The rebuttals to the Conservative attack on Unite's donations to Labour are coming thick and fast. The most popular is 'the Labour Party was always the political arm of the Unions', which is offered as justification for Unite's £11 million cash to Labour, its Labour campaign call centres and its sixty-odd Labour PPCs at the coming election.
An affronted wail has gone up: 'It's voluntary and democratic - the will of the members.'
One recent poll suggested that almost as many trade union members would vote Conservative as would vote Labour. A recent written answer in parliament revealed that a fifth of Unite members have opted out of paying the political levy. Guardian
The earmarked political sub may be voluntary, but union officers have discretion to use central union monies as they see fit, including giving money to the Labour Party, which they do. Whether one likes it or not, to belong to a union is to give money to the Labour Party.
Of course, under Brown, merely to be a taxpayer is to give one's hard-earned to the Labour Party through the "union modernisation fund" - whether one likes it or not. £12 million to Unite over the period in which Unite has given Labour £11million. Yes, Labour saved from bankruptcy and a profit to Unite of £1 million. Ker-ching!
This is unjust, undemocratic and iniquitous. Not that scruples about concepts like justice and democracy disturb Gordon Brown's sleep for a instant. He is content as long as he can raise money to pay his anti-Tory army by whatever means - and eff the taxpaying electorate.
If the Conservative party had a single donor called Unite PLC that provided 40% of its donations, provided the CEO of the Conservative party, had its Head of PR setup websites for the Conservatives, hired people like Damian McPoison to run smear campaigns, unfairly influenced the process whereby many of its Unite PLC employees become Conservative MPs through donations and Unite PLC block votes in CLPs….. we would all be outraged at the infiltration of the Conservative party by a single company. But if we just changed the word Conservative to Labour in the above and deleted “plc” we would arrive at the state of the Labour party. Comment at LabourHome