrepreneurship is stifled, not encouraged.

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And it is Ed Miliband and the Labour Party who want to walk through the doors of Number 10 to deliver all this. Never has the Labour Party been so reliant on union support. Unite alone has donated more than £12 million since 2010 – that’s nearly a third of all Labour’s donations.  Miliband himself and most of his team have been bankrolled by thousands and thousands of pounds from Len McCluskey.

As Len McCluskey himself has said: ‘I’m as keen as anyone, as you’ve probably noticed, on debating Labour policy. But I want to have those debates with Ed Miliband in Number 10, not in opposition.’

The trouble is it won’t be just debates. Of the Labour candidates selected for this General Election, over a third have close ties to McCluskey’s union Unite. And if Ed Miliband were to enter Downing Street, he would be entirely dependent on their votes in the House of Commons.

So when Len McCluskey demands something – Ed Miliband gives in to him. Scrapping the benefit cap. Public ownership of the railways. A tax on the family home. Old fashioned rent controls that won’t work. The restoration of the spare room subsidy. All demanded by Len McCluskey – and all granted in turn by Ed Miliband.

They are policies that would risk Britain’s future. And they come with a price tag. Treasury estimates show that Labour plan to borrow £166 billion more than the Conservatives if they were to win the next election. That equates to £5,500 per head for every taxpayer in the country. It is an agenda that Britain cannot afford.

Last week we had some good news. Our economy has grown back to pre-recession levels. Employment is at its highest ever level with over 2 million more jobs since 2010.  We have made good progress, but there is still a long way to go.

So the choice at the next election is clear: between our long-term economic plan that offers real results, and Ed Miliband’s union bosses and their promises of higher deficits, higher taxes and rising insecurity. It’s a battle we have to win.

Chris Grayling is Secretary of State for Justice and Conservative MP for Epsom and Ewell.


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Show comments
  • SharperQs

    Funnily enough Chris Grailing, promoted to Shadow Home Secretary at the behest of Rupert Murdoch when he decided to back Cameron, doesn’t have a grasp on the tuth. Ed Miliband – for example – has agreed explicitly to keep the benefits cap.
    No mention either of Fraser Nelson’s conversation with Prof Danny Blanchfower.
    At some point the fact that the Osborne economic “recovery” is so poor it rivals those after the South Seas Bubble and the Black Death may help pub quiz afficionados.
    It will nõt help Mr Cameron.

  • Raddiy

    Martial Law was imposed in Poland on 13th December 1981 and the borders were closed.

    I would be intrigued to know what a 19 year old SDP supporter was doing at the end of a dangerous year in Poland, wandering around the streets a couple of weeks before Christmas, when presumably you were meant to be in your first year at Cambridge studying for your BA.

    Were you perhaps marching with the Solidarity comrades Chris, supporting their right to organise and strike. Surely not!!

  • http://t.co/rXjomKpfUv JP Janson De Couet

    So far Chris Grayling has done far more to change Britain for the worse than Ed. What a hypocrite.

  • Pier66

    Len McCluskey perfect man for Labour leadership…with them Labour will win next election 2070!
    ynwa and Tory all the way

  • GraveDave

    I will never forget walking the streets of Poland back in 1981, when martial law was in force, and there were armed soldiers on almost every street corner.

    Ah the good old days , Eh Chris…

    • global city

      Ironic really. That was an imposition of the McCluskyist-type socialist regime that the trade unions in Poland were fighting against.

  • Mynydd

    Thanks to Mr Grayling one of Labour’s general election posters will be showing lawyer’s marching on strike along side public service workers.

  • Smithersjones2013

    What threat the Trade Unions given that red or blue we’ll still be run by the Oxford Mafia……

  • paul oxley

    Nice to see that the hapless Grayling has
    the time to pen half baked right wing rambling nonsense like this when his actual role as Justice Secretary is going so well apart from the daily prisoner escapes and walk outs, riots and stopping inmates from receiving books of course

  • slippytile

    This is absolute nonsense, Ed Miliband is nothing more than sugar free Tory, as for the article i say what is the difference from having the bankers hold the nation to ransom.

