Our Movement is Built on its Values not Money

17th March, 2015 2:09 pm

It was interesting to read the comments of Assem Allam, the notorious chairman of Hull City AFC (note, not the ‘Hull Tigers’), in the Sunday Times complaining about trade union influence in the Labour Party.

Apparently, Mr Allam wants Labour to be “less reliance on trade union money” and is prepared to offer additional donations to cover any “shortfall” if the union link is broken.

I should point out to him that Unite has already donated over £3 million to Labour’s election campaign, so I’m wondering is Mr Allam prepared to match that amount?

He and any other wealthy businesspeople at the Blair Dinner Party, including the very wealthy ex-Prime Minister himself, should know that the issue of Party finance doesn’t crop up once every five years.


The day-to-day running of the Labour Party is sustained by individual membership fees and trade union affiliations. That’s the weekly pennies and pounds of ordinary trade union members.

So my second challenge to those erstwhile businessmen, including Mr Allam is; are you prepared to commit to matching the £1.5 million annual affiliation that Unite contributes to the running of the Party?

I’m pleased that individuals are committing themselves to support Labour (it’s better than them giving money to the Tories), but to pose this as an alternative to trade union affiliation is wrong and dangerous.

They need to understand the historic link with the trade unions. If they don’t, then they will become, like so many wealthy backers in the past, fly-by-night, fair weather supporters who will vanish when the going gets tough.

What is also regrettable about the Sunday Times article is the apparent obsession of the media team around Ed Miliband who are constantly seeking opportunities for Ed to “face down Red Len” and Unite in order to show his macho authority.

They deliberately brief stories (off record of course) in order to create a phoney war between “Miliband v McCluskey”. It’s so transparent and crude, it’s getting tedious.

These minnows should concentrate on the more important task of attacking this government and trying to improve Miliband’s image so we can achieve a Labour victory.

One last thought for our friend Mr Allam. If he has any spare change he may want to make Hull City AFC a living wage club, paying the workers who make match day possible a decent wage.

Len McCluskey is the General Secretary of Unite

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  • Doug Smith

    “making it making it clear to the electorate exactly what Milliband stands for.”

    Miliband did this when he prevented a Unite trade unionist from becoming the candidate for what was the safe seat of Falkirk.

    The Labour elite also share Mr Allam’s ambition for Labour to become less reliant on trade union money and trade union involement. Hence Miliband’s support for state funding of political parties.

    And of course, there’s the decision at last year’s Special Conference to end the collective link to trade unions: by 2020 the Labour Party and the trade unions will be divorced.

    Welcome to your own political party Mr Allam.

  • paul barker

    Given how utterly loyal this site is generally, you might wonder why they give space to McCluskey to attack others in the Party. The answer is that he pays their wages, this site isnt run by volounteers but by paid employees & most of the money comes from Unions.

    • Michael Carey

      This site strikes me as utterly loyal, yes, but also critical, and that’s the tone that McCluskey strikes also. Some wealthy businessman holding back a donation until the trade unions, which have sustained Labour financially and more importantly morally, with their people and their ideas, for a century, have been cut loose is more loyal you suppose?

      ‘Utter loyalty’ is telling this Assem Allam character to stick his money.

    • keith

      I don’t understand, why should loyalty equate to toeing the party line whatever, if you don’t think things are right you should say, and I have always thought Labour List gave everyone from each side of the party a free rein to express their opinions, agree or disagree, open, free speech should not be sacrificed,

    • Dave Postles

      Oh dear, not prepared to listen to the voice of real workers? That sounds very LibDem. Have you returned the Brown money yet?

      • treborc1

        Yes well real workers not what artificial workers , few artificial workers within politicos that’s for sure.

  • Coopercap

    “fair weather supporters who will vanish when the going gets tough”

    Not like Unite then, who would never turn down the tap if they don’t get their way???

    • Doug Smith

      Unite oppose austerity, the Labour Party propose austerity.

      Any fair-minded person would admit that Unite get very little bang for their bucks. My guess is that McCluskey has contributed just enough to get a peerage.

      And that’s about all.

    • Dave Postles

      Unite has organized a demo outside the DWP for Thursday. Gill Thompson, whose brother died as a result of benefit sanctions, will be there with a picture of him, David, and to hand in the petition for a proper inquiry into benefit sanctions. I suspect that the number of Labour MPs in attendance will be countable on two hands. On the four occasions when the unions have organized marches in London, with Unite leading off, Labour MPs have been conspicuous by their absence. Unite gets nothing from Labour.

      • CortexUK

        Unite gets nothing? Disgraceful – they paid good money, they should get what they demand!

