Miliband “panicked” says Unison leader

January 18, 2012 5:19 pm

Following criticism from Unite and the GMB, Unison General Secretary Dave Prentis has said that Unison members have had their reason to vote Labour “snatched away”, saying:

“Our members needed hope and a reason to vote Labour. They have been snatched away. In the past year Labour has struggled to get its message across to show that there is an alternative to the Coalition’s savage cuts in our public services and the attack on the living standards of millions of ordinary working people.

“We were told by Ed Miliband to be patient, to prepare for the the long haul and that their economic plans needed to be cautious. And we hoped that, as the economy worsened, Labour’s voice would get louder, more forceful and that Ed Miliband would step up and speak out against the tearing apart of communities and families as they face insecurity and uncertainty.

“But at a time when our members needed him most, he panicked and fell into the trap, ditching overnight a policy that challenged the Coalition. He has decided to embrace a Tory pay policy that hits millions of public service workers, particularly low paid women – care workers, hospital cleaners and dinner ladies, who have already had two years of pay freezes and job losses.

“Ed Miliband’s naivety is breathtaking and his ill-thought-through comments will have unintended consequences. At a time when hard working families are struggling to make ends meet, the very party which they look to to stand by them, has chosen instead to play cheap politics with their lives.”

Unison’s “National Affiliated Political Committee” will meet to “determine the best way to ensure that the Labour Party leadership properly reflects the views of UNISON members, the wider Labour Party membership and those who support Labour.”

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1557475545 Jack Bonner

    Labour needs to gain back it’s economic credibility. All they’ve done is promise to continue a pay freeze, in order to protect public sector jobs. What is the alternative? Pay rises and job losses?

    • Anonymous

      It’s who will be taking this knock. like always it the working class. that what so mind numbing, again the well off the people with contract of work will get away with it.

      But it would have been best to say nothing, but of course labour is worried it’s middle class are turning to the Tories

    • http://twitter.com/Newsbot9 Newsbot9

      No, the alternative is doing things differently. Not accepting the Tory battlefield.

      Not accepting that millions in a generation are scroungers to be written off.

  • derek

    Yes Dave! hard ball it is.

  • Duncan

    What is credible about echoing the government’s discredited economic policy?  Why, in speeches determining not to make any spending commitments for 2015 because we don’t know what the situation will be, have they decided to make one cutting commitment: cutting (in real terms) pay that will by then have been frozen for an extraordinary length of time.

    Show me one piece of evidence that this will save jobs!  Do the government claim that their pay freeze is to save jobs?  No – they’re freezing pay and cutting jobs.  Why accept this one part of the government’s flawed logic (we need to cut – but just dinner ladies’, nurses’, teachers’, etc. salaries) while stating (reasonably) that they can’t commit on other issues?  What is credible about that?  Nothing!

    • Duncan

      (This was meant to be a reply to Jack – not sure what I did wrong…)

      My reply to Dave Prentis would be – you’d know all about Tory traps having walked into a massive one on pensions at Christmas!  But then perhaps I should try not to fall out with EVERYBODY…

    • Anonymous

      The simple fact of the matter labour can only follow it lead, it cannot come out with any reason for people to vote for it,.

      If the country really is this bad, and if we do need to cut the wages of the lowest in society, and Labour has nothing else to offer, then I suspect people will sit at home on voting day. Maybe that is what labour wants so it can battle the Tories with it’s middle class voters and hope for a hung government again.But the labour party can blame the Tories as much as it like the simple truth is you were in charge of this country, you took it into the biggest  down turn in living history and it was you that paid the bankers money without conditions.And you want to hurt the poorest the people at the bottom to save your ass, your bloody joking.As we use to sing when a football manager failed.Miliband Out, Miliband out, and take your mates with you…..

      We need labour to lead not be a heard of sheep following the Tories, you did that for eighteen years it’s time  to have a real labour party

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Peter-Mabon/100000960118043 Peter Mabon

    Oh dear you swallowed the three Big Tory Lies – “Global banking crisis, It’s all Labours fault” – “There is no alternative” – “We’re all in it together”
    The alternative is No Cuts, check out UK Uncut or the CoalitionofResistance. Tax the Rich, Tax the banks, Tax the corporations, No tax avoidance, scrap Trident.

