By Ray Fleming

“Weak, weak, weak” Ed Miliband proved David Cameron and all his parroting media wrong in their misjudgement of him over the Labour party's funding relationship with the trade unions. Last weekend a couple of astute columnists hinted that the Falkirk candidate selection debacle might prove just the opportunity Mr Miliband has been waiting for to introduce long-needed reforms. And so it was proved in his speech yesterday. In future he wants trade unionists paying the political levy to “opt-in” if they want it sent directly to the Labour Party instead of going to the Union coffers for automatic payment to Labour. He believes this will increase the direct involvement of trade unionists in local Labour parties. Those who can remember the unfair need to “opt-out” of the political levy will see Mr Miliband's intention as a major shift.

The reality is that all party and electoral funding by donation should be brought to an end or capped to such a low figure that it is insignificant -- Mr Miliband has suggested ten thousand pounds but the Conservatives are not interested in that for obvious reasons. State funding on a moderate scale is the way to eliminate the inequality of the present free-for-all system.

Change may take time but it will come in the end and Mr Miliband has given it a timely push forward in his own territory.


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