+++ Ed Miliband elected new Labour leader: loses on members and MPs, wins big among unions

It’s official. Ed Miliband has just been announced Labour’s new leader by the narowest of margins, 50.4% to brother David’s 49.6%. But what’s most fascinating is to see the final breakdown of votes after the re-distribution of preference votes:

  • Among party membersDavid Miliband won 54% to 46%;
  • Among MPs/MEPsDavid Miliband won 53% to 47%;
  • Among trade unionsEd Miliband won 60% to 40%.

So that narrowest of wins is down to the trade unions delivering their bloc vote to Ed. I imagine they will expect him to be duly grateful. That’s not a good thing for Labour, or indeed the country.

Update: The full breakdown of results is now available on the Labour party website here.

Here’s how the votes changed over the course of the four rounds of voting:

    Ed Miliband 34% // 37% // 41% // 51%
    David Miliband 38% // 39% // 43% // 49%
    Ed Balls 12% // 13% // 16%
    Andy Burnham 9% // 10%
    Diane Abbott 7%

The full results among the membership are here;
The full results among MPs/MEPs are here; and
The full results among unions/affiliates are here.

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This entry was posted in News.


  • Daniel Furr 25th Sep '10 - 5:05pm

    This is brilliant for us.

    Labour voted for David, but the unions gave them Ed. The victory (if you can call it that) was extremely slim. Labour is not united, it’s split between the left and moderates. We must maintain the center ground. It’s ours for the taking.

  • George W. Potter 25th Sep '10 - 5:13pm

    Furthermore, come the election results in 2015, a Labour party which is left of Blairism will probably be far easier to enter a coalition with than one under David Milliband, despite Ed’s words about Clegg as I imagine he’ll swallow them if faced with a choice between coalition and remaining in opposition – though hopefully we won’t need to.

  • paul barker 25th Sep '10 - 5:14pm

    Does anyone know how many Ballots were sent out to members & how many returned ?

  • I think young Ed needs better stage managers….check out the lyrics to Viva La vida that played after his acceptance speech…a song about a failed megalomaniac!


  • I see you are using the Tory spin tactic. It was not a Union backed victory. You know very well that it was the Affiliate vote that gave it to Ed Miliband. And you know very well that Labour Afffiliates include:

    Co-operative party,

    The Christian Socialist Movement,

    The Fabian Society,

    The Jewish Labour movement,

    Labour Disabled members’ group,

    Labour Housing group,

    Labour Irish Society,

    Labour Students,

    National Union of Labour and Socialist Clubs,

    Scientists for Labour,

    Socialist Educational Association,

    Socialist Environment and Resources Association,

    The Socialist Health Association,

    Society of Labour Lawyers,

    BAME Labour, Labour Animal Welfare Society.

    So to say that it was a union victory is a blatent lie on your part.

  • And a 60/40 split isn’t exactly a block vote, is it?

  • David Boothroyd 25th Sep '10 - 5:22pm

    Typical silly Liberals, there are no block votes in the electoral college. The members who pay the political levy are balloted individually, one member one vote for each organisation, and the votes are all counted together.

  • Yes but all of those organisations’ memberships will be dwarfed by the unions’ membership as the unions have millions of members

  • Anthony Aloysius St 25th Sep '10 - 5:25pm

    “Typical silly Liberals, there are no block votes in the electoral college.”

    I think Stephen did probably know that …

  • “the unions have millions of members”

    Who vote as INDIVIDUALS, not as a bloc vote. As a union member I didn’t vote for Ed M.

    Clearly too difficult for some people to understand.

  • Whatever the breakdown of the different blocks – one thing is clear: Ed Miliband owes his win and his position to the AV electoral system.

    And we should not let him forget it.

  • David Boothroyd 25th Sep '10 - 5:28pm

    You are incredibly silly Stephen. The Labour Party is a federal party which has affiliated organizations. Their members are part of the Labour Party but not on the same terms as individual members. You ignore that difference and make yourself look an idiot.

  • Right, so if your a party member you get a vote, if your also a trade union member you get two votes, and if your also a MP you get 3 votes?
    And if your a member of an affiliated trade union and the Liberal Democrats or any other political party you still get a vote?

  • The vast bulk of the “affiliate” vote is unions. They have delivered Ed by using their power and breaking the voting rules by using endorsed envelopes. They will be back to pick up their pound of flesh.

  • Who cares what arcane byzantine system they use.

    You can be sure the big unions will claim victory, and that is all the matters. They will seek their pound of flesh from Ed, and will cause a huge fuss if they don’t get it.

    Which is actually a crying shame, because I quite liked his acceptance speech.

  • Please note that the vast majaority of unions are affiliated to the labour Party, including Bob Crows rail union, the fire fighters and the civil servants and only a minority of UNISON members (you have to opt into the Labour link)

    in fact I know a number of Lib Dem (and Conservative) candidates including ministers who happily spoke at union meetings in the run up to the general election

    indeed in my own area the unions worked hard to give the Lib Dems a high profile to beat the Tory candidate FACT

    So lets not echo the right wing press on knocking trade unions

  • David Boothroyd 25th Sep '10 - 5:37pm

    No they don’t Stephen, they make up exactly 33.333% of the votes.

