Response to critics who say that Ed is tied to the Unions

Following the Labour Leadership result, the Willesden and Brent Times contacted me for my thoughts on Ed Miliband being elected new leader of the Labour Party. They did not publish them, so the comments may as well go to use some place, so I will be publishing my responses to their questions on my blog.

What are your views on critics saying that Ed is tied to the Unions?

I think what the ‘tied to the Union claim’ is over exaggerated. It’s worth noting that in the affiliate members section of the Labour Party are not solely from Unions, but votes from BAME Labour, Labour Party Disabled Members’ Group and SERA (Labour’s environment campaign group), also contributed to total votes.

What his vote share amongst the affiliate groups represents is a strong mandate. Union member votes are no longer allocated on a block vote basis. It was therefore individual decisions of tens of thousands of the working men and women, teachers, doctors, nurses, disabled people, ethnic minorities, Labour members as well as Labour elected representatives that took part in this selection process, meaning that more people chose Ed to be leader of the Labour Party than voted for David Cameron to head the Tories or Nick Clegg to lead the Lib Dems. That represents a stronger mandate than any Party leader in the UK can claim.

Tube Strike hits London, but what is our Mayor doing about it?

Huge queues outside bus stops, lots of road traffic; both cars and bikes, and London losing out on £50 million today according to the Daily Mail.

So why the strike?

Well, the strikes are over 800 jobs that are proposed to be axed… yes 800!!!

An estimated 90% of stations affected by the staff reductions will be in outer London. The controversy is that the now Mayor Boris Johnson actively campaigned on a ticket to save jobs at ticket offices, quite deceivingly, as it was never Ken’s intention to leave stations that were under TfL control totally unmanned.

Ken Livingstone highlighted a campaign we championed in Brent in the Harrow Times to highlight the importance of staff at tube stations:

1996 stock used on Jubilee Line by London Unde...
WikiImage

He said, “we had a huge campaign about four years ago because a banker was stabbed to death as he left Kensal Rise station, which was unmanned.

“I gave a commitment that all the stations that came under the control of TfL would have staff in them.

“Nobody wants to come out of the station at 11pm seeing that there’s no one on the platform and no one on the barrier.”

My electoral ward includes two major underground stations on the Jubilee Line (Neasden and Dollis Hill) and borders another (Willesden Green). Leaving these stations unmanned will be an invitation to criminals. Presence prevents crime.

So what has been the Mayor Boris Johnson’s approach?

In the lead up to the strikes, HE DIDN’T EVEN MET THE UNION LEADERS TO NEGOTIATE!!!!!

This is the most barmy part of it all. During the 2008 London Mayoral election campaign, Boris said that he would move to negotiate a no strike deal with the Unions. Yesterday, it emerged that in what is set to be a disruptive ordeal for many Londoners, that he hasn’t even intervened personally to try and strive for a resolution. All we’ve seen from him is some media interviews.

London needs a Mayor that’s about action in this strained economic climate. Not one that leaves the work to his officers. After all, the Mayor of London is a serious role, not a ceremonial one.