"Len McCluskey has been elected leader of the UK's biggest trade union, Unite," so reports the BBC. The rest of the report is dull, referring innocuously to the fact "he has been an active trade unionist since 1968, beginning work at that time as a docker in his native Liverpool, before becoming a senior shop steward."
The BBC report gives no clue to the fact that one of Britain's most powerful unions has just fallen into the hands of a militant.
This report from Andrew Gilligan gives the true story of Red Len:
- "He may, indeed, have been involved in more disputes than any other serving union leader in Britain…"
- "He appears, on the surface, an almost perfect throwback, with a tub-thumping vocabulary of class-war rhetoric and Seventies industrial relations clichés…"
- ""Capitalism has failed," said Mr McCluskey last year. The state, he said, should "intervene where necessary through industry control and ownership" He says: "We are seeing a mood among workers to fight, and the leadership of our movement must give them the confidence to resist. "This is not the time to cower and batten down the hatches. Organised labour must be strong to fight back against the ruling elite."…"
- "He has spoken of "reclaiming the Labour Party for our class", and told the Morning Star that he would, in the paper's words, "finance Unite members to take over constituency Labour Parties"…"
- ""I certainly supported Militant, and [Militant leaders] Derek [Hatton] and Tony [Mulhearn] were close friends," he told the Liverpool Echo last year…"
- "In 1994, he hit the tabloids after being granted a cut-rate £90,000 T&G loan to set up with his mistress after he walked out on his wife and son."
Read Gilligan's full piece. The BBC piece is a pointless public disservice.
5pm: Statement from Sayeeda Warsi:
"Len McCluskey's victory will push Ed Miliband even further away from the centre ground of British politics. Labour's reliance on Unite's bank balance means that Len McCluskey can hold the party to ransom and win extreme left wing policy concessions. After Alan Johnson's rebellions on the graduate tax, the 50p tax and criticisms of his leadership, this marks the end of a terrible week for Ed Miliband."