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Unite slashes funding to Labour by £700k – around 10% – in shot across bows of Starmer’s right turn

Len McCluskey: shot across Starmer’s bows

The UK and Ireland’s biggest trade union has fired a warning shot across the bows of Keir Starmer’s hard turn to the right by slashing around £700,000 a year from its funding to the Labour Party and cutting the number of Unite members affiliated to the party by half – some 50,000.

A Unite source said the decision was because Labour’s leadership is ‘just not listening’. Unite general secretary Len McCluskey had warned two months ago that funding was to be reviewed, after Starmer’s decision to dole out around £600,000 to ‘whistleblowers’ in a case Labour’s lawyers said it was likely to win – and that the union’s support must not be ‘taken for granted’. The warning has not been heeded.

Unite is Labour’s biggest donor. Following an exodus of members appalled at the party’s direction under Starmer, Labour had already begun handing round the begging bowl to wealthy former donors. The prospect that further cuts will follow if Starmer continues his swing rightwards is a very real one, with McCluskey telling the BBC’s Newsnight:

I have no doubt if things start to move in different directions and ordinary working people start saying, ‘well, I’m not sure what Labour stand for’, then my activists will ask me, ‘why are we giving so much money’?

The money cut from Unite’s donations to Labour is expected to be rerouted to left-wing grassroots organisations.

With contests underway for the leadership of GMB and Unison, until now dominated by the right, Labour’s new centrist regime could be facing a serious crisis if the left succeeds in rallying behind good candidates.

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57 comments

  1. If you are unhappy with the direction the party are going in, and wish to use your membership muscle to contest this, cutting your membership affiliation and thus your conference voting power, seems an odd way to do this.

    1. In McCluskey’s place how would you use your membership muscle to push Labour back on course?
      Given that conference was essentially a discussion- and vote-free beauty parade?

      1. Most left Labour members will be delighted with Len McCluskey and Unite’s decision here.

        A psychological operation to demotivate and desolate democratic socialist members – and cause them to leave the Party- has deliberately been instigated by Starmer since his appointment. The trilateral billionaires probably insist on it. They are not friends of Labour or workin class people. They are their antagonist. Between 80 and 100,000 left members have already suspended their membership and many more were Intending to shortly after the NEC election.

        So, I am pleased that our largest affiliated union has a leader with the political intelligence to recognise this and act accordingly

        Thank you Len McCluskey.

    2. How can a Trade Union cut the number of its members who ‘chose’ to be affiliated to the Labour Party. You can choose to opt out but how can it be a leadership decision?

      1. I think it goes back to the changes imposed on Unite by Labour leader Miliband after the usual suspects (the centrist liberal/neoliberal right) engineered and falsified the Falkirk Fiasco. (OMOV and an agreed amount of affiliated members).

      2. Good point Steve. But that is the reality of trade union democracy. When the General Secretary is elected, he is The King. All power to his ego.
        King McCluskey is not happy with the way things are. To show his discontent he has decreed that The Union will cut its support to The Party. But in doing so he is now persona non grata in the Labour kingdom. The turbulent priest has rid himself.
        What a result for Sir KS. Crack open the bubbly.

      3. “When the General Secretary is elected, he is The King”

        McCluskey’s ‘mandate’ is the votes of less than 6% of Unite’s membership.

  2. When I cancelled my Unite membership I decided that the subscription that I used to pay to Unite would be much better spent if I donated it direct to the Labour Party.

    1. So how long were you a member of Unite Steve, and when did you decide to cancel it? And what specifically led you to believe that your subscription would be better spent if you donated it directly to the Labour Party?

      Anyway, I wonder if the £700,000 cut in funding had anything to do with Starmer and Co paying out £600,000 to, on the one hand, someone who made a Goebbels-type program about Jeremy and Ken and the left membership etc and, on the OTHER hand, to many of the people who participated in such a black op propaganda hatchet job, a hatchet job that consisted of nothing but lies and falsehoods and smears from start to finish, AND who actively worked against Jeremy from within, doing all they could to undermine and sabotage his leadership AND the possibility of him (and the left) winning a general election and becoming PM and carrying out his program as such.

      It wouldn’t surprise me if it WAS, and quite right TOO if that is the case!

      1. I thought I’d do a quick search to see how widely this is being reported in the MSM and HOW they were reporting it, and came across the following from August 3rd, which as good as confirms that the cut in funding WAS as a consequence of Starmer and Co paying damages (or ‘rewards’, as they no doubt REALLY were!) to John Ware and the so-called whistleblowers:

        Unite chief Len McCluskey ramps up threat to cut Labour funding over Keir Starmer’s ‘reckless’ payout to anti-Semitism whistleblowers

        https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8587351/Unite-chief-Len-McCluskey-ramps-threat-cut-Labour-funding.html

      2. Oops, I just read the above article again, and it actually mentions the payout AND strongly implies that it was a significant factor in Unite cutting its funding!

