Dave Prentis’ big speech at UNISON conference was full of fine words about “no more blank cheques for New Labour” and he promised to suspend funding to UNISON-backed Labour MPs. This is far too little, too late. When New Labour are carrying out a 15% cut in NHS funding – meaning tens of thousands of jobs being lost and yet more cuts to an already overstretched health service. I am writing about the NHS, as that is where I work, but elsewhere in the public sector 350,000 jobs are under threat.
I think this underlines the need for a new party to represent ordinary people. I think UNISON should give money to a political fund, not to feed the New Labour hand that bites workers, but to build a real alternative voice for working people.
In the meantime, how much will Prentis’ speech actually represent? Around £100,000 a year. This is a drop in the ocean, compared to the massive funding given by the major trade unions to New Labour.
There is good news, however – many unions have an opt-out clause – all you have to do is email them saying you don’t want to give to New Labour. Visit Plaid Cymru’s page here for a simple form (I am not a Plaid Cymru supporter by the way!).