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Sunday, June 26, 2011

Miliband's selective reform

Ed Miliband's determination to extend his own tenuous control over the Labour Party by abolishing shadow cabinet elections may not extend to reducing the power of the union bosses.

This morning's Independent suggests the contrary but closer reading indicates that all that is intended is to reach out to grassroots workers so as to mobilise them for Labour causes.

The paper says the Labour leader said that he wanted to "reach out" directly to three million nurses, call-centre workers, engineers and shop workers who are affiliated union members. They also say that he wants to reduce union influence on policy-making at party conference.

However, not only are there no concrete proposals in the speech to achieve this but also no explicit pledge to change the way that Labour elects its leader. A direct contrast to the shadow cabinet announcement.

The only conclusion that can be drawn from this is that Miliband is talking the talk but has no intention of undermining the union power base that put him in charge. Without that sort of strong and detailed reform he will find it difficult to convince anybody that Labour have changed.
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