      1. Given your own history, you obviously feel well qualified to answer on behalf of the ‘misfits’.

    2. Reply to Steve H
      As a lifelong trade union lay activist I deeply resent people who are not union members but who avail of all the benefits the union gains in the workplace. These people boast they don’t believe in this or that aspect of the union but are first in the queue with their hand out when the union negotiates a pay rise or other advantage for the workforce. If you wish to donate to the Labour party by all means do so but it is not right that you should cancel your union subs and allow your work colleagues to pay for your representation at negotiating level.
      Also union membership is not just about benefitting from negotiated pay rises and other negotiated improvements to terms and conditions. Its about representation at grievance, disciplinary and other hearings in addition to free legal advice etc. If you ever get into trouble in your workplace you needn’t go running to the party for help and as you are no longer a union member you will have to face a possibly hostile management without any support whatsoever I strongly advise you for your own sake (as well as that of your workmates who are having to carry you) to reconsider your decision to leave your union.

      1. Smartboy – Thanks for your ‘teaching granny to suck eggs’ lecture (I’m sure everyone is suitably impressed by your knowledge and commitment). Also thanks for your valuable and sound advice, however I have little to fear from the loss of union representation because due to ill health I retired from the workforce some years ago.

      2. Steve H I didn’t reply in the terms I did to impress anyone I just said what I truly feel and to be absolutely honest it really sickens me when workers leave the union for whatever reason and continue to reap the benefits paid for by others via their union dues. I take it you are a retired member so I’m glad this does not apply to you. In relation to teaching my granny to suck eggs – I wouldn’t dream of it.

    3. SteveH: “When I cancelled my Unite membership I decided that the subscription that I used to pay to Unite would be much better spent if I donated it direct to the Labour Party.”

      Aww, trust me to get it backwards – when the Tories bought the leadership for Starmer I cancelled my Labour membership and joined Unite.
      D’oh

  3. Unite should withdraw all funding and recognise that Labour is finished and cant even be fixed by a leadership challenge.Starmer et al only really want corporate donations anyway

    1. Maybe Unite should INSIST that a new (subgroup) of PLP MPs is formed. It could be called “LABOUR SOCIALIST CAMPAIGN GROUP” and become organised as a separate and distinct “party” with the PLP, ie exist as a separate and distinct political “brand” WITHIN The Labour Movement. It could sit (sometimes uncomfortably) within the broader PLP, maintaining the option to act independently of the right wing liberals and their friendship of likudism, neoliberalism and assorted billionaires.

      I’d be VERY happy with such a development. Labour would then be a “broad church “ and a political home of which new (billionaire-backed) management cannot bar and evict at will.

      What do you think Len?

    2. bill
      Agree in that there is no recognisable candidate on the left that we can all rally around
      JC came out of left field, fix that and Temporary Embarrassment is gone

  4. But, but, but, Labour’s in the best place with all the money poring in from the largest membership ever……..isn’t it?

    1. Yep. That’s right!

      There’s an enormous, almost prodigious queue of people stretching right around the block – in every town – practically climbing over each other, and well-nigh on the verge of stampeding to be the first to make their oblations to their ‘almighty’ .

      It’s unprecedented, I tells ya. The largesse is rolling in so fast; and the party’s become that replete under his perspicacious dictum that stammer can’t even give it away quickly enough.

  5. When Labour doing much better in the polls and actually looking like they stand a chance of forming a govt it’s obviously the best time to cut your influence in the party.

    1. Reducing funding doesn’t necessarily cut Unite’s influence – the opposite could be the case.
      Threatening to reduce it and then not doing so could be seen as an empty threat.
      Labour now knows it wasn’t.
      When Labour feels the pinch it may very well negotiate changes in its behaviour to get the funding back – and if Unite at some point threatens to withdraw the whole 7 million it will be believed.
      Labour has a tradition of taking things for granted. Ask Scotland and ‘the heartlands’.
      Unite’s members might even, if Labour no longer looks worker-friendly, especially in straitened circumstances post-Covid, demand the levy be ditched for good.
      Deeply in debt again Labour might look back at the Corbyn years with nostalgia.

  6. “The polls” don’t mean Jack shit when you don’t have any policies, no one knows the name of anyone in the shadow cabinet and can only remember Sunak’s opposite number as a demented looking female Worzel Gummage.

    1. Interesting personal comments directed at a female. Did you put your brain in gear before hitting the keyboard ?

      1. I am a female and quite agree. I responded to an earlier post from ‘Lundiel’ where she (it now turns out) made a disparaging remark along the lines of ‘Northern working class old man’ which annoyed me as I am a ‘Northern working class old woman’! Sad really, because I think ‘Lundiel’ and I are actually on the ‘same side’ so to speak.

      2. Dear Julia
        I have the right to straight talking (rude in your book) if I wish, just as passive aggressive people who politely tippy-toe around rudeness have every right to do so.
        You have also taken my comments to the toffee out of context, I happen to be on the same page as him in everything other than coronavirus response. Also, I am definitely not on the same side as anyone who would vote for Labour under Starmer.
        Many thanks for your thoughts.
        Linda

      3. Lundiel – “I have the right to straight talking (rude in your book) if I wish”

        Personally I’m struggling to see how it can ever be acceptable to demean anyone because of their physical characteristics.

