Sunday, 26 September 2010

Ed Milliband and the Trade Union Vote

Over at Liberal Democratic Voice there appears to be confusion regards the influence of the Trade Unions in electing Ed Milliband as Labour Party Leader. A very good rebuttal of this has been posted at Socialist Unity with an explanation that it was not a bloc vote.
Looking at the votes cast by the Trade Unions it can be clearly seen that there was a fairly low turnout amongst union members, an average of 11.14% of all those members that pay the political levy and thereby contribute to the finances of the Labour Party.
Obviously members of the three larger unions Unite, Unison and GMB have voted strongly for Ed but the big three all had below average turnouts which should have given the other unions especially USDAW and Community the opportunity to influence the vote in favour of their preferred candidate David Milliband.
Unfortunately for David the USDAW vote did not get off the ground with 15,202 votes cast out of over 350,000 ballot papers issued to their members.
There has also been some criticism of the procedure which allows Union members who pay the political levy being allowed to vote in this election despite the fact that the majority of them are not party members.
These people contribute freely to the levy and pay taxes in the UK and quite rightly are allowed a say in the leadership election of the party they help fund.
However as can be seen here Ed Milliband was consistently picking up 2nd preference votes from all three sections of the party including MPs, MEPs and Party members.
MPs and MEPs are allocated one third of the electoral college votes and because they are fewer in number than party members and members of affiliated organisations they have the greater influence on the vote.
Ed Milliband received 84 of those votes with his brother getting 111 from there Ed began to close the gap on 2nd preference votes to a deficit of 18 votes. This is where David Milliband lost the election with MPs and MEPs not giving him a clear enough majority and thereby allowing the Trade Union vote to decide the outcome.
In effect it was an electoral  system of The Alternative Vote, one that the Liberals wish to impose upon the public for General Elections, that gave Ed Milliband the leadership of the Labour Party and not the Trade Unions.


  1. In effect it was an electoral system of The Alternative Vote, one that the Liberals wish to impose upon the public for General Elections, that gave Ed Milliband the leadership of the Labour Party and not the Trade Unions.

    Excellent point: I hadn't thought of it that way. In the unlikely event I ever meet someone who admits to being a Lib Dem again, I'll bring that one out.

  2. Cheers Bob.
    Some excellent blog posts have been published destroying the myth of the TU influenec in this election.
    Some point to the fact that EM gained more votes in a OMOV system and that MPs votes count for 600 of ordinary members and over 12,000 of TU voters.
    So who really did have the bloc vote?

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