FBU cuts Labour link
The Fire Brigades Union has voted to disaffiliate from Labour.
At the union's conference in Southport delegates voted to
disaffiliate by about 5 to 1. Thereby following the RMT in making the
historic jump to cut ties with the party that they helped to set up.
The decision will deprive the party of £50,000 a year as well as
practical support, especially useful in the run-up to the next general
election. But more than this it is a sign that the flood gates may be
opening and for those of us who want to see a genuine and united
socialist party not just in Scotland but all over the country this is a
massive step forward.
The union exec had hoped to stave off this resolution for yet another
year, but it was no longer possible. One suggested compromise was to
slash funding, but after the bitter fire fighters dispute compromise was
not a viable option.
The Guardian reported that "Mr Maguire [Northern Ireland FBU] said he
“despised” the Labour party and said it was “trampling” on the
aspirations of workers.
“I find it impossible to see the difference between Labour
politicians and extreme right-wingers. New Labour is not listening and
we have been drowned out of the big conversation.
“Are these bastards our bastards or just bastards?” he asked to huge
cheers from most of the 300 delegates. There was more bad news for
Labour today as the Communication Workers Union warned it will suspend
its £300,000 a year funding of the party if the government does not give
a commitment to keep the Royal Mail under public ownership. ""
Much has been made of FBU leader Andy
Gilchrist being absent from the conference, supposedly ill. It was
pointed out by one of the right wing papers that he was not too ill to
fly to Portugal and watch the football though. Clearly Gilchrist knew
that he was going to lose this vote and did not wish to be seen to be
defeated by the membership of his own union who have been somewhat
dissatisfied with his performance so far.