  7. Len McCluskey is part of the reason Labour has veered to the right and ended up with Starmer as Leader. He supported adoption of the IHRA definition which put all Labour members in peril of expulsion and gave ammunition to those he is now complaining about for receiving inexcusable payouts. He also opposed open selection.

    1. Len McCluskey may not be as left wing as some of us – including me – would like, but he’s clearly not as right wing as Starmer would like.

    2. He gave amunition to those he is now complaining about….. Well maybe in your warped mind that ALWAYS does its utmost to find fault where there is none. Well at least yur getting paid for churning out yur shite!

      Blame anything and anyone but yur chums in the fascist owned and/or controlled MSM eh!

      1. White Flag Man, my only payment is exposing those such as your self who continually try to deflict attention from those in the Labour Party who are acting for existential interests.

      1. Thanks Steve, Skwarwky appears to have relented. Maybe it’s because I bribed him with a fiver 🙂.

  8. Very good meeting of Unite Northen members last night. There were the activists and people who see what’s going on

  9. And of course don’t leave Labour. It will delight the establishment and make things harder for others in the movement for democracy and socialism

  10. Starmer, the Leader who McCluskey, by his actions detrimental to Jeremy Corbyn, helped to install was instrumental in the present dire predicament of Julian Assange. Join John Pilger and others in this live meeting:

    https://wp.me/piCVN-1mc

    1. The following clips are from a Belfast Telegraph article published on August 16th 2018:

      Union boss Len McCluskey has called on the Labour Party to adopt the full International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism.

      But the Unite general secretary, writing for HuffPost UK, prefaced his comments with a blistering attack on Jewish community leaders for what he called their “intransigent hostility” to Mr Corbyn.

      Mr McCluskey said the problem of anti-Semitism in the party was “not manufactured” but had “certainly been wildly exaggerated”.

      He said: “I am at a loss to understand the motives of the leadership of the Jewish community – the Board of Deputies, the Jewish Leadership Council and the Jewish Labour Movement.”

      Mr McCluskey said the “more Corbyn has personally sought to build bridges” with the Jewish community, “the worse the rhetoric has become”.

      He added: “What is the response from the leading Jewish community organisations to this record of reaching out, of understanding, and of action? Intransigent hostility and an utter refusal to engage in dialogue about building on what has been done and resolving outstanding difficulties.

      “I therefore appeal to the leadership of the Jewish community to abandon their truculent hostility, engage in dialogue and dial down the rhetoric, before the political estrangement between them and the Labour Party becomes entrenched.”

      Mr McCluskey, calling for the IHRA definition to be adopted, said: “Clearly, it would have been far better for the party to have adopted at least ten of the eleven IHRA examples in their original wording.

      “It would be for the best if all eleven were now agreed, so the party can move on.”

      But he warned there remained “free-speech problems” with the example concerning “Israel as a racist endeavour”.

      The attacks and the vitriol against Jeremy and the LP for not adopting the definition AND all the examples had been going on for several months by this point in time AND on an almost daily basis, and Len McCluskey obviously realised that it was just going to continue on and on until the LP DID adopt the definition and all the examples. Jack T knows this of course, but he is ALWAYs looking for ways to discredit and falsely blame someone for something AND, in THIS instance, come up with something NEGATIVE about Len so as take away from the plaudits for Len (and the Unite executive) for cutting their funding by £700k – ‘well it’s all McCluskey’s fault that Jeremy lost the GE and Starmer is now the leader blah, blah, blah’!.

      He does it on a regular basis, and the reason he does so is because he’s a paid shill, and THAT is very much part of his MO!

      https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/uk/union-boss-mccluskey-calls-on-labour-to-adopt-ihra-definition-of-anti-semitism-37223532.html

      1. So Howard,we must adopt any measures ,policies or actions that our enemies want, if they push hard and long enough, You have said some daft things here at times, but that is surely the most ridiculous.

      2. White Flag Man, on a number of occasions, you have accused me of being paid to post comments. Who is it you think is paying me? Tell the readers, I’m sure they would like some of your inside information.

      3. Come on Howard, White Flag Man, you seem to have gone shy on us which is not at all like you. Tell everyone who, according to you, is paying me to post here, comments critical of those who have let down Labour Party members.

  11. Back to the day job
    Do what it takes to win NEC and Union Elections
    When you have them by the balls, then surely their hearts and minds will follow

  12. Keir Starmer will be doing a jig when he gets this news. Len McCluskey has decided to cut the Unite contribution (big deal 10%) and in so doing has given Starmer one less embarrassment to worry about. He was, an awkward problem to KS. But because of his petulance he is now a nobody on the Labour Party scene. What a result. Handed to Starmer on a plate.

    1. It may be that the cut was limited to 10% as a shot across the bows.
      If you only want a pirate ship to change its course you don’t sink it with the first salvo.

  13. qwertboi
    07/10/2020 at 8:30 am ,

    I think you have the telescope round the wrong way.
    McCluskey through his petulance here (700 bags? come on. Its the price of a 3 bedroom bungalow) has handed KS a major gift. He is now no longer on the stage. He is a gone. Celebrate good times.

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