    Rich corporations and individuals collectively get away with dodging £95bn every single year. We are told that there is no alternative to drastic cuts to public services but collecting the tax dodged by the super-rich would render the vast majority of the government’s spending cuts unnecessary. 

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1557475545 Jack Bonner

      Ok, we go after these big corporations and the super rich, what is to stop them holding this country to ransom and going “We’re off now”?

      • Anonymous

        So why have they not gone then……..

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Stephen-Collins/100000033820132 Stephen Collins

      So scrapping Trident (in addition to  putting all the people who build the submarines in Barrow out of work) will make a small dint in the debt. Taxing the rich will send them offshore and then you’ll be forced to tax everyone else instead which will probably lead to you being booted out of office.

      And if you advocate no cuts, why do you want to cut Trident?

      • Anonymous

        It does not!  all it means we will not be buying the new missiles nobody is saying we do not need the subs, mind you the way it’s going they may have to be mothballed for a while, until they can find sailors

    • Anonymous

      Ok we do not fall for the lie so why are labour following that lie, I mean labour has decide cuts are needed but hold on the MFI needs £17 billion  hang on we will check the petty cash yes yes we have that in  the  box in the draw in my office.

      It’s not the people who are falling for this it’s the Labour party.

      As for the Banking yes if you have a light touch to a gang of  bloody crooks in the banks guess what your going to get your fingers burnt.

      Brown removed most of the regulations on the banks and the financial sector so they could make bigger and bigger bucks to  keep Brown in Power it failed.

      Is it labour fault, yes it is

      Banking has failed so we change banking by splitting it, ok we split it then what, that’s it, so your now making two banks, yes but if one goes bust it will not affect us, so the other bank will not try to bail it the other bank, ah no, well yes, well maybe.

  • Anonymous

    Absolutely what’s the point of Labour. I initially supported Ed B but soon afterwards realised Ed M has betrayed the people who got him in. There must have been some room on public wages. Even arguing for a range of pay agreements dependent upon inflation. Ed M won on a union ticket, now they don’t support him. Party members and MP’s mostly voted for David. The public don’t like him. He’s messed up, I hope he resigns soon.

    • Anonymous

      “Party members and MP’s mostly voted for David. The public don’t like him. He’s messed up, I hope he resigns soon.      ”

      Do you really want Banana Man to lead the party?

      • Anonymous

        Not sure but he’s a definite contender.

        • Anonymous

          I begin to feel I am Alice in Wonderland. With respect, you say you are not a Blairite yet you would countenance Blair’s representitive on earth as a replacement, just like Ben Cobley the other day was saying he wasn’t a Blairite yet was asserting that Blair was not venal, and that all he did was done with good intentions and even based on religous faith!

          Incredible.

          If Labour change leader now, it will be perceived as a panic measure and I would be prepared to put money on Labour not winning the 2015 election,

          I agree they don’t stand a great chance now, but after Chris Grayling’s pathetic excuse for record unemployment figures today (worse for 17 years), if things go on as they are, there is a chance Labour could win, but not if they are seen as disunited and disloyal, and changing leaders after less than 2 years would be seen – rightly – as just that.

          • Anonymous

            I’m neither a Blairite or a member of any tribe. Ed is not performing well and has poor ratings. Increased unemployment doesn’t necessarily translate to an increase in Labour votes. I personally believe with a new leader Labours chances of winning will improve. Removing a leader can show party strengh and a grip on reality.

          • Anonymous

            I am not in any “tribe” either Pete, but OK try it your way:

            Stab the current leader in the back and install a new one.

            Then if he or she is not getting any better poll ratings in a couple of years, ditch him/her, and try another.

            Then another….

            The Tories did this with Hague, Duncan-Smith and Howard – and where did it get them, what good do it do them?

            The public are not stupid. They know panic and disloyalty when they see it and they will not reward your new leader with a resounding win at the next election.

