Neither snow, nor sleet, nor heavy irony…


The Guardian reports:

The Communication Workers’ Union has hired the US company behind Barack Obama’s successful email recruitment campaign for the presidency to advise it in its fight against the government’s plans to partly privatise the Royal Mail.

Blue State Digital, which has staff in London, has met leaders of the CWU several times in recent months and will be advising the union on online campaigning, including instant communication with supporters and online petitioning against the plans.

The union has defended itself against charges that it is employing exactly the sort of modern technology which is making so many of the Royal Mail’s old services redundant. A CWU spokeswoman said: “We are a very traditional trade union. However, we also represent a lot of people who work in IT, and online revenue has a part to play in the postal market. We are also using mail shots.”


Neither snow, nor sleet, nor heavy irony…

  1. I have been following this story with fascination. First, why Labour is considering this is beyond me. Now is not the time for Labour to kick their base in the goolies and I don’t understand why Lord Rumba of Rio doesn’t understand that.

    Secondly, more than 100 Labour MPs are against this policy and have stated so publicly. Do our backbenchers ever get so bolshie? I don’t think they do and I wish they would. Might keep our leaders on the straight and narrow if our MPs stood up for themselves more often.

    • Unfortunately, when our MPs stand up for themselves, it’s interpreted as meaning either A) they’re disloyal and worthy of party censure, if not banishment or, B) their Party’s leader is not a leader, or C) they don’t understand parliamentary democracy.

      • I guess the difference comes down to tradition or what’s considered normal because as far as I know leaders in UK have similar/same powers as leaders do here but UK MPs are much more willing to speak out and they aren’t really punished.

        • As I understand it, three things keep our MP’s in line:

          a) the Leader has to sign the nomination papers;

          b) political donations go to Party HQ, not to the riding associations;

          c) fear of exclusion from Cabinet.

          I think that only c) applies in the UK, though I stand to be corrected.

          • Unless they are unduly influenced by Danny Williams from the Isle of Man.

          • Jack M

            The way I understand it is that party puts together an ‘approved candidates’ list, the constituency pooh-bahs pick 2/3 nominees from the list and then local members vote on who they want. And once someone is nominated, the party’s ‘nominating officer’ -who is dependent on leader for job – has to sign the papers before they are allowed to run. Not exactly like our system but the leader still has considerable influence over who is in the party and who isn’t. Don’t know how donations work.

            I really think it’s just a cultural thing. UK MPs do occasionally get thrown out of party for not toeing the party line when leader deems support necessary but they are willing to tolerate more dissent than our parties do.

          • Hmm. I don’t know any of this either, but I think donations go to the riding association if the donation is made to the particular riding association (and isn’t done online). General donations, I’m fairly sure, all go to Party HQ though, and while you’d think if you said on the online donation box that you want your money to go to riding association x they would honour your request, I do know that at least one party’s receipt comes from HQ, so who knows where the money goes?

            Could UK MPs feel comfortable dissenting with their party more often, simply because they aren’t asked to toe the party line as often as ours are?

          • c) is also weaker due to the larger legislature. The governing coalition will tend to have a smaller % as part of cabinet.

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