Unite’s general secretary yesterday made a plea for Labour to adopt policies reflecting the interests of working people. Speaking at the Labour Party conference, Len McCluskey said: “Let the Scottish referendum be the tombstone on twenty years of our p …

Tim Lezard Europe, Scotland, UK, UK unions, Unite,

Len-McCluskey-007Unite’s general secretary yesterday made a plea for Labour to adopt policies reflecting the interests of working people.

Speaking at the Labour Party conference, Len McCluskey said: “Let the Scottish referendum be the tombstone on twenty years of our party’s indifference to the interests of the working class.

“It took a referendum campaign to remind us that you ignore the hopes of working people at your political peril.

“This was not an upsurge of narrow nationalism. It was an upsurge in defence of our NHS; an upsurge against illegal wars; an upsurge against endless austerity; and an upsurge against inequality.

“It was a triumph of hope against apathy and fear. And our party has to be the party to bottle that hope.

“In the last week we have seen our politics turned upside down and inside out.

“We have seen our political establishment – including, let’s be honest, our own party – have a near-death experience in Scotland. We have seen an elite in a panic.

“Because the Scottish people played the role of the child in the fairy story, telling the Westminster Emperor that it has no clothes.”

Commenting on the aftermath of the Scottish referendum vote, he said: “Let me also say, that we don’t want a constitution made by posh boys at Chequers – we want one made by political debate with the people.”

Len McCluskey was speaking during the Work and Business debate when he argued that strong labour market institutions, trade unions and collective bargaining are vital in tackling inequality.

He added: “Enough with caution and hedging our economic bets. Over the next few months we must mobilise the imagination and aspirations of millions to defeat this ruinous coalition.”

 


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Tim Lezard

Campaigning journalist, editor of @Union_NewsUK, NUJ exec member; lover of cricket, football, cycling, theatre and dodgy punk bands

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