I can’t be bothered to challenge Mr Basford’s historical inaccuracies nor wish to denigrate the trade union movement’s immense contribution to improving the welfare of the working masses.
However that’s all in the past. Times have changed.
I could argue Mr Basford’s comments point by point but in the interests of brevity here are just a few…
Currently more than 90 per cent of the Labour party’s funding come from trade unions.
Anyone in their right mind would consider that to be undue influence.
A large proportion of trade union members don’t vote Labour and yet I’m unaware of any substantial donations from the major unions (Unison, GMB, Unite) being given to any other party.
What’s particularly galling is that Unison clearly states that they are not affiliated to any political party.
Not one of these trade unions appears to truly represent the political views of a large number of their own members.
That’s undemocratic, so also unsavoury.
During the recent Labour party conference, Ed Miliband proposed several reforms that would make party voting more democratic by reducing the stranglehold union representatives have on voting, allowing individual party members an increased voice, reducing influence by limiting the size of financial donations... the list goes on.
Without exception, trade unions rejected those proposals and went as far as to refuse direct access to their members so the reasoning behind those proposals couldn’t be effectively communicated
More startling is the reaction from the general secretary of Unite.
He threatened to flood Labour party membership by sponsoring 5,000 activists in an attempt to influence policy and candidate selection.
An appalling example of the abuse of power.
That’s also unsavoury Mr Basford, and borders on the obscene.
Trade unions have the inalienable right to represent the views of their members but their influence over the Labour party has to be curtailed if true democracy is to prevail.