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27 June 2012

Block on Progress - "intolerable think tank"?

Bob Severn

Britain's three biggest unions, GMB, Unite and Unison, have all questioned the role of the Progress group inside the Labour Party.

Progress follows on from capitalist New Labour 'modernisers' like Tony Blair and Peter Mandelson. While claiming to be 'radical and progressive', its website's lead article on 26 June was "Let's stop voting against the government"!

Even right-wing Unison leader Dave Prentis has called Progress an "intolerable think tank".

But while the press has given the impression that these union leaders want to ban Progress from Labour, this isn't quite true.

GMB general secretary Paul Kenny said: "The questions about Progress, about its aims and its funding remain to be answered. This has nothing to do about expelling individuals or suppressing debate."

Likewise, Unite leader Len McCluskey - who says Labour can be reclaimed - said that the financial backing of Progress raises concerns but is not calling for it to be banned.

However, if Len is serious about reclaiming Labour as a party for working people - and not the bosses - then that should include driving out all the Blairites, including Progress.

This should be alongside readmission of left, militant fighters, democracy at all levels of the party including allowing socialist views, and a campaign against all cuts.

A reasonable timescale should be set for achieving these demands. Workers can't wait forever while Labour lets cuts go through! If his project fails, Len should come to the conclusion that Unite should back anti-cuts election candidates instead. Union members' money should not fund politicians that support cuts!