I revealed this morning that the TUC has revoked an invitation to Vince Cable to address it’s autumn conference in Manchester after a decision last week by some of the big unions who are angry about public sector cuts. The general secretaries have also agreed to host a big rally next spring – comparable with the Stop the War demonstration – to protest about mass redundancies.
The Vince move has prompted concerns within the moderate end of the movement, however. Some more thoughtful characters are worried that Vince may be one of the ministers who would resist attempts by more rightwing colleagues to crack down on the movement. Antagonising Vince could be counter-productive, they fear.
But the hardliners have won the day. As one said to me: “He’s (Vince) become the king of hatchets. Before the election he went through a Keynesian phase, so we temporarily had a little common ground, but for some reason that is no longer the case.”
The brothers also remember anti-union comments by Mr Cable in the spring around the time of the BA/Unite strikes.
As he wrote in the Mail on March 21:
Red Robbo. Jack Dash. Mick McGahey. Remember them? The almost forgotten union militants who once ruled the roost in Britain’s strike-prone industries and helped to wreck them. Perhaps the tradition is not dead after all – with BA the new battleground.