I’m not a member of a union myself – I was in the National Union of Journalists for a while but this was at a time when that union had no teeth at all and seemed to be a poodle for the newspaper bosses. In other words, it was no bloody good at all; for all I know, nothing has changed.
However, I support the idea of trade unions as representatives of the working man and woman, standing up ‘en masse’ for those who would have no weight individually. When unions actually fulfil this function, they are among the proudest achievements of humanity; they show we can look after each other as well as ourselves.
This is why I agree with this article – especially where it states that Labour’s union funding means it is funded and influenced by ordinary people, and that this is something all political parties should attempt.
If David Cameron mocks Labour’s “union paymasters”, he should at least bear in mind that we know who the unions are. Who are HIS paymasters? We don’t have such a clear indication, I suspect the best way to find out is (as ever with a Tory-led government) to follow the money. Who has benefited most from the Coalition government’s decisions?
Just a few brief thoughts, as I’ve been watching BBC News and hearing about the Tories shabby attempt to misuse the proposed legislation for a ‘register of lobbyists’ – the Tories are trying to hijack the bill to – as the BBC puts it – ‘force Labour to defend its union paymasters’.
‘The unions’ are not some massive, monolithic power bloc that is trying to further shady political aims. The unions are you, and me, and millions of ordinary people – and for many of those people, the unions are the only voice we have that is in any way effective in influencing policy at a high level, and the only defence many of us have against exploitation and abuse.
When the Tories spout their usual dismissive, mocking line about ‘Labour’s union paymasters’, what they’re really saying is ‘Labour is funded and influenced by ordinary people. A ‘condemnation’…
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