Today’s top story is Unite general secretary Len McCluskey’s front page interview in the Guardian where he touches on the fallout from Falkirk, but also on the real opportunity for Labour to reframe its relationship with trade unions and individual members. Len argued that Labour leader Ed Miliband “has to give ordinary trade union members reasons to want to be associated with the Labour party” and in doing so “the prize of being prime minister is in his grasp.” Len cited a raft of polices popular with Unite members including repealing the bedroom tax, building extra homes, opposing the welfare cap and increasing the £6.19 minimum wage by £1.50 an hour, however for Miliband to win “he has to be bold” on the issues people care about.
And one such issue is unemployment, particularly long term unemployment and the fact that although there was a 57,000 fall in the jobless count, long term unemployment is at a 17-year high. Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said: “While the decrease in 57,000 in the unemployment figures is to be welcomed, the plight of the long term unemployed is an enduring stain on this government’s record. The long term unemployed have been forgotten by George Osborne as he skews his polices to pander to the rich with undeserved tax breaks. It is a scandal that 915,000 people have been out of work for more than a year and over 460,000 have been jobless for more than two years … more needs to be done to help them back to work, with ‘real’ jobs paying a decent living wage. This must go hand-in-hand with a U-turn in the government’s austerity polices to one that pumps demand into the economy and puts more money into people’s wallets and purses.” that’s a start for Plan B, but more is needed…
And from Plan B to Plan C for Crosby. After the tobacco turnaround the Tories yesterday published the planned lobbying bill but most of the fire was directed against trade unions rather than rich corporate lobbyists. There was good news for prime minister David Cameron’s strategy adviser Lynton Crosby who will not have to reveal his list of clients, so we’ll never know if his views on plain packaging had anything to do with abandoning the plan for plain packaging or his views on minimum alcohol pricing which the Sun reports has been scrapped has anything to do with his advice to the drinks industry, or so many other things, as they say move along now, nothing to see here…
And talking of being on the move there are a range of transport stories across the papers. One that features coverage across all papers is the proposals for changes at Heathrow where not only a third runway is suggested, but a fourth to turn the airport into a superhub that can compete with Schiphol and Frankfurt, music to the ears of thousands of workers at the airport, maybe not so to the thousands of residents nearby.
There’s good news on the trains with the Mirror reporting Bombardier has won a reprieve after securing a £180 million deal to build 116 trains for the Bedford to Brighton line and Rolls Royce workers in West Sussex will be swelled by another 100 employees as the company recruits to meet rising demand for cars.
And finally a Rolls Royce is obviously not good enough for the prime minister after many of the papers report that he took a jaunt up to Lincoln to meet factory workers in a military helicopter (estimated cost some £12,000) rather than take the train like the rest of us (estimated cost £67), sums up the Tory approach, one rule for them and one for the rest of us…
(no links all stories behind paywall)
- Budget watchdog backs more immigration (p1)
- Lobbyists can keep clients secret (p4)
- Tories bare their claws (p4) – Unite cited
- Cameron running out of time on gender equality (p10)
- Heathrow plans for runway 3 and 4 (p19)
- Osborne must try harder to drive recovery, warns IMF (p35)
(no links all stories behind paywall)
- Strategy switch at Bank of England (p1)
- Heathrow shows sites for third runway (p2)
- Labour market improves (p3)
- Low growth ere for shipping looms (p15)
- Barclays stands firm over fine (p16)
- Halewood workers gear up for strikes (p19) – Unite cited
Edited by Mik Sabiers