Rather sharp from Cameron

In a surprise move the Conservatives introduced a new law to reform the way union activists pay a “political levy” to Labour.

Under the Conservative plans, union members will have to opt-in to paying an annual amount to Labour, rather than opting out as at present.

If he goes on to get the Boundary Commission working properly then there’s a good chance of a third term….

29 comments on “Rather sharp from Cameron

  1. Not for him, of course, if we assume he wasn’t lying about that as well.

  2. It’s hard to see how this makes any difference. Union members who get asked whether they wish to pay the political levy are well aware the union rep asking them is a Labour supporter. He’s gong to be, isn’t he? And this is the same union rep the member may be calling on for the union’s help. So the wise member antes up the political levy because he’d prefer to be regarded as a member of the large set of members favourable to Labour than the small set not.
    What I did, anyway. I’m not a fool.

  3. Actually I’m a union branch chair and I am a conservative voter.
    On signing for the union we give everyone is given the option of signing out of the political levy.
    And for your information , we are in a private company , have a great working relationship with management and the majority of members are NOT labour supporters.

  4. Dear Yar123

    I am a self – regarding blogger and Director of an LLP (?) Which union should I join? Obviously I am already a member of Unite, but candidly there are some rough types in there, men who work with their hands and have neoliberal ideas about personal aspiration.

  5. This is a bad idea for the Conservatives.

    First of all the fact of union domination of Labour is a net negative in the public’s perception. Why fix that?

    I’m reminded of the Conservatives during the 1980s: faced with blatantly stupid local councils like Derek Hatton’s they tried to fix it by centralising power. They shot themselves in the foot.

    Second, rightly or wrongly the left accuse the right of holding power only through the ability to marshal large sums of money. Make no mistake Labour will one day regain power and then they can implement equally “partisan” legislation. eg. tampering with press freedom. State payments to political parties. Banning corporate donations etc. These are people who think the BBC is neutral or even skewed left.

    Instead the Conservatives should have tackled the institutions that have been captured by the left. eg. The NGOs who have now become lobbyists for Labour ideas. Labour’s big guns are not the unions.

  6. I think Boundary Reviews is set to pass automatically, it was only Cleggs veto (or whatever you call it in parliamentary jargon) that was delaying it.

  7. TDK,

    > First of all the fact of union domination of Labour is a net negative in the public’s perception. Why fix that?

    I very much doubt this will change union domination of Labour one iota. But it could reduce the unions’ mandate to dominate Labour. Which would make public perception of it even more negative.

    Dubious,

    > And this is the same union rep the member may be calling on for the union’s help.

    So what? If unions don’t support some of their members, those members will leave, taking their fees with them. Any union rep stupid enough to discriminate against members — on any grounds — is destroying their own power base.

  8. If the Boundary Commission is as rotten with Blairites as I’d guess it might be, I would take nothing for granted about the outcomes. There’ll be plenty of devil in the details.

  9. It is a political measure that shows Camorgeuron to be the “fixer” that he is. With a million and one problems facing this country this wasn’t even worth the time.

    Besides it shows his lack of brains and gratitude. He got in only cos of fears about ZaNu . If he was wise he would realise that once ZaNu and its threat is politically finished (which direction they are heading in hopefully ) the spotlight will fall on the arrogant, corrupt and mendacious gang of middle-class marxistos that is Blue Labour.

  10. There is nothing new about an opt-in to the political levy. Opt-in was the norm pre-WWII.

    The Boundary Commission is a bit more troubling. About a dozen Conservatives look likely to lose their seats and may well vote against the government (the obvious penalty for which should be deselection).

  11. If the Boundary Commission is as rotten with Blairites as I’d guess it might be

    A judge, a deputy High Court judge, and the Chief Executive of Herefordshire Council from founding until his retirement (it was LibDem, NOC and latterly Tory).

    And, ex officio, the Speaker. Who is a Blairite but isn’t allowed to play.

  12. There is nothing new about an opt-in to the political levy. Opt-in was the norm pre-WWII.

    Hold on a second. The opt-in was the result of a 1920s Act passed by the Conservatives. The Atlee government repealed a 20 year old Act. The status quo is now nearing 70 old and prior to the Act passing there was about 30 years from the formation of the Labour Party. That’s near 100 years versus 20 years of pre-war “norm”. Slightly different perspective

  13. We are over thinking this.
    Rightly, the electorate took a look at the gang of marxoids, special interests, public sector unions, ngos, fake charities and other special interest groups… and said no thanks.
    But at some future date the conservatives will fuck up, so the other lot will get into power. Better if it’s a broad left rather than the creeps listed above.
    I even dare think that some on the left might welcome a reduction of union power over them.

  14. Ask yourself this: how does this play with the floating, private-sector-employed voter? Will it enthrall more than it disgusts?

