Well, it didn't take long. Less than 24 hours into his official Labour leadership, Brown is already on the warpath against the trade unions. Last year, Dave Prentis (pictured) had his mike switched off by New Labour stooge Gary Titley MEP in a controversial debate on NHS privatisation. Now Brown wants to go the whole hog and end the block vote at Labour conference - and the unions' right to put forward contemporary and emergency motions. Instead, there will be "general debates" by members.
Now to the naive, this may sound perfectly reasonable.Indeed, it will be spun as an extension of democracy. It is anything but.
CLPs can already choose four key issues of their own they want to debate ( the bar was raised from 2 in 2003 with help from the UNIONS) to debate at Conference. Yes it should be more but were it not for the unions in the past few years, none of the following issues would have been debated: Iraq, social housing and the fourth option, NHS privatisation, the plight of agency workers. railway re-nationalisation. And, because the unions do vote in blocks, all these issues have a) got through the right-wing gerrymandering ofthe Conference Arrangements Committee and b) been passed by Conference with support from the CLPs. Some of you may recall a similar idea on curbing the unions' influence was once floated by Jon Cruddas. It will be interesting to see where he stands now. One thing is clear. The NEC MUST oppose this move . And so must the Party.See John McDonnell's blog for more details. http://www.john4leader.org.uk/