  • Of course with Lib Dems wanting the country to vote for AV come the referendum, it would be incredibly stupid for Lib Dems to join in on the almost inevitable Tory spin of Ed Milliband’s victory as being weak or uncertain seeing as it was a victory delivered by AV.

  • Mike(The Labour one) 25th Sep '10 - 5:42pm

    @Daniel Furr: Ed Miliband isn’t even to the left of John Smith, and David Miliband had a fair few left-wing policies that Ed didn’t. Believe me, if you spend any time around the Labour party you’ll know Ed Miliband is a more credible centrist than Tony Blair for example. I guess right-wingers like to call themselves moderates rather than saying “I’m of the right” like Blair but that just isn’t true, and doesn’t mean anything to their Left represents some kind of Bennism. Ed isn’t Benn and David isn’t Healey, not by a long chalk.

    The most positive thing to come out of the contest is the relative strength of each of the candidates- I don’t see how Ed Miliband would be able to, even if he wanted to, dominate the cabinet from the top-down. And it’s my opinion that his close relationship with David will stop any Blair-Brown warfare rather than cause it. It would be much more dangerous to have two big players who weren’t so personally close.

    Very happy about the result, Ed Miliband seemed like a much more comfortable speaker, he had a much better presence, than at the start of the election. Disappointed with Simon Hughes’ reaction, parroting the “deficit-deniar” line, because I like him. He may be called the conscience of the Lib Dems but he certainly isn’t the memory- accusing people of deficit-denialism for holding a stance he shared not so long ago. Especially with the example of Ireland possibly falling back into recession through cutting too much, too soon- I don’t mind Nick Clegg, or David Laws or one of those ostentatiously throwing their support behind the wrong approach but I like Simon Hughes too much to want him humiliated in front of the electorate.

  • Anthony Aloysius St 25th Sep '10 - 5:45pm


    The point is that that there were no “bloc votes” in this election. The phrase has a perfectly straightforward meaning, and it doesn’t apply here.

    Of course, what’s revealing is that you feel you have to start lying about the election within a few minutes of the result being announced.

  • I wonder what Ed will do if the Unions decide to start striking.

    I for one will be cheering on the Tories if the Unions start any of their funny business.

  • George W. Potter 25th Sep '10 - 5:49pm

    @Maria spot on.

    Labour can no longer with any credibility oppose AV. We mustn’t let them forget it and we must cease on it to gain a Yes in the AV referendum to deliver the new electoral system our country desperately needs and deserves.

  • Mike(The Labour one) 25th Sep '10 - 5:52pm

    “And if your a member of an affiliated trade union and the Liberal Democrats or any other political party you still get a vote?

    No you don’t, or you’re not supposed to. I imagine some will have ignored the rule about having to agree with the Labour party’s principles and so on but if you’d have wanted you could pay the membership and vote as well, like you can with any party. You’d need to get inside people’s heads to find out.

    What is important is that Ed Miliband had a decent showing among all three- that 47% of MPs/MEPs and 46% of members voted for Ed over David doesn’t exactly show that Ed Miliband was the candidate “of the unions”. Those are not numbers to be sniffed at.

  • Mike(The Labour one) 25th Sep '10 - 5:57pm

    @George W. Potter: On AV, get this straight-

    Labour still supports a referendum on AV. But to vote for it, they have to vote for other measures they were equally open in saying that they disagreed with. Your government has made it impossible for Labour to vote the way it would like.

    In the referendum I imagine a lot will be campaigning for a Yes and a lot for No, it’s up to the individual. Ed Miliband supports AV, as does David Miliband incidentally.

    Don’t fall into the trap that many Lib Dems are- which is rather than trying to persuade people to vote for AV, you’re just trying to position yourselves to blame Labour when the referendum is lost. It’s up to you what your priorities are, of course, whether to win AV or to use it as best you can to hammer Labour. I think the latter would help the Tories more than the cause of electoral reform, though you may not mind that- it’s hard to tell nowadays.

  • How has this thread go so bad-tempered so quickly? Look: Michael Portillo reckons the coalition should be more afraid of Ed than of David, and i rather agree with him. Dwelling on how Ed got to leader is an uninteresting point because only if certain other things to do with his own personal qualities align will it result in the trade unions coming to dominate Labour. We won’t know if he has sufficient character to stand up to the trade unions and reign them in for a while, but bear in mind that whatever else, standing against your heavily favoured older brother for Labour leader shows quite a lot of guts, as Nick Robinson pointed out.

    I imagine Ed will receive a barrage of attacks in the next two weeks from right-wing papers, the Sunday ones in particular, and i think the attack most likely to stick is that he is rhetorically bland and uninspiring, and gets labelled as dull. We will see. That’s just a guess. It’s clearly far too early to start definitively pronouncing on him as a leader, though that won’t stop journalists doing so, and the big key tests will be: 1) his line on the deficit, 2) his line on AV – the system that handed him victory, as has already been pointed out, 3) his arrangement of shadow cabinet jobs and ability to handle both his brother and Ed Balls, both of whom strike me as bigger policy heavyweights than him, 4) his overall strategic focus as opposition leader – in other words, his approach to attacking the Lib Dems, the Tories, the coalition’s fault lines and the two other leaders.

