I first revealed a few weeks ago that Unite had got around the Ray Collins (Labour general secretary) ban on putting pro-Ed Miliband literature in the same envelope as the ballot papers sent to its members. It had just put the envelope inside a separate envelope; simples.
As I wrote at the time:
At the start of the contest there was a row between Unite the Union and the Labour leadership because the former wanted to send out an envelope with its endorsement alongside the ballot papers. They were prevented by the party general secretary.
But what transpired was this; Unite sent out a big envelope containing its Ed Miliband endorsement with the voting papers in a separate envelope within. In other words, the leaflet backing Mili-E was the first thing that members saw when the mail arrived.
On Wednesday I revealed in FT Notebook that union officials had gone one further – to the anger of David Miliband supporters – and actually put Ed’s picture on some of the outer envelopes.
A politics professor has told the Guardian that this may not be in the spirit of the rules. He may or may not be right. In my opinion, it may be insulting to union members’ intelligence to suggest that this alone would govern how they vote. But if Ed wins, there’s no doubt that the Tories will use this to help fashion a narrative that is not exactly favourable to him.