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Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Labour versus the unions

There are signs of a new realism permeating the ranks of Labour today as the Independent reports that Ed Balls, the shadow chancellor, was booed and heckled by public sector union delegates when he refused to promise that a Labour government would give them the pay rises they have been demanding.

This will clearly go down well in middle England, but where does it leave Ed Miliband, who was elected on the back of a union block vote? And if there is a renewed campaign of industrial action over job cuts pay and pension in the coming months, in direct defiance of the wishes of the Labour leadership, will the public consider them responsible anyway?

All the signs are that no matter how much Ed Balls and Ed Miliband pull to the right in the hope of winning election in 2015, the unions will swallow their disappointment and back them anyway on the basis that they cannot be any worse than the current government. Somebody must have wiped their memories of the Blair/Brown years.

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