            And what a group of people you have to choose from: Balls, Cooper or the other Miliband.

            Personally I feel that your best chance would have been with Andy Burnham in 2010, who has a certain warmth to his personality and isn’t one of the typical Oxbridge production line, but the party made their choice and they should support him instead lof doing him down every day

          • Anonymous

            The next leader not being successful is a risk. Yet I’m convinced Cooper or Dave will be an improvement. The Tories picked duds because their membership are idiots.

          • Anonymous

            “Dave?” – don’t let the pompous little man hear you call him that!. I heard him tlking down to us (“Look!…..”) lecturing us all on Radio 4 last evening and he is definately not a “Dave”

            In all seriousness, for many years I worked in manufacturing, and if you have a product that is not doing well (and politics is much like a product these days), there are several things you can do:

            1) You can increase advertising, but this won’t work if your sales force go round saying you haven’t got a very good product – which is what the shower of discontended Blairites has done, and is doing.

            2) You can withdraw the product, which just confirms to the customer that the product wasn’t a good one, or you can get the salesforce to adopt a sort of nudge, nudge approach (“yes the Mark 1 isn’t very good but just wait for the Mark 2″). The trouble is most customers won’t wait for Mk 2, or they will be suspicious of it, and in either event will go to a competitor

            3) You can leave the product as it is, and just repackage it – put it in a new sleek case, or a bright new box. This may take in some customers, at least for a time, but will make them wary of your product in future when they see there is no real improvement

            or, best option:

            4) Iron out the problems, correct any faults and demonstrate that the product has been improved thanks to customer feedback. You demonstrate that you have faith in the product and are going to keep improving it.

            I think Labour would be well advised to go with option 4, but it seems a lot of you, Pete, are going for option 2 or option 3.

            The fact is there is very little difference in what Ed Miliband or any of his would-be rivals are offering – just a matter of presentation (the case or box). You might stand more chance with persevering with and improving what you have rather than 2 years in adopting the panic measure you advocate.

            You say ” The Tories picked duds because their membership are idiots”

            If you pick somebody who is no better than the current incumbant, and is even less known to the public at large.

            In the Tories defence, their members were not idiots, it is just that they wanted a Thatcher clone at a time when the public didn’t want the same thing. Ken Clarke would have been more electable but out of cussedness they chose who they did. In Smith they did get a real dud, granted.

            It seems to me a lot of Labour figures hanker after a new Blair – David Miliband is the obvious candidate, but the original left office half a decade ago now, and I really don’t see any evidence that they want the days of glossy spin and warmongering again, levened with a bit of showbiz and football.

          • Anonymous

            I liked you’re comparison to products, correctly identifying a new leader would have to other an improved product. I’m sure many of the potential leaders can do this. Clearly Dave Miliband has been tarnished by his relationship with Blair. If he did run again we can assess if he has something new to offer.

          • Anonymous

            “Dave?” – don’t let the pompous little man hear you call him that!. I heard him tlking down to us (“Look!…..”) lecturing us all on Radio 4 last evening and he is definately not a “Dave”
             
            In all seriousness, for many years I worked in manufacturing, and if you have a product that is not doing well (and politics is much like a product these days), there are several things you can do:
             
            1) You can increase advertising, but this won’t work if your sales force go round saying you haven’t got a very good product – which is what the shower of discontended Blairites has done, and is doing.
             
            2) You can withdraw the product, which just confirms to the customer that the product wasn’t a good one, or you can get the salesforce to adopt a sort of nudge, nudge approach (“yes the Mark 1 isn’t very good but just wait for the Mark 2″). The trouble is most customers won’t wait for Mk 2, or they will be suspicious of it, and in either event will go to a competitor
             
            3) You can leave the product as it is, and just repackage it – put it in a new sleek case, or a bright new box. This may take in some customers, at least for a time, but will make them wary of your product in future when they see there is no real improvement
             
             
            or, best option:
             
            4) Iron out the problems, correct any faults and demonstrate that the product has been improved thanks to customer feedback. You demonstrate that you have faith in the product and are going to keep improving it.
             
