Sources close to the Labour leadership, as the media like to put it, let it be known at the end of last year that leader Ed Miliband wanted to distance himself from the unions.
A letter from Ray Collins, the outgoing Labour general secretary, then emerged that made this clearer by proposing a cap on political donations of £500.
He wrote, “A financial cap of this kind would at a stroke significantly reduce their [the unions’] influence over policy. At the very least, therefore, the latest proposal shows that Mr Miliband sees beyond these parochial considerations and understands that it is undemocratic for his, or any, party to be so wholly dependent on a single financial source.”
Within a day the sources had backed off saying, “This is not about the unions, and to say that Ed wants to sever the link with the unions is wrong.”
Despite losing support by being right wing in government, Labour’s leaders think that the way to get back into office is to be right wing in opposition.
Instead of disappearing, the Blairites have become louder.
Shadow cabinet member Douglas Alexander argued in the Guardian, “While it might be nostalgic for some to believe that the poll tax riots and civil unrest brought down the last Tory government—it’s not true.”
He added that there wasn’t “an excuse for any of us in the Labour Party to deny the need for difficult decisions on public expenditure”.
Labour should be standing up to the cuts, backing the trade unionists that fund the party—and encouraging the resistance that many of their members are involved in.