Usdaw

Copeland challenge

First published on Progressonline for ‘the Last Word’

Jamie Reed leaving parliament

I am personally extremely sad that Jamie Reed – and former author of this column – is leaving parliament in the near year but understand that he must put his family first. His new role people he might be able to get more done for the people of Copeland than he would in parliament in the short run but I know that will be no compensation for his desire to be a public servant. He has worked tirelessly for his community since being elected as the second youngest Labour MP in 2005. He is popular locally and an important working class English Labour voice on the green benches. We will miss his proximity but wish him luck as he pursuits a new challenge. (more…)

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Strong words, softly spoken

First published in Progress magazine

John Hannett is general secretary of Usdaw

Grown-up trade unionism delivers for workers, argues John Hannett in consersation with Richard Angell and Adam Harrison

As leader of one of the few trade unions increasing its membership, John Hannett is a man worth listening to. Usdaw has added 110,000 members to its ranks over the last decade, bucking the trend for union membership. This is all the more impressive for a union that represents members in shops, factories and warehouses that have struggled in the grip of recession – including those working in the 807 Woolworths stores that were forced to close in 2009. (more…)

An intellectual reawakening

First published by Labor Voice

‘Hearts and Minds’ is published today by Chris Bowen, the new Treasurer of Australia

The first observation from Chris Bowen’s book out today is how fast politics moves. Written only weeks ago as a backbencher who had recently left Cabinet and expected his next role to be in opposition, our author is back on the frontline as Treasurer before the manuscript could be printed. In the text of the book, he suggests that Yes, Minister’s Sir Humphrey would call a number of his proposals ‘courageous’. This is undoubtedly true, and that was before it was possible to know he would be holding the government’s purse strings. While the normal ‘when resources allow’ caveats are included, there are bold and radical ideas in the text. As such, its content will be much poured over by his political opponents and the Murdoch-owned media in the days and weeks to come. (more…)