             
            I think Labour would be well advised to go with option 4, but it seems a lot of you, Pete, are going for option 2 or option 3.
             
            The fact is there is very little difference in what Ed Miliband or any of his would-be rivals are offering – just a matter of presentation (the case or box). You might stand more chance with persevering with and improving what you have rather than 2 years in adopting the panic measure you advocate.
             
            You say ” The Tories picked duds because their membership are idiots”
             
            If you pick somebody who is no better than the current incumbant, and is even less known to the public at large.
             
            In the Tories defence, their members were not idiots, it is just that they wanted a Thatcher clone at a time when the public didn’t want the same thing. Ken Clarke would have been more electable but out of cussedness they chose who they did. In Smith they did get a real dud, granted.
             
            It seems to me a lot of Labour figures hanker after a new Blair – David Miliband is the obvious candidate, but the original left office half a decade ago now, and I really don’t see any evidence that they want the days of glossy spin and warmongering again, levened with a bit of showbiz and football.
             
             

          • Anonymous

            We are seeing a battle for the middle class, that all this is, but of course the Tories can just wait bide it’s time, I suspect Ed thinks he has to act now, or it could be he’s out  like brown and the 90 day detention he must prove he’s the boss.

            On the other hand all this may well be bull and the Union  are in this little act,  go on Ed you have a go at us it will show the voters  your not in our debt.

            But of course this year labour will be needing the Unions millions to keep going, and as we head toward the next elections they will be demanding we pay our Union levy to them so they can spend it.

            god knows what is going on and to be honest i do not really care.

          • http://twitter.com/Newsbot9 Newsbot9

            They can’t win because they can’t muster the numbers. The left won’t vote for them now. Not after the backstabbings.

  • Anonymous
    • Anonymous

      Don’t place to much credence on what Hodges says – he is a Blairite asslicker. Like other minor journalistic talents his hobbyis biotching against ERd Miliband because he is not his brother.

      • Anonymous

        But it’s looking like whom ever is giving Miliband his idea’s may well also be a New labour type, and he falling for it

    • Anonymous

      That will not be helping the Tories will it, I suspect they are praying he comes through it, if he wakes  up smells the Red Rose then perhaps he might be worth saving, sadly I think the new labour brigade have him.

  • Anonymous

    Actually whether you agree with him or not, Dave Prentis has a point  – Ed Miliband has been panicked, and it isn’t surprising. You have pain in the necks Hodges and Rentoul holding forth in the press – in the latter case on an almost daily basis. Minor “Labour” and ex-Labour characters even on LL going on about Twitter errors and the like, and the constant message of the press in general.

    I guess he feels that in order to safeguard his own position -to get old has-beens like Alan Jolhnson to be supportive, then he has to do whatever it takes.

    In my own opinion, I think he is wrong to cave in to the bully boys within and without Parliament. He shouldn’t be frightend opf upsetting the rmaining Blairites in the autumn of their (political) lives – as regards his daily pasting from Rentoul part time journalist, part time lecturer – well  – diddn’t G B Shaw have it? – “those who can do, those who cant, teach”

    He needs to take stock – to decide what he really believes in for himself. If he doesn’t agree with Ed Balls, then he should replace him as Shadow Chancellor – I honestly don’t think Balls has much credence within the party, and certainly not outside it.

    Above all, he must not make the mistake Blair made – he felt he could do what he liked with the unions because (he  believed) they had nowhere else to go.   Well of course they do, and they will. I rather suspect that some of the 99 seats Blair lost in 2005 was due to union members finally turning their backs  on a man who only had time for them when the party needed their money.

    You have to give people an incentive to vote for you, and Ed Miliband at the moment isn’t

    • Anonymous

      Minimum wage, better union rights, improved public sector pay. All under Blair and I’m not even a Blairite.

      • Anonymous

        Minimum wage yes, but I am not sure the unions would agree they had “better rights”

        • Anonymous

          Today’s min wage sees a person take home pay of about £176 a week.

          If you pay council tax and rent, then your about £76 in your pocket unless you have a mortgage of course. yes working class are far better off under new labour.