  • “Not by casting a vote on behalf of their members, no (nor did I claim that), but by urging all their members to vote for Ed”

    Yes, you did. You used the term ‘bloc vote’. And now to misuse of language we can add patronising dismissal of union members as automatons who will vote as the leadership demands.

  • It probably isn’t helpful to look at the new dynamic in the Labour Party through the prism of recent history if we want to understand what the opposition to the coalition is going to look like in the next few years. The Labour Party has changed along with the culture of the country since they were last in opposition, and it is going to be Ed Miliband’s challenge to make the Party relevant and electable again. What is not going to help, though, is that he is going to find it difficult to ignore the unions (a problem Blair didn’t have), and at a time when the unions are gearing up to defend their members’ interests against the cuts the government and media are going to be doing all they can to foster the atavistic Winter (Spring) of Discontent narrative which will almost inevitably damage Ed Miliband to some extent.

  • So that’s going to be the LibDem angle of attack is it? To attack the party and leadership from a rightwing agenda. Good luck with that, and I hope you’ll be glad with the company you will be keeping. Something tells me you will.

  • Mike(The Labour one) 25th Sep '10 - 6:00pm

    @Stephen Tall: And some of the unions endorsed other candidates. The unions didn’t deliver Ed Miliband the leadership, 51% of all voters did. 47% of MPs and MEPs, 46% of members- those are not insignificant numbers.

  • @Peter

    The deliberate misuse of language is something that you will find is very prevalent in articles on LDV.

  • Anthony Aloysius St 25th Sep '10 - 6:03pm

    “As for the bloc vote, the big union leaders put their weight and money behind the Ed Miliband campaign — that is how they delivered him his victory. Not by casting a vote on behalf of their members, no (nor did I claim that), …”

    That’s precisely what you claimed. You referred to “the trade unions delivering their bloc vote to Ed.” That’s what “bloc vote” means – that the votes are cast as a block on behalf of the members.

    What you wrote was a lie, plain and simple.

  • The main difference between Ed and David Milliband is that Ed was not an MP when Labour pushed through the vote to invade Iraq. Not that he would have voted against of course. The fewer pro invasion MPs in parliament and the fewer in prominent positions the better all round.

    The other difference is that David is a more accomplished performer, so Cameron will get an easier ride opposite Ed. However if Ed wants to attract Liberals to Labour, he will have to drastically purge Labour of illiberal tendencies, though this might include an awkward confrontation with his bathroom mirror

    What Ed Milliband could do is to provide support for the Liberal Democrats in our effort to win arguments in government. Tuition fees for example.

  • I’m ashamed by the comments of other Lib Dems on this thread and the silly triumphalist noise made by Stephen tall made uncritically in favour of the coalition (as always).

    Your analysis is deeply flawed because whilst you provide the first choice vote for the other members, you don’t provide their other choices. Ed might not have won on a first past the post system, but he won on AV.IF you want AV you’d be better off not criticising the system.

    You have no evidence at all that Ed will be in the thrall of the unions, we’ll just have to wait and see. Lets be honest though, the way things are going for the coalition (only getting worse atm) a dead cat could have been Labour leader and thet would still win the next election.

    WHat people fail to understand is that Labour lost out big time at the last election mainly due to a splitting of the centre left vote. As Clegg has rejected centre left voters they will now return to Labour They are far more likely to do that for someone like Ed who isn’t so implicated in the cock ups of New Labour.You need no more evidenc eof this fact than the polls which show a 12% swing to Labour since the election, apparently overwhelmingly at the Lib Dems expense.

    You fail to realise that while David might be more electable for middle Englanders, Ed certainly seems to have more of an appeal to the left wing lib dems Clegg told to get lost.

    As with most of your analyses from what I can tell (following since before the election) they are mainly based on a theological sense of optimism coupled with a misrepresentation of facts and a moral inconsistency.

    I know that, whilst I will remain a party member for the hope of better days, I will take Clegg’s advise and vote Labour with Ed as leader (I wouldn’t have for David, due to his deep ties to torture and the war… and him being a Blair clone) unless the party kicks out Clegg and changes direction to a viable future poisition which does not cover the exact same ground as the Tories.

  • Mike(The Labour one) 25th Sep '10 - 6:13pm

    Hate the tone of this comments section from Lib Dems seemingly distressed that working oiks get the chance to engage politically. Seen and not heard, Lib Dems? Back to the good old days when you and the Tories could play musical chairs between yourselves, content in the knowledge that the poor had no vote?

    Like it was pointed out, 40% isn’t an insignificant amount for David Miliband either. I think he got more first choice votes from the unions too? Would you, if we get AV, be annoyed if a Lib Dem candidate only one because of, say, Labour secondary votes? Would you think that made the candidate the “Labour” candidate?

  • David Boothroyd 25th Sep '10 - 6:14pm

    How many times do we have to tell you Stephen Tall, there is no trade union block (which is how we spell it in English) vote in the electoral college. None.

