There is a fair amount to cover this week, even after my whittling down of an admittedly busy week into a manageable amount of material...
(With) UNITE We Fall...
The big national political story of the week was, without any doubt, the Labour ties with (and dependence upon the financing by) the UNITE Union. The only way Labour leader Ed[ward] Miliband was going to come out of this at all well was by appearing to stand up to the Unions in general, and UNITE in particular.
He has managed to pull off this trick, thus deflating the Conservatives' taunts of 'weak, weak, weak' as their current description of Ed-M.
The truth is, though, that by limiting the opt-in change to just the Labour party affiliation fee, nothing really changes apart from the unions keeping some of that money rather than passing it on. Zero change overall, in fact, as the Financial Times' Jim Pickard has sussed out. Indeed, the Miliband proposed change stands ready to give the unions more power than they have now.
This leaked UNITE briefing note is helpful in calibrating our thinking regarding the outfit's true motivations and intentions.
Labour's past keeps the party stuck in the 'what once was' era, meaning it can never really be a true part of today's world, no matter how much posturing and clever wordplay they apply to their public messages. As Matthew D'Ancona has realised, Ed-M's handling of this tie to the past is absolutely crucial to his and his party's future. So much hangs on this, which is something that very few people seem to realise...
Should the Royal Mail (as distinct from the Post Office, which is a separate organisation) be privatised? City-AM's editor, Allister Heath, not only believes this Coalition Government move is a good one, but thinks it should have been done some twenty years ago. His arguments for this appear to be sound.
It is certainly demonstrably the case that the delay in so doing has left the outfit a lot less able to cope in the market, whereas if the John Major Government had managed to see this one through during their time the situation would be vastly better for the organisation.
Locally, Labour have expressed their (predictable) opposition to the currently planned change; but they are wrong to do so. It might be late, but it is something that really must not be left any longer, as the rapidly-changing market (mostly toward parcel deliveries, especially same-day services) will get even further away from the Royal Mail if it remains in the market's wilderness for much longer.
More Bona Than Jonah
Followers of Guido's anyone but Gordon series of posts, largely featuring Gordon Brown as a Jonah-like character who seems to be able to spoil any sporting types' chances of success simply by his meeting or just mentioning them, might have noticed that the same does not apply to Brown's successor at Number Ten, David Cameron. Instead, Cameron is bringing a genuine involvement and interest with him, such as at the Wimbledon tennis recently, as this tale explains so well.
Yes, Dave is a tennis player himself (and a good 'un, apparently) and is interested – and he didn't put the mockers on Andy Murray either. Lefties are hating this, and a number of their disgusted reactions have been spotted in the usual social media. The colour of envy is green, but their raging faces were no doubt more like red...
Suffering From The Trots
Poor local Labour candidate Tristan Osborne, having been likened (only visually) to the young Leon Trotsky, has been featured in one of the Kent newspapers trying to lay this spectre to rest.
It isn't easy, when in fact there is indeed quite a close resemblance, as this public photograph of the young 'Trot' shows...