Ray Collins, who is leading Labour’s inquiry into the relationship between the party and its affiliated trade unions, clearly takes criticism on board. Within hours of criticism from LabourList that party members were being left out of the consultation process, he circulated an email to party members thanking them for “hundreds of written submissions” which he claims to have read and which he says “have helped to inform” the report he will deliver to Ed Miliband ahead of a special national executive committee to consider it on 4 February.
In this email, he claims that “the overwhelming consensus is that change is necessary” (though he also adds that there is “huge support for strengthening our link with trade unions“). Could it be that Ray is being economical with the truth? There are several reasons for this:
- His original consultation document was written as if there was no choice but the sort of change Ed Miliband had proposed – as a knee-jerk reaction to what he thought was going on in Falkirk (but does no longer) — and all questions were about how rather than whether it should be implemented.
- We know that all affiliated trade unions, even those most associated with the right of the party like USDAW and Community are very unhappy with what’s being proposed. They see Ed’s proposals as an attack on the trade union link. So surely do most people who want to strengthen that link.
- We understand that NEC members who have read through submissions take a very different view of the submissions as far as the union link is concerned, and also report that there is almost no support for primaries.
There is only one way dispel any doubt about what the party thinks. Publish all the submissions on membersnet. Then we can judge for ourselves.