  • “the big trade unions delivered their bloc vote to Ed”

    Hmm, yes, repeating a lie makes it true.

    Or something.

  • @Rob no one has criticized the AV system its the 3 part electoral college with the third mainly made up of union votes swinging it for Ed that Stephen is pointing out.

  • Could somebody from the Labour Party please tell me why the party does not simply have one person one vote – my sixth form politics class cannot understand – 1 of them seems to think it is not very democratic

  • @David Boothroyd, block and bloc are two different words with different meanings (see the dictionary links Huw posted earlier)

    Under the definition of bloc vote then it applies perfectly well to the union vote as it is made up of individuals likely to vote in the same or similar way

  • @David its in order to give their MPs and MEPs far more weighting in the voting than normal party or union members.

  • David Boothroyd 25th Sep '10 - 6:23pm

    Because, David, the phrase ‘one member one vote’ assumes that it is clear what a ‘member’ is. The Labour Party is an organization which has individual members and affiliated organizations which themselves have members. The latter are members of the Labour Party, but not on the same basis as the individual members. Should all the affiliated members be counted as ‘members of the Labour Party’? In that case Labour has more than 3,000,000 members and Ed Miliband won fair and square. Should they not be counted as members? In that case we are cutting the largest part of our membership out of the party, and depriving them of a voice – and that certainly isn’t democratic. So we have an electoral college.

    Now that explanation ought to be simple enough even for a Liberal.

  • Mike(The Labour one) 25th Sep '10 - 6:24pm

    @Stephen Tall: No I was not being ironic. Union votes wouldn’t have got him anywhere without a good level of support in the MPs/MEPs and members sections. Like I said, 46% and 47% are not small percentages. They don’t exactly point to a wipe out in those areas now do they? That looks to me like a broad level of appeal across all three sections.

    Now Stephen, I’d like you to answer this question- you said-

    “So that narrowest of wins is down to the trade unions delivering their bloc vote to Ed. I imagine they will expect him to be duly grateful.”

    Would you be equally perturbed at this following scenario?

    “So that narrowest of wins is down to the Labour voters delivering their second votes to the Lib Dem candidate. I imagine they will expect him to be duly grateful.”

    Would you dismiss a Lib Dem voted through under AV because of Labour second votes as a “Labour” candidate that will only act as a puppet of those voters?

  • @Stephen Tall

    With every response you become more and more ridiculous. Just accept the fact that it was a close fought election. Each of the leading two candidates managed, after several rounds, to acquire the votes of large numbers in each of the three electoral colleges. The winner winning by a bigger margin in one of the electoral colleges. Those are the facts. Your suppositions are not facts, no matter how much you wish them to be.


    I pity your students if you do not have the ability to explain to them what an electoral college is an how they work in practice.

  • Mike(The Labour one) 25th Sep '10 - 6:27pm

    @Stephen Tall: And if every vote was of equal weight he would have won by a greater percentage… 28,000 more votes than David Miliband is the figure. So he didn’t win because the votes are of different weight at all.

  • @ Daniel Furr
    “We must maintain the center ground.”

    You won’t because you are cutting the center ground from beneath you!

  • Anthony Aloysius St 25th Sep '10 - 6:31pm

    “I will happily repeat: the big trade unions delivered their bloc vote to Ed.”

    All you’re doing by repeating the lie is demonstrating how shameless you are.

    It was quite funny listening to the BBC’s report of the result – “not trade union bloc votes, of course – they were abolished years ago …”

    You know as well as I do that there were no bloc votes in this election. In fact, a majority of the affiliate votes went _against_ Ed Miliband in the first round.

  • Richard Hill 25th Sep '10 - 6:32pm

    Whatever,it certainly seems to have caused a reaction in the Labour ranks. You only have to look at the thread to see how desperate they are to defend a terrible electrol system, apart from the AV bit. There are signs of them falling out already on the TV and there is still another 4.5 years to go till the next general election. Will they survive.

  • Mike(The Labour one) 25th Sep '10 - 6:34pm

    Ha, yeah, will *Labour* survive, that’s the question at a time when we’re polling roughly three times your party.

  • My word, considering their road back to power has just been laid down, the Labour activists certainly are tetchy today arent they 😀

  • @Stephen

    ” In the third round, David won with 42.72% to Ed’s 41.26%. Ed Balls was knocked out and his votes redistributed, leaving only two candidates.

    In the final round David fell behind with 49.35%. Ed won with 50.65% ”

    It’s clear that Ed won the vote due to a redistribution of second choice preferences, he was probably the second choice of most people who voted for the other candidates.

    “No, Ed won because of Labour’s electoral college in which the votes of all party members do not count equally.”

    Yes, well that is something I agree should be reformed, but had David won it would have been for the same reasons. Chiefly because the parliamentary party’s vote which counts 600X per vote (far more disproportionate than Union votes) would have carried it for David. The other candidates didn’t ever really have a chance.

    To paint the union vote is homogenous is somewhat patronising.

    Your analysis is flawed, and if anything is an argument AGAINST AV.