  • Terry Field

    I miss all that 70’s fun – the TUC, Vic Feather, Joe Gormley etc.
    It’s been boring!!!!!
    Bring it back!!
    Beer and sandwiches in no 10!
    Hyperinflation.Slob rule.
    Bodies unburied.
    Rubbish everywhere.Red Robbo, the Shock Troops of the Shirking Class!!!
    Bring it on.

  • southerner

    Glad to see Grayling has so much time on his hands to sit around penning these articles.

    I would have thought his time would be better spent stopping the 1000 or so criminals absconding unlawfully at large (including rapists and paedophiles), or perhaps even meeting a Tory pledge to reduce the number of foreign criminals by deporting them (the number of foreign criminals in custody has instead increased).

    • Mynydd

      Another one absconded today.

      • GraveDave

        And another one will abscond tomorrow. We need to set up tougher prisons, build a few near swamps, with watch towers and armed sniper guards. Chain gangs -dogs…that’ll bloody sort it. I’m sick of hearing about Butlin’s and holiday camps – know when was the last time I had holiday. Works me fingers to the bones I does.

    • GraveDave

      Chris is a very busy man. He’s been ‘reforming’ the legal process.

  • Tony_E

    I have never understood the sensitivity that Labour has about its links with the trade unions. It’s founding purpose was as a political representative of the organised workforce, they were and are inextricably linked to the trade union movement.

    That the trade unions fund labour is a given, as is the simple truth that this will dictate both their policy and their leadership.

    • telemachus

      1. Ed has made it clear that the Unions do not dictate policy
      2. Their role in rescuing us from the lump of blancmange that is Ed’s bother was in fact welcome

      • Peter Stroud

        And you believe him?

      • Terry Field

        Ed is a porkypier.

      • Erictheowl

        Yes, but nobody believe a word he says, particularly not Comrade Len.

    • Mynydd

      I have never understood the sensitivity that Conservative party has about its links with the City of London capitalists that fund it is a given, as is the simple truth that this will dictate both their policy and their leadership.

  • vvputout

    One reason why English domestic policy should be decided by an English Assembly rather than by a UK Parliament where Labour can use its Scottish and Welsh MPs to impose the unions’ will.

    • telemachus

      You are correct that we need the Union to keep the 41 Labour MP’s and ensure a majority
      However Miliband has the Unions tamed

      • vvputout

        The Scots will, I strongly suspect, reject independence, but devolution to Scotland and Wales, including of taxation and social security powers, will proceed.

        It is entirely proper that English legislation in areas where devolution in the other nations applies should be decided by English MPs alone. For the time being that can be achieved by a change in standing orders within Westminster. However, in the longer term, a constitutional convention is required as a federal solution is being proposed.

        • telemachus

          You know well that lethargy dictates that things will not change Devo Max or not
          Look at the way that Lord’s reform has stalled

          • Terry Field

            Oh yes they will
            It’s goodnight leftythought in England.

      • Terry Field

        Devomax = resolution of the West Lothian question = byebye socialism in England.

        • Mynydd

          What has Mr Cameron done about the West Lothian question during his time in office? absolutely nothing in over four years.

          • Terry Field

            Plainly he is a one-nation Tory. He cares for the Scotties. He loves them. He enfolds them in his arms. He is their Daddy. They are being naughty children.
            Soon time for spankies.
            Maleus Scotorum Hic Est.

          • Holly

            Probably been too busy fixing the numerous messes the Last Labour government left.
            Labour could of course have fixed the West Lothian question during their THIRTEEN years in government, but they were too busy scre* ing everything up.

            • Mynydd

              But he had time for four, or was it five, holidays last year, plus plenty of jollies around the world.

              • Holly

                I have no idea, but it is surely scandalous! while Miliband has been working his little socks off trying to see just how juvenile he can be, how utterly useless he would be as Prime Minister and a terrible representative of Britain.
                I will give you that one.

