THE PART OF THE UNIONS.
The grip of Corbynistas on the Labour Party is now extending to the trade unions. As they assemble in Brighton this weekend for their Congress, very few unions are backing Owen Smith. They are the GMB, the Shop workers, Community and the Musicians. Unite The Union (I love the arrogance of that title, I bet it goes down well with the others) is remaining loyal to Jeremy Corbyn. The General Secretary Len McCluskey may be too far to the left for the taste of Middle England but he is facing a potential challenge from an even further left opponent when his post comes up for re-election. That helps to explain “the reality” (his favourite phrase) of the position of the biggest union of all.
I’ve had a look at the Brighton agenda and it is full of worthy policy debates on wages and conditions at work. But as the brothers and sisters sit through the debates they may like to reflect that they are wasting their time. They will continue to have an important role in defending workers rights under existing conditions but in respect of legislative change, they and Labour are impotent.
The unions created the Labour Party to form governments which could represent the interests of workers. The last one left office six years ago. Will Labour win in 2020 or even 2025? Unlikely. Why do they think Theresa May has ruled out a snap election? Because she is so confident of controlling this parliament with Labour divided, even with a majority of 12. She can afford to wait to get her 100 seat majority in 2020.
The unions need to put their financial muscle behind a new centre left party capable of winning power for their members.
TOWN CENTRE CRISIS.
I was sad to hear that the famous jewellers, Preston’s of Bolton, is to close. That proud town’s centre is in a real crisis with another traditional store already shutting its doors.
Emotional shop staff blamed the perfect storm of the Trafford Centre and on-line shopping. Downtown backs Business Improvement Districts in places like Liverpool. Bolton is not alone in facing a bleak future unless some imaginative steps are taken to find a new offer to counter the mega shopping and leisure centres and the computer.
The autumn TV season has got off to a great start. ITV’s Victoria plays fast and loose with historical facts (Melbourne was old and fat, not hunky) but the stand out programmes for me so far got less publicity.
Bake Off winner Nadiya Hussain was quite outstanding with her two reports on life in Bangladesh. Her natural open and friendly style, surely means a full career in television beckons.
The second outstanding programme was the latest look at Salford FC owned by ex United legends the Neville Brothers, Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes.
Production teams have to gamble on who to follow as the season develops. They chose an out of form striker who couldn’t get a game but returned to score vital goals to secure promotion. Roy of the Rovers eat your heart out.
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