Diary: Labour's losing (its £2m a year union top-up, that is)

 

June could be a very expensive month for Ed Miliband and the Labour Party. The GMB, Britain's third biggest union, will take a vote at its annual conference on whether to cut its ties with Labour altogether, which would reduce the party's already depleted income by around £2m a year.

Labour's biggest backer, the Unite union, has published the agenda for its June conference, including three resolutions from union branches suggesting that the union withhold 10 per cent of what it would normally donate (it has given Labour around £5m during Ed Miliband's leadership) and use it instead "to directly campaign for union freedoms".

The reasons that union activist might want to inflict this punishment can be found in another resolution which says: "Balls and Miliband have endorsed the public sector pay freeze that is slashing living standards for millions of workers. Unite general Secretary Len McCluskey has denounced the statements as 'discredited Blairism'... The statements from Len McCluskey and others attacking Balls and Miliband are welcome."

So, too many tweets do make a t***

It amazes me what people in public office or running from public office will write on social media such as Twitter, seemingly oblivious to the offence they are likely to cause. The SNP has suspended one of its candidates in North Lanarkshire, Lyall Duff, who shared with his Twitter followers his thoughts on two midwives who lost a court battle with the NHS in Glasgow after refusing to take part in abortions or provide care for patients during the process. "Sack the money-grabbing old witches and make them pay back every penny they earned in disgust doing their career choice," he suggested.

Now the Labour Party is considering what to do about Janette Williamson, one of their council candidates in Wirral, who contributed to a Twitter discussion about Prince Philip's health with the charming thought: "Why the f*** hasn't he died yet?"

She also described Frank Field, the Labour MP for Birkenhead, as "a Tory" and complained that Ed Miliband is "losing us the next election." She observed: "I'm standing for election in May, and door-knocking tells me people aren't liking Ed. At all."

Paxman takes a Pottinger pasting

It is a rare moment when Jeremy Paxman, Newsnight's formidable interviewer, concedes defeat, but he did so, on air, and with reasonable good humour on Tuesday night after a studio guest had argued him into the ground.

Tim Bell, of Bell Pottinger, was invited on to discuss whether there should be a register of lobbyists. He dismissed the idea as "rubbish and claptrap put up by people who want to prove that something unpleasant is going on, that – as you so charmingly put it – we smell."

He also took a swipe at this newspaper and the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, claiming "they are in fact lobbying for a state register for lobbyists."

Paxman let pass unchallenged Lord Bell's denial that his company's past clients included the former military dictator of Chile, General Augusto Pinochet. The firm was, in fact, acting for the Pinochet Foundation.

After several minutes in which Lord Bell gave no quarter at all, Paxman remarked ruefully: "We don't see you very often. I begin to see why. We rather regret inviting you, in fact."

Driven to Labour by the Budget

I note that Jeremy Hunt, the Culture Secretary, is on paternity leave. His wife, Lucia, felt contractions on the evening of Budget day and their daughter Anna was born the following morning. It reinforces those opinion polls that there has been nothing quite like George Osborne's Budget for driving people to Labour.

Knighthood by post for 'Sir' Tim

Tim Montgomerie, who runs the ConservativeHome website, says he was delighted to receive an invitation to a reception at 10 Downing Street, hosted by Samantha Cameron, in aid of Save the Children – and even more delighted that on his smartly embossed invitation someone had written in beautifully scripted handwriting "Sir Tim Montgomerie".

Does someone in Downing Street know something we do not know?

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Recruitment Genius: HR Manager

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are in need of a HR Manage...

h2 Recruit Ltd: Business Development Manager - HR Consultancy - £65,000 OTE

£35000 - £40000 per annum + £65,000 OTE: h2 Recruit Ltd: London, Birmingham, M...

Day In a Page

War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?
Finally, a diet that works: Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced

Finally, a diet that works

Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced
Say it with... lyrics: The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches

Say it with... lyrics

The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches
Professor Danielle George: On a mission to bring back the art of 'thinkering'

The joys of 'thinkering'

Professor Danielle George on why we have to nurture tomorrow's scientists today
Monique Roffey: The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections

Monique Roffey interview

The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections
Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Their outrageousness and originality makes the world a bit more interesting, says Ellen E Jones
DJ Taylor: Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

It has been hard to form generally accepted cultural standards since the middle of the 19th century – and the disintegration is only going to accelerate, says DJ Taylor
Olivia Jacobs & Ben Caplan: 'Ben thought the play was called 'Christian Love'. It was 'Christie in Love' - about a necrophiliac serial killer'

How we met

Olivia Jacobs and Ben Caplan
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's breakfasts will revitalise you in time for the New Year

Bill Granger's healthy breakfasts

Our chef's healthy recipes are perfect if you've overindulged during the festive season
Transfer guide: From Arsenal to West Ham - what does your club need in the January transfer window?

Who does your club need in the transfer window?

Most Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
The Last Word: From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015

Michael Calvin's Last Word

From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015