    Regardless of the votes. Your triumphalism is not just silly, but not very clever either. I would have thought other Lib Dems would have been supportive that Ed was elected as opposed to David. Clearly it is the only realistic choice if Labour is going to reform itself and connect with the grass roots.

  • Paul McKeown 25th Sep '10 - 6:37pm

    I think the wider Labour movement might have made the right choice.

    David failed to plunge the knife into Gordon Brown when he could and should have. That was a weakness that the country could not afford and a lesson that the parliamentary Labour party needs to learn. As to Ed M’s policies, shall we wait and see what they are.

    I am in any case grateful that they did not choose Ed Balls and hope further that Ed M. has the good sense not to choose him as Shadow Chancellor.

  • Patrick Smith 25th Sep '10 - 6:38pm

    Ed Miliband was the choice of the Unions today but will he be the choice of the Country in 2015? David Milliband wanted to win to be PM in 2015 and choose to keep the Unions at arms length .

    The new Labour Leader has said that he cannot conceive of any future `Coalition’ with Nick Clegg.

    Will DPM Nick Clegg become a more intelligent international statesman and take Britian`s Liberal interests,human rights and trade confidence forward in the wake of his UN speeches ? Will he now further capitalise the use of European dialogue with his mastery of five languages?

    The question remains as to the new Labour Leader`s position on AV as he will surely be compromised, if he fails to admit that he owes his win only to redistributed votes in the fourth round?

    Nick Robinson placed too much faith in the first round 37% to DM and only 34% to EM but he is still the greatest pundit most of the time.

  • And I find it worrying that so many self-purpoted ‘liberals’here are only ‘liberal’ up until the point when you disagree with your views. Then they call you stupid and fail to apply logic to their own arguments….. some people seem to be downright cultish and fanatical with regards to the party. Surely a liberal should allow many different arguments, and take the best points of all?

  • “Nick Robinson placed too much faith in the first round 37% to DM and only 34% to EM but he is still the greatest pundit most of the time.”

    Did he used to be the greatest pundit of all time when he gave his horrendously biased opinions on the Lib Dems during the election campaign?

  • Mike(The Labour one) 25th Sep '10 - 6:40pm

    @Paul McKeown: You already have two parties singing from the same hymn sheet, I think it would be healthy to have a distinctive voice like Ed Balls as shadow chancellor. Especially when its looking like he could very well be right.

  • TheContinentalOp 25th Sep '10 - 6:42pm

    Good god. Me and my partner have voted Lib Dem at most local and national elections since 97. We are both trade union members who had the chance to vote in the Labour leadership election.

    I didn’t vote but my partner did (Ed Miliband was her first choice). To describe her and millions like her as a ‘Union bloc’ is as dishonest as it is insulting. The Torification of the Lib Dems continues.

  • I’m a Labour member and I had four votes – one as a member of the Labour Party, one as a member of an affiliated union (UNITE), one as a member of the Fabian Sociaty and another as a member of Labour Students. Even as a Labour supporter I find this faintly absurd.

  • Paul McKeown 25th Sep '10 - 6:43pm


    Well we have to disagree there. I can understand Alistair Darling’s position, I can understand George Osborne’s position, I can understand Vince Cable’s position. I think, however, that Ed Balls is just barking mad.

  • Ed was the only realistic candidate who could claim to be trying to distance the Labour party from its past.

    As such, with all this haping about ‘how Labour won’t accept the mistakes of the past…. look at David’ Lib Dems should be glad that Labour elected Ed. But, of course, no…. whatever Labour do is wrong.

    People often claim that it is the Labourites who are the most hostile to the Lib Dems, but I see it the other way around. There is a tacit respect for most Lib Dem voters by many Labour voters, but they feel sympathy because they beleive the Lib Dems betrayed their own voters (ofc that belief is also based on their political beliefs).

    Some of the Lib Dems here have possibly been some of the most seriously illiberal people I have seen on the internet. Any criticism of the party is disallowed. Whilst the views of voters like me are ditched and we are sent packin into the wilderness, I have to say Ed looks the most convincing other choice for most of us.

  • Richard Hill 25th Sep '10 - 6:47pm

    So the unions are in bed with the weird “Red Ed”. It will be back to the old days of hate and envy that tend to spew from Labour. Instead of trying to unite society ,if thet get their way it will become more devided. If you hate civilization join Labour, if you want to work towards a better world eat, drink and sleep Liberal. Viva the Liberal-Democrats.

  • Mike(The Labour one) 25th Sep '10 - 6:50pm

    @Paul McKeown: We will have to disagree. I think it’s barking mad to be taking the most painful and economically dangerous route to fix an economic problem. I suppose if growth falters, tax receipts fall, etc, then George Osborne won’t mind putting those 40% theoretical cuts through. For the Tories if the nation loses, they win, they get to lock the country into taking the neoliberal experiment even further. Supporting them in government is barking mad.

  • It was a good acceptance speech. Especially if he delivers on working across party lines in the national interest, after four months of Opposition seemingly meaning Opposing Everything with nothing positive as an alternative.

