Misquoted in the media

I had to fir

'Kill The Tories'

'Kill The Tories/media/leadership rivals'

mly deny media reports that had me calling for Gordon Brown to go. The website Bloomberg.com quotes me as saying that Mr Brown should step aside. I hit back angrily this morning, and said: “Bloomberg have misquoted me before. I’ve actually been very loyal, appearing on the Today programme after the Glasgow East by-election.” And what could be more loyal than appearing on TV? God forbid I would for example campaign their, after all this would mean travelling to Scotland after all. What did the Scots do for us. …(noises of whispering in the background) Of course our glorious leader is a fine example of the best of scottish laborishness, over here working hard for us, with the results in our economy for all to see…(more whispering) I mean just look at how fishing has improved, and weve a lovely new hospital, and our schools arent all failing are they.

I was quoted as saying ‘changing leader again without a general election would be “untenable”, and that the global economic downturn made it a particularly bad time for an election.’

Bloomberg apologised for their mistake, having confused Mr Salter with Manchester MP Graham Stringer. Easy to do, I was the one who insults voters, not hit them with a bat.

See the revised article below, from


Brown Signals He Won’t Cave in to Unions After Election Defeat

By Mark Deen and Kitty Donaldson

July 25 (Bloomberg) — Prime Minister Gordon Brown, reeling from an election upset and slower economic growth, signaled the U.K.’s ruling Labour Party will not cave in to demands from unions to expand the rights of workers.

Brown and ministers from Labour, which lost a Parliament seat in a district in Glasgow at the heart of its political support last night, meet today with 16 unions representing 5 million workers, including Unison and Unite and the GMB, which want bigger pay rises and more power to strike.

“It’s not going back to the agenda of the ’70s and the ’80s,” Brown told union leaders today in Warwick, England, recalling strikes that paralyzed the nation before Labour lost the 1979 election. “The only agenda that matters is the agenda of the future, understanding the changes taking place in the global economy.”

With the economy facing the risk of a recession and unions funding more than 80 percent of Labour’s budget, Brown is vulnerable to pressure to water down the government’s support for business and tilt toward workers.

“Gordon Brown is in a politically perilous position,” said Wyn Grant, a professor of politics at the University of Warwick. “The Labour Party has become more reliant on union donations since giving from wealthy individuals has fallen off.” Labour, he said, is “beholden to the unions.”

Defeat in Glasgow

Voters in Glasgow East, who have returned Labour to Parliament for almost six decades, last night backed a rival nationalist candidate. If the results were repeated in a general election, Brown and Chancellor of the Exchequer Alistair Darling both would lose their seats in the House of Commons.

Unions meeting Labour ministers this weekend in Warwick want a change in tone from the government and for Brown to fire Business Secretary John Hutton, who has said the country benefits from being a home to the super rich.

“The economic problems facing this country and the electoral needs of the government suggest that we should go further in addressing fairness at work, not slam on the brakes,” said Tony Dubbins, who leads the Trade Union and Labour Party Liaison Organization. Voters, he said, “need to know the government is on their side.”

The discussions in Warwick concluding on July 27 are aimed at shaping the ruling party’s manifesto of campaign promises for the next election, which Brown must call no later than the middle of 2010.

Credit Crunch

Brown has rejected suggestions the Labour Party will give bigger pay raises or allow unions more freedom to call strikes, reminding the party that it lost power to the Conservatives in 1979 after inflation surged and workers walked off the job. Today, he said the party needs to focus on helping people hurt by the credit crunch and a surge in energy prices worldwide.

“We understand and we hear people’s concerns,” Brown said in a speech to the ruling party’s National Policy Forum today in Warwick. “We know that our role when facing global economic challenges is to be on the side of hard working families. We stand for the principle we have always stood for, and that is fairness for hard working families.”

Union demands include an extension of the U.K.’s minimum wage to cover trainees under age 21, more leave for parents looking after sick children and a commitment to stop privatizing government services in health and education.

The demands are difficult for Brown to resist, since Labour is increasingly looking to the unions for its funding. Unions provided Labour with 2.6 million pounds ($5.2 million) in donations in the first quarter of the year, 82 percent of all the cash it raised, according to declarations to the Electoral Commission. That compares with 58 percent in the first quarter of 2005, just before the last general election.

Unions also are flexing their muscles with a series of strikes. Britain’s passport offices are shut for a third day today after clerks rejected the government’s offer of a maximum 2.5 percent pay raise. About 600,000 local-government employees stayed away from work July 16-17, and 10,000 people at the border-control department walked off on July 18.

Inflation Jump

Workers are responding to accelerating inflation. The U.K. consumer price index rose 3.8 percent in June, and the Bank of England expects it to exceed 4 percent by year-end, twice its target. Passport clerks want an increase in line with retail price inflation, which surged 4.6 percent in June.

David Prentis, general secretary of the Unison union, which represents 1.34 million public sector workers and who will be at this weekend’s talks, told members last month to “prepare for battle” to protect their standard of living.

Paul Kenny, who leads the GMB, once called the General Municipal Boilermakers and Allied Trade Union, threatened to choke off funding to Labour, saying on May 29 he’s “increasingly frustrated” by Brown’s administration.

Brown says the government needs to focus on how to adapt Britain to growing world trade and the rise of China and India, which are competing in markets for oil and commodities as well as for investment.

“The world economy will double in size in the next 20 years,” Brown said. “A billion more jobs will be available. The question is who gets them. The key to how you survive is investing in the people of our country.”

Published in: on July 30, 2008 at 7:12 pm  Comments (1)  

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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. Nice writing. You are on my RSS reader now so I can read more from you down the road.

    Allen Taylor

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