If you don’t know by now that Unite is proposing to screw up the country with a petrol tanker drivers strike, then you must have been living up a tree with your head inside a bucket.
I don’t want to go into the ins and outs of how well or otherwise the government has been handling – or mishanding – this issue because we can leave that to the Leader of the Opposition, but what I would like you to watch for over the coming days is the things that the Mighty Milipede will NOT be saying about the situation.
I am willing to bet you that he is extremely careful not to condemn the strike – although he won’t, of course, support it either! And this why…
Miliband got his job because of the union block vote and Unite is the third biggest union in the UK, so it had a pretty big say in who got elected. Indeed, Unite is also the biggest single contributor to the Labour Party and have bankrolled Labour with more than £10 million since 2007.
But it goes deeper than than. In 2010, Unite assistant general secretary Diana Holland was elected Labour treasurer, beating John Prescott to the job. The party’s governing committee lists her in its third position of power behind leader Ed Miliband and deputy leader Harriet Harman. Basically, she holds the purse strings of Labour whilst at the same time being a Unite employee.
Do I detect a slight conflict of interests? Well, no – not really. There’s a clear common objective, and that is the control of the Labour party and it’s leadership.
In his campaign for the leadership, Ed Miliband accepted more than £115,000 from Unite with which he eventually beat his brother David.
Indeed, if there is a conflict of interests anywhere in this sad state of affairs, then that conflict resides squarely with Ed Miliband…