Blair takes on TGWU boss
Sunday 22 January 1995
Bill Morris, leader of the Transport and General Workers' Union, put down a clear marker to Mr Blair that the trade union Left would not abandon the political goal of state ownership.
Mr Blair made it clear he believes that reform of Clause IV of the party's constitution - committing it to nationalisation - is essential if the Opposition is to win the next election.
In a comment that comes close to making Clause IV an issue of confidence, Mr Blair will say in a speech this week that Labour has "to decide whether it is a modern progressive party for the 21st century or a pressure group for worthy causes in opposition''.
The dispute followed a speech by Mr Morris who told motor industry union members in Birmingham yesterday that "above all, our bottom line has always been, and continues to be, a clear and unequivocal commitment to public ownership and social justice".
Mr Morris said transport workers - like the British people as a whole - would like to see railways kept in the public sector, or returned there by Labour if the Tory privatisation proposals are realised.
More controversially, the TGWU, which commands around 10 per cent of the votes at the special party conference on Clause IV in London on 29 April, also wants "the vital natural asset of water" brought back into public ownership.
In a speech this week, Robin Cook, shadow foreign secretary, will list social justice, an opportunity economy, a strong public sector, democracy, equality, and a healthy environment as key components for Labour's programme. Mr Cook will argue that Labour's ideology rests not on state ownership as the sole objective of socialism but on social solidarity.
Labour movement insiders said Mr Blair's position is "fragile, because it depends on doing deals with union barons. There isn't time to have secret ballots of members or to allow trade union conferences to decide.''
The unions still hold 70 per cent of the votes at party conference, and although they can vote individually, it is much more likely that they will vote en bloc, as they have always done.
Apple agrees deal with Visa on contactless payments
- 1 Is Apple's iCloud safe after leak of Jennifer Lawrence and other celebrities' nude photos?
- 2 Joan Rivers: 'Palestinians deserve to be dead'
- 3 Perez Hilton apologises for Jennifer Lawrence naked photo leak
- 4 A teacher speaks out: 'I'm effectively being forced out of a career that I wanted to love'
- 5 Mexican woman becomes world’s 'oldest person' at 127
iPhone 6 'hidden code' could indicate sharper screens or bigger phones
Perez Hilton apologises for Jennifer Lawrence naked photo leak
Ariana Grande nude photo leak: 'These are completely fake'
A teacher speaks out: 'I'm effectively being forced out of a career that I wanted to love'
London 'terror threat': Metropolitan police deny tube attack hoax
Rotherham child sex abuse scandal: Labour Home Office to be probed over what Tony Blair's government knew - and when
Robin Williams Emmys tribute led by Billy Crystal criticised for including 'racist' joke about Muslim woman
The Rotherham child abuse scandal is a tale of apologists, misogyny and double standards
What do immigrants really think of Britain? Polish immigrant's Reddit post goes viral
Do you realise just how foolish the UK looks?
With Douglas Carswell joining Ukip, my party has taken another giant step forward
£85000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Head of IT (Windows, Server, VMware, SAN, ...
£55000 - £60000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Lead C# Develo...
£40000 - £50000 per annum: Harrington Starr: You will not be expected to hav...
£45000 - £53000 Per Annum plus bonus plus package: The Green Recruitment Compa...