The recent “goings on” around the Falkirk selection and who did what to whom is hugely important to the future of the Labour party, but by the same token, is a complete distraction from the “day job” of doing what we can to protect our residents. I only hope that, whatever the truth of the matter, we can fix, learn and develop a way forward that is better and stronger for the future.
There is a lot of debate (some very strongly worded) about the relationship between the Union movement and the Labour Movement. We must not forget that the Labour Party was born from the Unions. They play a distinct part in the party as a whole in representing those people working in industry. A number of members think that they are the only voice that should be heard and the likes of Progress should be burned at the stake. Others believe that Union members have too big a say in the modern Labour party and the ties should be cut, leaving those Union members who want to be a Labour Party member, free to sign up as a full member. As a member of the GMB union and of Progress, I see both arguments, and I believe the Labour Party is a broad enough Church to make it a richer place for both ends of the “Left spectrum”.
I believe that the Falkirk incident needs to be looked at closely because its important. If there has been rigging of any type going on then it is up to the leadership of BOTH organisations to sort it out, and be strong enough to admit it, fix the problem and move on. The Labour Party is all about fairness and equality, and we need to ensure that we practice what we preach. No candidate should have an unlawful advantage and it is right that this is investigated. I would like to think, however naively, that this is a one off incident of this severity and we can nip it in the bud. In addition, I hope that if it proven that all was well, that both leaders can also highlight this, and agree for the sake of the party that the investigation was necessary.
Maybe there is a need for a review of the trade union membership. But rather than weakening it, I would like to see it strengthened and Union Members more actively encouraged not only to be a card-carrying member, but to come and actively participate in their
Local Labour Party with local activists. It is true that Union membership is on a decline, as is membership of political parties, so this could provide a catalyst to really work together to promote something better for us all.
This should not be a blame-fest, lets see some grown up conversations to correct the problems and unite ourselves to winning a Labour majority in 2015!