by a CWU member
The re-convened Leicestershire CWU Branch AGM has agreed the following emergency motion to CWU conference:
"Conference agrees that in recognition of the failure of the present government to listen to the views of the public, party members and affiliated unions on major policy issues, the CWU will adopt a policy of no confidence in Tony Blair as leader of the Labour Party."
The motion was passed by 20 votes to 1, with one abstention.
The one speaker against the motion was a County Labour councillor. He said that he was worried that passing such a motion would give Blair an excuse to single out the CWU for attack. In an admirably courageous act of self-sacrifice he said "the voters will have their say in the May elections - that is the best way to get the message across to Blair".
The more tactically astute Labour councillor in my Branch spoke for the motion - a refreshing assurance that, even if they are not doing much to fight him, not all Labour councillors see themselves as kamikaze pilots for Blair. Even the normally hostile and/or passive branch secretary and the commie-hating, Sun-reading unit rep spoke in favour of the motion.
The motion is a good way of putting trade unionists on the spot about politics and does not allow them to use the get-out clause of the union rule book. The CWU and most other unions voted for Blair as leader and have paid millions to the party since he was elected-the long predominant idea that unions should have no say at all inside the Labour Party has long since diminished.
The big question is, of course, who gets the job instead? There are many confused strands of opinion inside the labour movement over this question. The populist idea is that Blair is "too New Labour" and someone like Gordon Brown would be less dogmatic. Indeed, it has been rumoured that Brown is gathering support amongst some union leaders for a "break glass in case of emergency"-type challenge to Blair. Of course, the motives of such people should be of no concern to us. The point of this motion is to co-ordinate a political challenge by the trade union movement against Blair. If comrades in our various unions can get this motion passed, the debate about who should stand will open. We should be advocating a left candidate.