                Miliband’s ‘I’m useless’ campaign has beaten Cameron’s holiday quota from last year hands down.
                A ‘stinking pile of fudge’ I think it has been likened to by some, and absolute hypocrisy by others.

                Miliband would have done a lot better if he had copied Cameron’s holiday quota, not just Conservatives policies.

              • Inverted Meniscus

                Labour had thirteen years and did what in respect of the west Lothian question. We all wish that swine Gordon Brown had taken 52 weeks holiday each year. He might not have been able to f**k up the country quite so badly.

          • Inverted Meniscus

            Probably preoccupied clearing up Labour’s economic mess.

      • Inverted Meniscus

        Provocative, ignorant tripe from lLabour’s favourite troll.

      • Ron Todd

        In the same sense that Roy and Siegfried had the tiger tamed.

    • Mynydd

      The Labour party wanted to introduce English Assemblies but the English turned them down. By the way Mr Cameron has been in power for over four years, enough time

      • Inverted Meniscus

        Yes because it was a cynical attempt by Labour to ‘divide and rule’ and make us squabble amongst ourselves whilst ignoring the iniquity of not allowing us an English Parliament unlike the Scots and Welsh. We did not fall for such nonsense although trying to introduce such a policy via an ignorant fool like John Prescott was sufficient to inform most people that it was a ludicrous idea.

        • Wessex Man

          Sadly they never learn, Ed Miliband is talking Assemblies again as is Clegg, give Cameron time.

          • Inverted Meniscus

            No surprise that they are brewing up another nasty little conspiracy to blight our lives, reduce democratic accountability and provide jobs for their friends.

  • Ron Todd

    There is a place for unions that place is not round the cabinet table dictating policies that will in the short term benefit the public sector and in the long term bankrupt the country.

    • telemachus

      Beats Barclays and Merrill Lynch

      • First L

        Barclay’s employees have never committed murder in the name of attempting to bring down the government. Trade Unionists cannot say this.

        • telemachus

          To just what do you refer?

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

            union members causing deaths…think about it: there’s more than one.

      • David B

        Running round like a headless chicken again!

  • global city

    Why is it still possible for trades unions to be overtly political/revolutionary?

    They should be restricted (from being overtly political) in the same way that charities used to be. The fact that they are is surely an anachronism.

    • telemachus

      So how else do workers prevent being downtrodden?

      • Inverted Meniscus

        Live on Britain.

        • telemachus

          Folks like you would like to go back to the days when children slept by the loom and their younger children were sent up chimneys

          • Inverted Meniscus

            Tripe.

          • Terry Field

            Don’t they?
            Have things gone so far downhill then?

      • global city

        Resisting Trotskyist revolutionary motives becoming union policy will not deny worker’s their rights. In fact they may then get leaders who will help to improve their lot, instead of paving the way for the coming revolution.

        • telemachus

          I see strong Union Leaders as necessary to advance the cause of their charges
          Further I am beginning to see some merit in revolution

          • global city

            That’s foolish. Why would you see a successful campaign to bring in some sort of workers paradise advance them in reality?

            We know from experiments right across the globe that socialism delivers nothing but rap for ordinary folk.

            Unions and union leaders should not be able to use workers institutions to promote such rubbish or attempt to bring them about by using those institutions as weapons.

            What happens to you when your revolution veers away from the ideals that you thought you’d be welcoming?

            • telemachus

              The point of idealism is belief that things will be better
              Year on year our society becomes more unequal
              We must do something to reverse that

              • global city

                Woa! What you write is correct, but what has that got to do with the sick Trot-type crap that mclusky and his ilk impose on worker’s representative institutions.

                What happens if you want some sort of Burkian or Jeffersonian workers idealism…fat chance when all the Commie bastards parasitise your institutions.

                Do you really think that thugs and commies have anything to contribute to any disourse about a genuinely brighter future?

              • Terry Field

                Nursie is coming after you with the bendy cane!

          • Andy

            We all see merit in the restoration of capital punishment for Traitors – like you.

          • Terry Field

            It’s spankies time for not taking those little blue pills
            GO and GET them NOW
            And then go to sit on the naughty step.
            And wash your mouth out with soap for lying.