    New Labour was on the right on economics (privatising things, too lenient with banks, at ease with the very rich). But to the left on state control of everything else (top-down leadership, micromanaging everything, civil liberties out the window etc).
    EM having acknowledged that it went wrong, it will be interesting to see what New New Labour turns out to be. Or indeed, called!
    And if there are strikes (some Sociailst group out in the city centre here today, with a petition against cuts. Given that they haven’t been announced in detail yet, I presume it was Against Cuts Full Stop), it will be interesting to see how the new Labour leadership respond. Brown wasn’t too enthusiastic for any of the union action seen over the last year or so.

  • So the fact that some Labour party members are here disputing Stephen Tall’s frankly silly suppositions makes them wrong?

    Genetic fallacy, another blow against the apparent ‘party of reason’.

    As a Lib Dem I find it annoying that instead of trying to win back us left liberals the party as a whole just seems to want to balme Labour and enters into a state of denial that they are not going anywhere without a centre-left vote.

    The big danger for the current Lib Dems is that Ed will unite the centre left vote which has traditionally been split across the two parties, which appears to make up around 50% of the vote.

    IF the Liberals can’t do anything to pull us back in, I am frankly happy to be part of that danger to the Liberal party. A punishment for neglecting to take into account the views of your electorate.

  • IF the union leaders a clever, and they are probably cleverer than many think, then they know that if they don’t want to enable 5 more years of Tory rule unreasonable strikes are not a good policy..

    And who knows, by the end of this four years we could see a much greater sympathy for the Unions, especially as the economic policies (some of which are unnecessary) bite everyone.

  • Leaving on one side whether Ed Milliband’s victory is a triumph or a disaster for the Labour party (and indeed for the rest of us – they are the only opposition in town), my worry about this is that it will be used as an argument against AV. Oh look, people will say – the MPs didn’t want him, the MEPs didn’t want him, the ordinary constituency members didn’t want him but he won anyway because of AV. Whereas the blame – if blame there be – lies squarely with the Labour party’s stupid electoral college. Why on earth can’t they have one member one vote like a sensible grown-up political party? And who would have won if they had?

  • ‘ We must maintain the center ground. It’s ours for the taking.’. You can’t even spell it. Our movement now has a leader not tied to the mistakes of Blairism, able to unite progressive opinion – at the same time the Lib Dems vacate progressive ground for Tory slash and burn politics. Can’t wait till May!

  • Mike actually makes an interesting point about AV – actually I think it’s right that a candidate elected on the second preferences transferred from another party probably would take a lot more care about those opinions than one who wins on first preferences alone. But that’s one of the strengths of AV in helping to ensure that our representatives take account of a wider range of views.

    And the Labour contest demonstrates a clear strength of AV – the Blairite candidate (to adopt the media’s simplification) commanded the largest minority but the non-Blairite candidate was (allowing for Labour’s rather peculiar college) the one who commanded the most (and majority) support in a straight contest. With FPTP they’d have got Millie-D.

  • John Fraser 25th Sep '10 - 7:57pm

    @ Richard Hill
    Your comment does come over as being without intellectual depth. Not sure what you trying to add to the argument … thought we were against Yaa Boo politics. (Trying to say this in a nice way as a fellow Lib Dem).

  • David Allen 25th Sep '10 - 8:13pm


    Why do you have to lie, when there is a perfectly valid point that you could make which is true?

    “They helped fund his campaign, their leaders endorsed him: he won the union section as a result.”
    Perfectly fair comment. A big problem for Labour, who are indeed seriously weakened by the way Ed won.

    “The big trade unions delivered their bloc vote to Ed.”

    Is it because lying is now our default mode of argument, because when we talk about the coalition, there is so much that needs to be lied about?

  • I quite like Ed Milliband as a person (don’t like his politics) but he faces a challenge which he must rise to quickly and show some real leadership.
    1. Can he admit Labour would have cut and cut severely and then spell out how he’ll do it?
    2. Will he support and campaign with Nick on AV?
    3. Can he lead and ignore all this media baloney about being ‘red ed’? Come on, i know it suits some of us to say this but it’s actually a load of old nonsense just like the claptrap over Vince’s attack on capitalism. The media reporting should be more interesting with coalition and devolution but it’s actually worse with little or no analysis and some over simplified reporting.

    Sometimes politicians have to lead. Nick is doing that. Hopefully the days of running scared of the media are over for Labour too and we can get a set of politicians across the board who are willing to build for the long term.

    Well i live in hope…lol

  • Richard Hill 25th Sep '10 - 9:35pm

    @ John Fraser

    All intellectual argument and no play, do you really want to turn me into somebody like Gordon Brown. I thought most of the arguments were clear from the thread, some people will see it one way others will see it another. I doubt that I can easily change the minds of the misguided but over time I can try. However I think it is a good result for us in the long term and I felt like celibrating a bit. In future though I will take your coments into consideration, thank you.

  • George Kendall,

    OK. It wasn’t an outright lie. It was an overclaim, a misleading choice of words.

    Another poster pointed out the terminological inexactitude situation before I did, to which I’m afraid Stephen’s response was totally unrepentant. Well, if your overclaim is pointed out to you, and you cheerfully maintain and repeat the overclaim, then you don’t really deserve a lot of respect.

