Left Watch

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No, Lord Mandelson, the unions have you by the balls

That great custodian of the nation's morality, Lord Mandelson, has today warned that Lord Ashcroft has David Cameron "by the balls". Lord Ashcroft accounted for no more than 1% or 2% of Tory funds in the last year. The unions account for more than 60% of Labour funds and that is why, today, Tory Chairman Eric Pickles is determined to turn the heat on Labour today by spotlighting the extent to which the trade union movement has Mandelson, Brown, Darling and the whole of the Labour Party by the balls.

Yesterday the News of the World revealed that the unions are spending more in marginal seats than the Conservatives.

In The Express Leo McKinstry reminds us what the unions have got for their money:

"Over the past 13 years Labour has been engulfed in endless scandals over its financial arrangements, such as the notorious cash-for-honours saga or the dodgy donations affair. Moreover 60 per cent of  Labour’s  funding today comes from the trade union movement, which is completely dominated by the public sector. It is no wonder, therefore, Brown has been so generous to public employees, rewarding them with higher pay, generous conditions, gold-plated pensions, job security and a massive expansion in the number of positions."

PICKLES ERIC 2009 Mr Pickles' anger is focused on the role of ex-Brown spin doctor Charlie Whelan. Like Alastair Campbell these creatures seem to resign but never quite leave the political stage. They still perform their dark arts from stage left. The Telegraph reports a key section of the Tory Chairman's letter to Peter Mandelson:

“The Labour Party is keeping Britain closed for business through its links with the Unite union. Not only is your party taking millions in cash and support from the union but its political director, Charlie Whelan, is providing advice to the Prime Minister which extends to briefing against the Chancellor on his behalf in the middle of a recession. This intimate relationship is creating a clear conflict of interest between the interests of the Labour party and the interests of the British people. It is evident from your approach to the proposed BA strike that the political interests of senior members of the government are hampering your ability to stand up for the interests of millions of passengers and for British business in the face of Unite’s militancy.”

It astounds me that the BBC is failing to report all of this.

Tim Montgomerie