For the first time, a major union has put down a marker for the forthcoming Labour Party leadership contest.
At its conference in Bournemouth on 21-26 May, the Communication Workers’ Union voted to support, in the forthcoming Labour Party leadership election, only candidates who support the principles of trade union rights as outlined in the proposed Trade Union Freedom Bill — and who are committed to keeping the Post Office in 100 per cent public ownership.
Proposing the London West End Amalgamated branch motion, London regional secretary John Denton said such a stance was vital if the election of “another neo-Tory to the leadership of Labour” was to be avoided.
It plainly rules out supporting Gordon Brown or any of the “Blair loyalists” mooted in recent months as challengers to Brown. It says that the affiliated trade unions — the active mass base of the Labour Party — will support as Labour leader only someone loyal to some basic working-class policies.
The job now is to win other affiliated unions to this line, and away from their wishful thinking about Gordon Brown secretly being more worker-friendly than Blair. If the unions summon up the will to make a stand, they can prevent Blair staying on, and prevent Brown making his desired “smooth transition” to the same policies under different management.
Since late May Labour politicians have been calling for deputy leader, and deputy prime minister, John Prescott to resign. For sure Prescott should go - but the reason why is not his games of croquet, or his sex life, but that the whole current “neo-Tory” Labour leadership should be cleared out. And soon.