No beer, no sandwiches – what now?

It’s TUC Congress time again! Unfortunately, extra unwanted distractions have prevented me this year from getting much of a grip on the inside track around this year’s congress in Liverpool. Which is a pity, because the top story this year is the Labour-union link.

Sam Coates’ intriguing interview with the GMB’s Paul Kenny and the Daily Mirror’s Derek Simpson scoop (quickly retracted) in which he wrote off both Labour amd Gordon Brown, have kept me busy wondering. What is the mood like in the no man’s land between Labour and its unions?

We could start by looking at the menu dished up at Friday’s lunch at Chequers for ten union bosses, including Brendan Barber, whose TUC is not actually affiliated to the Labour Party, despite the attitude of some of its staff and friendly hangers-on.

The Sun reports that balti was served, except for the “vegetarian” Derek Simpson who had non-meat lasagne. Vegetarian? Shome mishtake shurely? Simpson is a pescatarian: he eats fish and chips. In fact he loves fish and chips, and tends to insist on being served it wherever he goes – including last year’s TUC general council dinner, where his staff wrote “fish and chips” on his dietary requirements form.

In fact, the fact that he didn’t demand it on this occasion suggests Simpson might have been in a more conciliatory mood than his Mirror interview suggested (perhaps because by the time he turned up, his union was trying so hard to backpedal from what he’d said.)

I wonder what’s on the menu for this year’s general council dinner?

Actual news when I can find some. Sorry but life is hard right now.


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