Hit or miss? Ed Miliband takes on the Unite union over by-election allegations

Allegations that the Unite union was seeking to influence which candidate stood for Labour in a Falkirk by-election led to direct action from the party's leadership.

Miliband: Hit or miss? (Credit: AFP/Getty Images)
Miliband: Hit or miss? (Credit: AFP/Getty Images)

A police inquiry led to the suspension of two party members and the resignation of the Labour campaign leader, Tom Watson MP. Ed Miliband has pledged to stop unions from automatically enrolling three million members a year to the party.

How I see it

Rod Cartright, partner & director, global corporate practice, Ketchum Pleon

As a piece of short-term political and media management, it certainly won’t win any prizes, with the ‘isolated case’ argument setting the tone for a less than decisive initial response before the police referral. 

However, politics is not always only about the short term and with the battle lines for 2015 already being drawn, this initial miss could potentially become a sizeable hit – albeit a risk-laden one. 

The ‘Red Ed’ assertions that Miliband’s fraternal leadership victory stemmed purely from securing the union vote are certain to be raised again in the heat of electoral battle.  So if – and it’s a major if – he can negotiate a different type of settlement with the unions, without alienating the grassroots and bankrupting the party, the dividends could be considerable. 

Is Ed Miliband's handling of the situation a hit or a miss? Tell us in the comments below

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