  • Anthony Aloysius St 26th Sep '10 - 12:33am

    “It’s not nice to accuse someone of lying. Stephen has made clear that when he used the words “bloc vote”, he didn’t mean “block vote”. “

    “Trade union block vote” and “trade union bloc vote” have identical meanings. Nor has Stephen Tall made any claim that the spelling has any significance.

    The meaning, as you must know, is very precise and very well-known to anyone who takes an interest in politics. And as both Stephen Tall and you know very well there was no block vote in this election.

    No, it’s not nice to have to accuse people of lying. But it’s not nice to be lied to either. So why are you defending the liar, and attacking those who have pointed out the falsehood?

  • There is no bloc Trade Union vote in relation to the selection of the Labour Party leader, I am an opponent of the Labour Party but your comment is misleading.

  • I’m surprised that Lib Dem Voice has not mentioned that Ed Miliband has some rather Liberal Democrat-esque opinions.

    He supports the coalition’s changes in law and order, says the Iraq War was a mistake, wants to include Trident in the spending review, has expressed an interest in electoral reform and supports AV (but has said doesn’t want PR in the Commons), thinks civil liberties are an important issue where “Labour overstepped the mark” (mentioning ID cards, detention, stop and search), cares a lot about climate change, wants rid of tuition fees, and supports gay marriage.

    I suspect Ed Miliband’s plan is to spend the next few years targetting Liberal Democrat voters.

  • “Bloc” is a French spelling of “block”, probably borrowed however from Dutch (blok) rather than English. In addition to the meanings of the word which are shared with English, it acquired the sense of a “homogeneous mass”, within which the parts cannot be distinguished, which meaning became primary when the word was borrowed into English, used especially of groupings that are so tightly unified that they might as well be a single entity. “Bloc voting” therefore means a vote _en bloc_, as an undifferentiated, tightly unified mass, of which all members vote as one.

    I don’t think the term “block voting” exists, except as a misspelling of “bloc voting”.

  • Vital we don’t let our fellow Lib Dems drag the party towards hubris. We will need Labour. We will need them for AV. We will need them to challenge the Tories where we cannot. But also, we can benefit from cultivating a better relationship with them now, as it will strengthen our hand with the Tories. If the Tories start realising that Lib Dems also have options, then they will have to keep us sweet. In fact both of the parties will have to keep us sweet, strengthening our hands whom ever we are in coalition with.

  • Chris Baldwin 26th Sep '10 - 10:38am

    Beyond the fact that, as everyone knows, there is no block vote, I’m surprised to hear a so-called liberal take such an attitude to trade unions. I thought liberals were in favour of workers’ rights? Lloyd George must be rolling in his grave…

  • attacking trade unions’ many like the royal college of nursing or teaching unions are not even affiliated to the Labour Party is the new vogue in the Coalition ???? really centre ground ??

    Please note again most unions are not affiliated to the Labour Party, and even amongst the larger unions most members do not pay the political (Labour) Levy

  • David Wright 26th Sep '10 - 12:25pm

    First, I am glad to see that the Labour Party publish the votes in some detail, (did they do that for previous leaders?). It’s interesting to see how some MPs voted. Diane Abbott voted only for herself; I assume she didn’t care which other candidate won. The Millibands voted for each other as second preference (how sweet) but for no other candidate. Some other MPs voted for only 1 candidate too.

    Among the affiliated organisations, a million ballot papers went to UNITE and 550k to GMB. Their turnouts were low, but they still accounted for 144k votes between them – nearly 10 times as many as all the non-union affiliated groups’ votes.

    I find the tripartite system odd, but I can see where it comes from, and I’m glad they’ve dropped the old block vote system. But I do wonder whether it remains in spirit, especially if the big unions pick a candidate and campaign for that candidate.

    What does seem wrong to me is that some people get more than one vote, and that people who are not Labour supporters can vote for the Labour leader. I can see that union members who make a political contribution to the Labour party (but are not full members) are entitled to a vote, but I’ve heard of lots of Lib Dems who are union members being asked to vote – surely they can’t be considered Labour Members?

    Finally, I find it sad that people can’t disagree without calling each other liars. Some people posting here may be mistaken, or may interpret the same facts differently, or may not be listening to those providing evidence that they are wrong. But I don’t think they are deliberately lying. Those who rant are likely to be ignored; those who provide good arguments based on fact stand much more chance of convincing people.

  • Anthony Aloysius St 26th Sep '10 - 12:35pm

    “As for this ‘bloc vote’ argument… they endorsed Ed, and their members broadly voted for Ed. What’s the problem?”

    How many times does it have to be explained?

    A trade union block vote is one in which all the union’s votes are cast in a single block. That system was abolished some years ago, so what Stephen Tall wrote above simply isn’t true.

    This used to be a major political issue back when Labour policies were determined by trade union block votes at conference. I realise that the system was abolished so long ago that some people here don’t understand the terminology properly, but it should be easy enough for you to check, especially once it’s been explained several times.

