For the credibility of the party Labour is right to take strong action over Falkirk

It's become increasingly clear in recent weeks that the Conservative Party is looking for anything it can with which to smear the Labour Party link with the trade unions.

It’s become increasingly clear in recent weeks that the Conservative Party is looking for anything it can with which to smear the Labour Party link with the trade unions.

Even before the Falkirk selection scandal Cameron’s friends in the media had been turning their fire more and more on the trade unions – and in the process taking the heat off the far more serious issue of parliamentary lobbying by private firms looking for favours.

It is vital, then, that the Labour Party and Unite don’t give the Tories and their friends in the media anything that can be used to make out that the biggest issue in politics right now is the Labour link with the unions. It isn’t; and far from being a problem, it’s something which should be maintained and strengthened.

But growing union and Labour membership should be done by individuals not by cheques from organisations

In recent years the Labour Party has changed, with reforms made to party democracy, an increasing emphasis on community organising rather than top-down dictats, and zero tolerance for selection stitch-ups.

It’s time for the unions to do the same.

Both the party and the trade unions should work towards growing their respective memberships, but not at the expensive of democratic credibility. In responding to Falkirk Labour was right to scrap the ‘Union Join’ scheme which, regardless of the truth of the allegations, was quite clearly open to abuse.

Unite maintain that they had nothing to do with the alleged attempt to sign 100 or more members to the constituency party in Falkirk and pay their subscriptions.

They should, however, accept the gravity of the charge and the need for the Labour Party to carry out an inquiry and sanction those responsible.

It is vital, for the credibility of both the Labour Party, Unite and the wider trade union movement that strong action is seen to be taken to ensure that something like this can never happen again.

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