The Lonely Assassins: UK Labour Party Conference 2012

By DeusExMacintosh

UK labour party conference 2012

New Labour bought into the right wing media’s portrayal of its union backers as “evil”, Unite general secretary Len McCluskey has claimed.

He said the party treated the unions as a “nutty relative” who had to be “kept at arm’s length”.

But its current leadership were moving towards a better understanding of what the unions were about, he told a meeting at the Labour conference.

The Unite leader said the unions were always “on the side of the angels”.

Mr McCluskey has had some harsh words this week for Ed Miliband over the Labour leader’s backing for a public sector pay freeze, saying he was out of touch with ordinary workers.

He repeated his criticism at the Unite fringe, saying it did not make economic sense to cut the wages of low paid workers. But he also made a point of praising Mr Miliband on other issues and described shadow chancellor Ed Balls’ big conference speech as “very, very good”.

He said the party was still not doing enough to fight for the unions, but the era when they were regarded as “evil” was at least over.

“That’s something that seeped into the psyche of the Labour Party. That’s why for many years we were kept at arm’s length – the nutty relative kept up in the attic who could slide cheques under the door every now and then but kept away.”

He said trade unions have “always been a force for good in our society”.

BBC News

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