Leading article: Not the sort of help Mr Miliband needs

With friends like these... For the umpteenth time since he became Labour leader, Ed Miliband must have been cursing his trade union supporters, after the leader of Unite, Len McCluskey, suggested that protests could be timed to disrupt the London Olympics.

And it is a sad reflection on Mr McCluskey and some of his colleagues that their first response to the approach of the greatest international sports fest has been to calculate how to maximise the advantage for themselves, rather than how best to welcome the world to Britain.

This is blackmail by any other name, and it is regrettable that Transport for London, to name but one, promised Tube drivers more money so soon, only encouraging others to ask for more.

The fallout from Mr McCluskey's intervention yesterday was immediate, conjuring up all the negative images of trade unionism, while handing the Coalition a huge political prize. Was this really what he intended?