          • Hugh

            “Today’s min wage sees a person take home pay of about £176 a week.”

            How did you work that out? £6.08 an hour x 37 hour week = c£225, which is about £198 after tax, ignoring any credits or benefits they might be entitled to.

          • Anonymous

            And then your living next door to your job how bloody lucky can you be.

          • Hugh

            I still think £186 understates it. As I say, as far as I can tell full time work pays a minimum of £198 a week.

            It’s not a lot, you’re right, but it’s worth being clear about the facts. I’m not sure what the “living next door to your job” bit is about, I’m afraid.

        • Redshift

          They probably would – but they would also emphasise that it was by no means enough and still leaves British workers with the worst rights in Western Europe.

  • jaime taurosangastre candelas

    I have been forcefully told on LL told of the existential link between the unions and Labour, so accepting that as true I have to wonder what on earth has happened in the past fortnight.  There was the new year re-launch of Ed which like the Italian ship is now on its’ side, and now 3 union leaders in just over 24 hours are making increasingly direct threats (there is no other way of reading Mark’s last paragraph – it is almost Stalinist).  I can only assume that there were behind-the-scenes discussions between Ed’s team and the unions, but those discussions came to nothing.

    It is a high gamble for both Ed Miliband and the unions.  Can Labour cope with the worst outcome (no more funding from the three biggest donors), and can the unions cope with having no political support if they choose to become more militant?  Either way, it appears to be a political argument that neither side would have chosen to hold in public, unless there was some fundamental disagreement.

    • Anonymous

      “and can the unions cope with having no political support ”

      That is just the problem – the unions already feel they don’t have the support of Labour, and to be frank, they haven’t really had the support of Labour for many years now, since the days when Blair was omnipotent and everyone was kept in check by the two rottweilers Mandy and Campbell.

      Ed Miliband has upset the unions and he has no lickspittles like Mandy to pour the poision.

      • Anonymous

        I think this is more about political guile, if Miliband had any then he would have been able to say what he did in such a way that people would think well he’s talking about everyone not just the working class again, but he did not.

        The fact is labour has chased the middle class for so long they cannot now not be New labour.

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mike-Homfray/510980099 Mike Homfray

          The middle class are a clear majority whatever way you look at it, though. And given the Unions are strongest in the public sector don’t they too represent the middle classes? Teaching is highly unionised, for a start

    • Anonymous

      Jaime, Labour and the unions often fall out, for example, the Winter of Discontent in the 1970s and In Place of Strife in the 1960s.  They are like squabbling relatives who make up when everyone calms down. 

      ‘The Contentious Alliance’ by Lewis Minkin is a very good book about the relationship in the 1970s and 1980s if anyone is interested. 

  • Mike Homfray

    Incoming governments always have to start from where they inherit. There is precisely no sign that the Tory policies are working so to amass a huge list of promises will only disappoint. Ed Balls has not said there will be no spending but that he cannot simply restore all cuts and that job creation must be a higher priority than wage rises. I can’t see anything outrageous about any of those things.

    • http://twitter.com/Newsbot9 Newsbot9

      Oh yes, it’s acceptable to accept the enemy’s order of battle. His battlefield. His weaponry. His tactics.

      Then claim you’re different. No, this is an abandonment of the Left. The Trade Unions know this.  The PLP know this, they’re moving on the CLP’s to ensure that they’ll keep the cash and buildings if they disaffiliate.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mike-Homfray/510980099 Mike Homfray

        The British political system operates on the basis of incrememntal change, so, unfortunately, you can’t set the stage at which you take over. If the previous government have caused such a mess that initially at least, there will have to be some prioritising, this isn’t anything new.

        Its not that unreasonable not to promise a blanket reinstatement of all cuts made, because the situation in 2015 wikll be different and priorities will need to be reconsidered at that stage.

        But on the principle of whether wage rises or job creation and service provision should be prioritised, I think this hasn’t particularly displayed the ‘leftness’ of the unions,. but their primary role as advocates for their members .

