THE BLOG

They're Loading the Dice, We're Telling It How It Is

15/01/2016 23:13 GMT | Updated 15/01/2017 10:12 GMT

Well the unionstogether campaign has certainly hit the headlines! As the Trade Union Bill commenced its Second Reading in the House of Lords, the Guardian newspaper ran our campaign against the silencing of the trade unions' political voice across its front page.

Our key arguments were made again and again on the floor of the House of Lords, as not only Labour but both Liberals and Crossbench peers lined up to attack the political aspects of the Trade Union Bill as 'authoritarian', 'unjustified', and 'worrying'. One peer, Lord Tyler, a former Liberal MP for North Cornwall, went so far as to put a motion down calling for the political clauses of the Bill to be withdrawn.

Although that motion didn't go to the vote, it has now been superseded by a Labour motion that calls for Clause 10 and 11 to be looked at in more detail by a Select Committee of the House of Lords. Given that this Committee must be politically balanced, it seems this will be an opportunity for this part of the Bill to be looked at properly and fairly - not pushed through by an ideological Conservative Party, hell-bent on loading the dice in their own favour.

What is clear is that all the voices on the unionstogether campaign team - and yep, that means our activists who share graphics, tweet, lobby your MP and turn up to our campaign events - are making a difference here in Westminster.

Conservative Ministers are starting to squirm under the scrutiny. Their current line, delivered by Minister Nick Bowles, is that the Bill is about 'employment and industrial relations' and that 'Therefore no assessment has been made in relation to the impact on the finances of any political party."

Really?! So the Tories hadn't noticed that the Bill was about to deliver massive financial damage to Her Majesty's official opposition? Accept that at face value and they look incompetent... if you don't accept it at face value, it just looks sinister.

Tory 'sources' claim that a manifesto commitment to 'seek agreement' on Party Funding has nothing to do with plans to strip Labour's affiliated trade unions of their political funds. Interesting that nobody was willing to put their name to such a bold statement - almost as if they don't want to be labelled publicly as an idiot or a bare-faced liar.

One of the stars of the show so far has been the Labour leadership in the Lords, led by the very capable Baroness Basildon. If you haven't already seen the video where she explains what is happening, do take a look: http://action.unionstogether.org.uk/watch.

Over the next few weeks we are going to have to step up our campaign, raising public awareness of the way that that the Conservative Party is trying to load the dice in their favour. I'd like to say that the unionstogether team are going to work hard to do just that, but we can't do it alone. The reality is that our campaigns only make an impact because of the activists of the labour movement, who are spreading the word about how the Conservative Party is trying to rig democracy. Please keep it up over the next few weeks because, after all, Unity is Strength. Join us at http://www.loadingthedice.org.uk.