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Rumble in the TUC

Alan Smith

You’ve got to feel a bit sorry for Ed Miliband.

Not only does he have the physiognomy of a character from Wallace and Gromit, a brother who probably won’t speak to him, he now also has to deal with how the Labour party is funded and supported by the Unions under the watchful gaze of the whole country.

Miliband had to address the Trades Union Congress last week as the gauntlet he had thrown down to the Union barons was challenged by Unite, the UK’s biggest union and the GMB who had slashed its contributions to labour from £1.2 million to just £150K.

As Cameron at Prime Ministers question time put it, Miliband promised a “back me or sack me” powerful ultimatum in his speech, but delivered a fairly innocuous twittering speech talking about nasty Tories, and did not even mention the issue of funding, or that of the unions apparent rigging of candidate selection in Falkirk.

Cameron memorably said that Miliband had threatened Raging Bull, but delivered Chicken Run.

The problem with threatening behaviour is that it often gets the other sides back up. Aggressive behaviour breeds aggressive behaviour.

The GMB’s announcement of the withdrawal of their funding was timed to perfection, just before the conference which fanned the conflict rather than cooled it.

You also need to make sure that you can follow through if your threat is called.

Otherwise you may be found to be far more mouse than man.

Alan Smith

Alan Smith
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