        • Redshift

          I agree to a point – but why does that mean that we should state that we support pay restraint that will be implemented by this government in this parliament? Clearly if things are really up shit creek if/when Labour take power in 2015 there will be hard decisions to be made but why are we supporting a coalition policy that is essentially at odds with what our leadership’s argument that Tory cuts are sucking demand out of the economy and harming growth? 

          For that reason I can accept the ‘we won’t be able to reverse all the cuts’ (at least say in one parliament) argument BUT I find accepting this part of coalition policy during this parliament far more problematic. 

          If the argument was that we need to find other ways of promoting social justice other than simple government spending – then the policy announcement should have been a positive example of that – rather than the very negative announcement we got instead which was obviously going to piss off the unions and many of our supporters. Put simply – ON WHAT MORON’S ADVICE WAS THIS MESSAGE FORMULATED?

        • http://twitter.com/Newsbot9 Newsbot9

          Nonsense, I’m afraid. The British political system is very well suited to sweeping changes, thanks to parliamentary sovereignty.

          This is a complete surrender to the Tory agenda and the Tory’s economic system. Moreover, creating ever-more jobs where the state needs to prop up wages because they’re so low-paid is at best foolish.

      • Anonymous

        We are already seeing with Scotland saying it’s  Scottish labour movement, Wales has named it’s self the Welsh labour party.

        Perhaps England should call it’s self “The Middle class party”  Sounds  good the Party of the Middle class

    • Anonymous

      Well  lets see who made the biggest mess of the country.

      The labour party.

      Who are making it worse

      The Tories

      So who do you vote for the one that caused the mess, or the one who are adding to it.

      Answer neither.

  • Anonymous

    See Greece to night, bloody hell, they have said tonight that the UK has to find billions for the IMF. This means the UK will give £17 billion plus.

    we do not have any money we are broke according to the Government we will not need to borrow it.

    I think the people will start to think hold on a minute where is this money coming from and who is it being taken from.

    This month our council has decided to help a local charity by giving it a  shop tax rent free, it will help the disabled with  food parcels the last time was in 1983/4 the miners strike the time before this the first world war and after.

    Who took us into this mess some will say labour, labour will say the Tories, but one thing for sure it was politicians.

  • Dave Postles

    Incomes policy.
    It is possible to reconcile the unions and Labour policy.  You assume a 1% increase on the total salary bill.  You then divide that by the number of employees (of whatever kind and level).  Each employee receives the same flat-rate increase (£x).  By that method, you weight the increase to the lowest paid, who may then receive more than 1%.  It erodes differentials, but tough in tough times.  The highest earners are best placed to absorb the erosion.  I’ve actually always thought that % increases across the board are unsatisfactory.  It is, moreover, a counter-balance to the situation in the private sector where top pay accelerates and low pay is cut even further.  Nor would I advocate the sort of policy of Heath with a mixture of flat rate + limited %.  Let’s stick with flat rate increases for all.  For the union side, management is usually not in the union because of conflicts of interest anyway.
    The practical issue is graduates.  They will suffer somewhat as their £21-22k will not be awarded the highest rate increase in % terms at a time when they are repaying their student loans.  At least, however, they will have a job.
    Take a look at that resolution, please.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mike-Homfray/510980099 Mike Homfray

    But we aren’t accepting it now. Still too far, too fast, but the outcome of their policies over 5 years will mean taking over a far worse situation.

    It really isn’t that difficult 

    • http://twitter.com/Newsbot9 Newsbot9

      It’s not accepting it no, it’s surrendering to it.

      There are NO suggestions of how to do things differently. NO indication of substantive opposition. It’s writing off millions – which is FULLY in line with the “scrounger” rhetoric which has come out of Labour.

      Centralists like you might think that’s fine. The Left needs to go it’s own way now, that’s all.

  • Davidbrede

    Our members needed hope and a reason to vote Labour! Everyone needs that and our leaders have forgotten that in their speeches and interviews. 

  • Georgiou332

    My non labour party lefty mates always advocate a new labour party constituted by the unions

    after this latest unsanctioned twaddle I agree with them

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