    Of course the screaming marxoids will be foaming, they always are. And this is definitely not for their consumption (except in so far as getting them foaming in public is good PR against LAB). Anway, Joe Swindon in his office job probably thinks “Good. Why should anyone effectively be forced to donate to the Labour Party anyway”.

  15. Everyone here is approaching this purely in terms of political strategy. The fact is, it’s a democratic measure that increases democratic accountability and decreases corruption. I couldn’t care less how it plays out in terms of party-political manoeuvring. I’d support it if it had been proposed by Stalinists. Sometimes something is simply the right thing to do.

  16. @S2 – you are entirely correct of course, but such principled (and somewhat wonkish) considerations are lost on the majority of the voting public.

  17. BIF,

    > I even dare think that some on the left might welcome a reduction of union power over them.

    I think Blair demonstrated conclusively that this is the case.

  18. TDK

    You are spot on – the NGOs and Non- Productive Public Sector are where Labour and the Left draw all their support from – Cameron needs to make sure most of the ‘charities’ (like ASH for example) which depend on the taxpayer for most of their income are forced to rely on private donations – that, more than the amendments to Union funding will help to spike the Left’s guns….

  19. This is purely party political. The government has no business interfering in how the unions run themselves internally.

  20. This is a strange story, for several reasons.

    First, it fails to understand that a union’s political fund is not money it pays to the Labour Party: it’s money it can legally use for political purposes, some of which (nowadays often less than half) is paid in affiliation fees to the Labour Party.

    Second, the Labour Party is in the process of reforming the way this works, so that affiliation fees are transitioning to an opt-in arrangement, to be completed by 2019. (This is in accordance with the Collins review, and was confirmed by Ed Miliband two years ago.)

    Third, whereas previous Conservative legislation regulating the affairs of trade unions had at least a plausible claim to be protecting a legitimate public interest, Cameron isn’t even pretending that this one is anything but partisan meddling – there’s a coherent set of bipartisan recommendations for reducing the influence on political parties of donors, including trade unions, in the Kelly report, but Cameron doesn’t even nod to the existence of the thing.

  21. Ian B – “This is purely party political. The government has no business interfering in how the unions run themselves internally.”

    If the same rules applied to Unions as applied to everyone else, you might be right. But Unions have a special place in the law. They have been protected from things like being sued for damages – less so these days. That special place in the law does give the state an interest in making sure they are run honestly.

    After all, Union dues are basically money collected by thugs from people who don’t have much choice. That is usually a government monopoly. I don’t see why we should allow the usual Marxist suspects to rely on the state to do that while working to undermine the state at the same time with no accountability at all.

  22. bloke in france – “But at some future date the conservatives will fuck up, so the other lot will get into power. Better if it’s a broad left rather than the creeps listed above.”

    The Labour Party is a broad left? There is no law of the universe that says the Labour Party has to be the next opposition. Or even that the Left, as we understand it, will. So not a lot of reasons to protect them.

  23. Union membership isn’t a prerequisite of employment is it? I thought closed shops disappeared years ago. And if union members are unhappy about their union supporting a party they disagree with then surely, if they want to be in a union, they can join another union instead. I’ve been in a union for over 40 years, but only as an insurance policy (and the monthly newspaper 🙂 ) in case of legal issues to do with my professional qualifications. My union does not support any party, but if it did and I didn’t agree with it I could always find another union more in keeping with my beliefs.

  24. The institutional Left must be destroyed. If this measure helps weaken it, then so much the better. Fair is all very well, but it’s never been any use bringing a knife to a gunfight.

  25. SMFS: “After all, Union dues are basically money collected by thugs from people who don’t have much choice”

    Sorry but that is horseshit. Take PCS for example. They are run by a marxistic moron (as is the UK) and their organisers are a bunch of wankers but the Teamsters they are not. Joining is voluntary and a % don’t. Those who do join mostly do so because they recognise that they need help against the treacherous, imperious, double-dealing arrogant scum that comprise the boss class of the Civil Service. And their political “masters” both ZaNu and BluLab.

    It is no longer the 1970s.Trade unions are way down the list of active dangers this country faces. And they only remain on that list at all because of their help in financing socialism. To the extent that they do. At the present time this country is in far more danger from the antics of BlueLabour and the political/senior bureaucratic scum than from any trade union activity.

  26. FDR refused to allow unions in the Federal government, which reminds you that socialism, or at least his sort of quasi-socialism, can take an anti-union form. You need to be as stupid as Labour to suppose that socialism and trade union power are compatible. Which is roughly what Jim Callaghan concluded.

  27. > This is purely party political. The government has no business interfering in how the unions run themselves internally.

    Nonsense. Giving someone’s money to a political party without their permission is a corruption of democracy. I’d still support this move if the unions all supported the Tories or UKIP.

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