  • Anthony Aloysius St 26th Sep '10 - 12:42pm

    “Some people posting here may be mistaken, or may interpret the same facts differently, or may not be listening to those providing evidence that they are wrong. But I don’t think they are deliberately lying.”

    You really don’t think anyone here ever writes something that they know to be untrue? P. T. Barnum wasn’t wrong, was he?

  • Stephen Donnelly 26th Sep '10 - 12:54pm

    Now that we have the full figures we can see that Jayu comment about affiliates (above) is wrong, affiliates made up just under 9000 of the nearly 250,000 trade union and affiliate votes. Perhaps he now regrets using the phrase ‘blatant lie’. Ed won because the big unions, GMB, UCATT, Unison and UNITE backed him. See Martin Kettle’s post on the Guardians ‘Comment is Free’ section for support of this view.

    If this has been an OMOV vote with members and trade unions given equal wright, Ed would have been ahead on first preferences by 11000 votes, but the turnout figure would have been just 13%.

    This is a muddled system that has produced a muddled result.

  • The irony of course is that had the unions not had a vote which was artificially reduced to 33% between them, on the basis that it would have been one member one vote, then Ed would have overwhelming won.

    For a party that ‘represents’ workers and the unions as part of their tradtiion the fact is that the union power is reduced NOT increased by the fact they are given 33% of the vote.

    Personally I think the system should be changed so that MP’s get no votes. We have the case of MP’s having 600X voting power then a member of the party, that is hardly fair either. They mostly voted for Dave (suprise suprise).

  • “What does seem wrong to me is that some people get more than one vote, and that people who are not Labour supporters can vote for the Labour leader. I can see that union members who make a political contribution to the Labour party (but are not full members) are entitled to a vote, but I’ve heard of lots of Lib Dems who are union members being asked to vote – surely they can’t be considered Labour Members?”

    Labour was originally, as was designed to be, a mass party. The union vote is a part of that tradition and frankly a more democratic one IMO as Labour claims to represent the interests of working people and the unions, hence the name.

    Even if some of the voters were not Labour members, I do not see how this makes their vote irrelevant. SInce this is the person that they are essentially choosing to represent their interests as union members (if not as everyday citizens). If they really don’t care (as obviously many don’t) they can just not vote.

  • @Daniel- I should have hoped that Liberal Democrats of all people should realise by now that it is not wise to jump to conclusions on how united a party is.

  • Rob wrote, ‘I’ve heard of lots of Lib Dems who are union members being asked to vote’

    Yes but you had to tick a box declaring that you were not a member of a party that stood candidates against the Labour Party. Are you suggesting that these Lib Dems made false declarations?

  • Anthony Aloysius St 26th Sep '10 - 3:16pm


    “From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voting_bloc :
    “A voting bloc is a group of voters that are so motivated by a specific concern or group of concerns that it helps determine how they vote in elections”
    “The term block voting is also used to refer to the concept of voting as a block, a system of winner take all decision-making whereby the vote of an entire electoral unit is cast in line with the majority decision of that unit, discounting any contrary votes””

    Now _you’re_ being disingenuous.

    “A voting bloc” is obviously quite different from a “bloc vote,” which is what Stephen Tall wrote. In the wikipedia article you quote, “block voting” is given one meaning and one meaning only – “the concept of voting as a block, a system of winner take all decision-making whereby the vote of an entire electoral unit is cast in line with the majority decision of that unit, discounting any contrary votes.”

    The article even goes on to explain specifically what the term meant in the context of the Labour party. Naturally, you omitted to quote that part of the article!

  • David Allen 27th Sep '10 - 1:11pm


    Nice try, won’t wash. A standard technique of dog-whistle politics is to attack by means of weasel words which the listener will interpret as damning, but where a pedantic escape route has been created, so that the speaker can deny if pressed that he ever made the accusation. For example, “Mr Tatchell’s argument looks very queer”, followed by “It is disgraceful to accuse me of smearing my opponent’s homosexuality, I was discussing the logical imperfections of the case he was putting forward, honest Injun!”

    Stephen Tall has used this form of argumentative technique, and I really don’t think it matters whether it is described as dishonest, or unworthy, or an overclaim, or whether one chooses to use the l – word. The technique is wrong.

    And what particularly struck me was that it was quite unnecessary. There is a powerful case to be made that the union bosses exerted undue influence in Labour’s vote and that the result is thereby tainted. There was absolutely no need to try to gild the lily by trying to suggest to gullible readers (if there are any such on LDV!) that those bosses had cast an old-fashioned block vote.

    So why do so? I can only think it is an ingrained bad habit.

  • Jim Monaghan 27th Sep '10 - 2:12pm

    Lib Dem Voice using tabloid anti-union rhetoric? There was no mistake here, this was a deliberate attempt to portray unions, and the Labour Party, in the context of a 1970s cliche about block voting.

    On TV yesterday I couldnt believe that BBC commentators referred to TUC speeches by Bob Crow and Mark Serwotka, neither of whom belong to unions that are affiliated to Labour.

    This spin against Ed Miliband will be easy to comvbat as it is juts plain lies and doesnt stand up to any scrutiny.

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