        • Canarydan

          Sucks doesn’t it. A democratic movement with nearly 1.5 million members having influence over policy?! What do they think they are doing? Don’t they know that politics works much better when only a handful of multi-millionaires are pulling the strings of the main parties?

          • CortexUK

            Glad you think that bodies have the right to pay for policy. Presumably that is fairly applied across all spectrums?

          • treborc1

            Bloody rubbish and we get a vote on the levy and we can and always have had the right to say no to backing labour with our levy.

          • Dave Postles

            It seems rather strange that apparently Mr Pickering disappears just as Mr CortexUK appears, but perhaps Mr Pickering will reappear.

        • Dave Postles

          Of course, you are apparently not concerned about the number of deaths resulting from benefit sanctions or the fact that the DWP will not publish its own investigation into the matter. Unite works for people. Do you think that the people subject to sanctions are members of Unite?

          • CortexUK

            And neither is Unite. Unite works for Unite.

          • Dave Postles

            Crass comment. You have no idea what Unite does.

          • Dave Postles

            ‘And neither is Unite.’ Now the implication there is that you are not concerned whether people have died because of benefit sanctions.

          • treborc1

            your either UKIP or a Tory.

          • treborc1

            Do not know I’m a member of the GMB Western.

      • loftytom

        Diedas a result of benefit sanctions?

        • Dave Postles

          What’s wrong with you? Don’t you know about David Clapson? More than 200,000 others know about him: here

      • treborc1

        Out side of all DWP offices.

  • Dave Postles

    I’ve just received an e-mail from Iain McNicol requesting donations for getting people to register to vote. How many months has the Unite bus been touring the country to register voters? The Unite twitter feed for ages has been about the bus and registering to vote. The LP has no idea what the unions are doing. Just so sad.

    • treborc1

      Did you have any to purchase Tea Towels.

  • CortexUK

    Union boss uses union-funded political media to attack non-union members. Welcome to 1978.

    • Dave Postles

      It seems to work for The Daily Telegraph and its advertisers.

      • CortexUK

        So, glad you agree with me again. Unite is as bad as the Telegraph and HSBC.

        Boy, you’re easier to switch on than a desk lamp.

        • Dave Postles

          No, you remain in the dark. I didn’t agree with you about Unite; I simply alluded to what the Torygraph does.

  • Sunny Jim

    There are times I wish the Unions would fund a new party with the genuine interests of workers at its heart.

    • Lawrence

      Left Unity is such a party needing funding. When Cameron taunts Ed Milliband across the despatch box that he is in the pocket of his trade union paymasters, Milliband should respond by saying, Yes and I am proud to be a member of and supported by the trade union movement.

      • treborc1

        Miliband is not a member of any Union he has never had a flaming job. so if they are in the pockets of the Unions the Union are doing very little. I emans when was the last time we had a decent pay riser, oh yes sorry from the Tories.,

  • CortexUK

    Of course, this has nothing to do with Red Len’s ex-mistress failing (yet again) to get selected for a Labour seat in Parliament.

    • loftytom

      He has low standards.

  • brokepensioner

    When will people realise that Union Leaders want a high salary, self-importance, representatives of their Unions to be totally committed to what they say, think and order.
    They use their influence to pressure Labour Party Members of Parliament into doing what they say. They like to think they can run the Country through this sort of pressure.
    I wish they would look back a spell to real Union Leaders like Jack Jones , who did things on a much more amicable basis. There is only one thing they all worship, and that is a feeling of power when they order their political levy members out on strike; thus holding up the progress of the rest of the Country. They can afford it, but their members cannot.

    • treborc1

      When did that happen you say your a pensioner are you struggling with memory. Without the Unions I hate to think what pensions and welfare would be now.,

  • David Pickering

    “Our Movement is Built on its Values not Money” Except the millions you give to the Labour party.

    “to pose this as an alternative to trade union affiliation is wrong and dangerous” Hands of my party!

  • Steve38

    ‘I should point out to him that Unite has already donated over £3 million to Labour’s election campaign’

    The very obvious question is ‘why?’ Why does Unite continue to so generously fund the Labour party? It gets nothing in return. The party does nothing for trade unions and their members. If Unite would just pull the plug and let the Labour party drain down the hole then we would all be better off. And if anyone responds with ‘….the minimum wage…’ it will just emphasise the poverty of the party’s contribution to the well being of working people.

    • treborc1

      Now that is a good question , but when I was at a meeting a few years ago we asked about a vote on disaffiliation, but the Union still think labour can be saved,if labour loses the next election I think one of two Union will be asking is it worth staying as labour moves further to the right


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