Letter: Labour's union link

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The Independent Online
Sir: Anne McElvoy is right to argue that New Labour has little time for the unions (Comment, 12 May). However, the concept that the Labour Party would be more democratic without them is false. The union link needs to be democratised and modernised, but only anti- democratic forces have any interest in breaking the link.

The Party's internal democracy is already weakened by an increasingly arrogant and powerful centralised elite, and the removal of the unions would only enhance the power of Millbank. If there is not to be a complete takeover by professional politicians, with all the abuse of power implicit in that, then alternative sources of pressure and funding need to be available. This is the more so because the decline in union funding (which is in itself welcome) has been replaced by plutocratic funding. It is no accident that Bernie Ecclestone's cheque was replaced by one from the owner of Planet Hollywood.