      • Ron Todd

        By electing union leaders that will concentrate on the long term benefit of all workers. By improving their skills and becoming more useful to their employees. By helping elect a Tory government (in the absence of a better alternative) not a government that will bankrupt us all. By starting their own business becoming their own boss and adding to the sum of the national wealth. By not making the public sector so expensive that the rest of us do not have any money left over to buy goods and services from the wealth creating sector.

      • Holly

        Vote Conservative, and stop paying the union fees that enable the union fat cats to live very comfortable lives, while they are forced to lose a day’s pay when locked out of their workplace, due to strikes, would be a good place to start.

        • Mynydd

          Please keep up to date: no longer are there closed shops, you are free to join or not join a union. By law you can walk through picket lines, as a result you do not lose a day’s pay. Employers are the only ones who can lock you out of your workplace, unions do not have the keys.
          When a Union lawfully negotiate improved terms and conditions, including a pay rise, why should those not in the union also benefit.

          • Holly

            I worked at my HMRC office and when you went on strike you lost a days pay and whatever % towards your pension.
            IF security/line manager was joining the strike the building would not be opened, or we would be told we HAD to strike. So even though I wanted to go to work I couldn’t get in.
            It is the unions/minority who call these strikes, NOT the employers…Or the majority of employees in many cases.
            It is certainly NOT the public, who depend on these ‘PUBLIC’ services, and if they were private employers behaving like this even you would stop using them, but we do not, however have same financial luxury as union bods, MP’s or Councillors who can ‘opt out’ of the mainstream ‘public’ services.

            Many schools here closed recently, because the head teacher was on strike, and if they were open, only the classes with GOOD teachers were available to pupils.

      • lookout

        Get rid of the job agency’s

      • The Masked Marvel

        Straw man alert. Nobody said anything about keeping workers downtrodden. Of course, you have a different definition of that word than ordinary, decent folk.

    • Andy

      For a start all state funding of trade unions and charities should cease – immediately.

      • global city

        I would not be opposed to government providing some generic support for politically/non-ideological worker’s representative institutions, but!

        I agree with your suggestion given the current status and role of both those groups.

    • rtj1211

      As long as the construction industry runs black lists on political lines, they should be allowed to do what they do.

      The right has just as many grossly unacceptable practices it’s just that people try to claim that they don’t exist.

      Well: they do.

      • global city

        The Right = business…I see where you’re coming from.

  • Mike Barnes

    Speaking of dodgy financial donations, has Dave’s tennis game been cancelled and the money returned yet?

    • HookesLaw

      How sad are you?

      • telemachus

        Your hagiography of the Tory elite is becoming tedious

        • Ooh!MePurse!

          Oh you silly man. Your hagiography of Ed Balls is never ending!

          I sent him and the Labour Party an email yesterday. I requested examples of Cameron claiming that ‘you’ve never had it so good’ at PMQs, by reference to Hansard. I’m not really expecting a reply. Perhaps you could give me some examples?

          • telemachus

            There are some politicians who deserve praise
            There are those that are the future
            DC is tired and gladly his time will soon be over

            • Inverted Meniscus

              I cannot think of any and certainly not a preposterous, incompetent amoral imbecile like Ed Balls.

              • telemachus

                Ed Balls is that rarest of politicians who makes you smile
                He makes you feel good
                *
                And unlike Osborne he will promote a fair society

                • Terry Field

                  Have you taken the pills today?
                  No? – then go and get them -you know you need them.
                  Nursie will spank your little bottie for saying such silly things,

                • starfish

                  Smile? Rarely
                  Laugh? Certainly
                  In a David Brent sort of way from behind my hands

                • Inverted Meniscus

                  No he is an incompetent, amoral scumbag.

                • The Masked Marvel

                  “Fair”, like in Venezuela. But at least there will be less of the loathsome middle class, eh?

        • Inverted Meniscus

          An Olympic Gold medal for hypocrisy is yours for the asking. Unbelievably dishonest.

