Letter No 52  by Mike Allott: back to directory

27 April 2013

Labour needs to inspire hope

Perhaps it really is "time the Tories learned to love the unions" (Report, 24 April), but hopefully not in a love-triangle with Labour's affiliates.

When New Labour presented its manifesto in 1997, it made this unequivocal pledge:

"We have rewritten our constitution, the new clause IV, to put a commitment to enterprise alongside the commitment to justice."

Yet 16 years on we still have a party rule book, rooted in a Bolshevik delegate system, giving unions (with other minor affiliates) 50% voting rights on party matters. We have permitted Unite to use its new membership endowment to inflate its status within Labour, including overtly influencing the selection of European parliament and Westminster candidates.

So, Labour's clause IV settlement in 1995 is no longer a basis for future harmony. Should the 50% shareholding affiliates now be allowed to wear Labour's trousers? Or is a divorce inevitable?

And what future part for compassionate Conservatives?

Mike Allott