          • telemachus

            One of the roles arrogated to himself by Mustard is demolition of reasonable views and ad hominem attacks on the writer
            You are coming on as his deputy, Mr Morgan Earp

            • Inverted Meniscus

              More fatuous hypocrisy.

      • Mike Barnes

        Listen, Russian oligarchs have an important role in any decent society, but their stranglehold on the Conservative Party is something we must fight against.

        • Andy

          More lies.

        • Holly

          Unions?

          • Mynydd

            The logic is, if you consider the donations from Union members influence Labour policies, then donations from Russian oligarchs and city bankers must influence Conservative policies. You cannot have one without the other.

            • Holly

              The rich you mean?
              Labour sucked up to them trying to be ‘Tories’, but as the country discovered, to it’s cost, Labour spend far too much of other peoples money on all the wrong things.
              Don’t try to blame it all on Blair or bankers, either, because it was Bozo(Miliband’s version of Labour) who had hold of the magic money levers, and Balls/Miliband helped him make a bigger financial mess.

            • starfish

              Which oligarch?

              • starfish

                Is that the same ones Peter Mandelson sucked up to?

            • Inverted Meniscus

              Would that be the Oligarchs Peter Mandelson was sucking up to?

              • Wessex Man

                He still is!

                • Inverted Meniscus

                  Yes another nasty little germ that even domestos cannot remove.

      • Wessex Man

        Yes Hooky babe, he’s as sad as you and the little commin tele terminal.

    • Andy

      And speaking of Tax Avoidance/Evasion when is the Fascist Labour Party going to pay a fair share of tax, and when is the Miliband family going to pay up rather than hide behind tax avoidance ??

      • Terry Field

        Yes – answer that one skunkypoo!

      • Mynydd

        Answer the question, as the money been returned.

    • Holly

      I was just wondering if Labour had paid their fair share of tax out of the £33m
      or whether Bercow had explained why that pass was handed to a mate of his Mrs.
      You might do better if you could come up with a Tory put down that doesn’t give bods like me the chance to remind people that Labour beat the Tories hands down on doing ‘dodgy stuff’.
      Just a thought.

      • Andy

        The Public Accounts Committee should investigate Labour’s Tax Avoidance – the failure of the Fascist Party to pay a proper amount of tax. They should also investigate the scandal of Taxpayers money being directed towards Unions, allowing them to increase their political donations to the Labour Party. Plenty of scandal their in that corrupt relationship.

      • Pier66

        But Holly, you should realise that Labour ask all the other pay the tax..but they avoid as ever!

  • telemachus

    Fortuitous that I should have posted this at lunchtime

    It bears repeat

    http://blogs.spectator.co.uk/steerpike/2014/07/fifty-shades-of-grayling/

    Chris we have not repeat not banned books from prison Grayling, has taken from Gove the epithet of the second most hated Cabinet Minister (Hunt is the first)
    Do not be fooled by the label boring
    He sits in Petty France dreaming up more and more draconian punishments for the increasingly low risk criminals he insists on telling the courts should be locked up
    It is said that he has been sizing up Hasselwood rock as a latter day Alcatraz for the incarceration of McCluskey and his band of brothers

    • HookesLaw

      So its, ‘Vote McCluskey’ then??

      • telemachus

        Ed has the measure of him

        • Erictheowl

          Ed doesn’t even have the measure of his own pants, and as for your mate Balls, he might make you smile, but he makes the rest of us positively nauseous. No wonder his wife always has that peculiar pained look.

          • Inverted Meniscus

            Uh, that’s because she is a miserable sod.

            • Erictheowl

              True, but she does have something to look miserable about. I know she probably married him from choice, but we all mess-up with these things when we’re young. I believe they have children, too. Imagine.

              • Inverted Meniscus

                People like the Balls’ marry because they perceive it to be a politically astute course of action it is not driven by what we mere mortals refer to as ‘feelings’.

    • goatmince

      Gibraltar could come in handy if we got the Spanish to seal the borders.

      • telemachus

        A bit too comfortable for what Grayling has in mind

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