The Defend The Link campaign meets on 9 October to plan its campaign up to the Labour Party’s special conference, probably on 1 March 2014.
Its aim is to defend the trade unions’ collective political representation within the party. In July, in the wake of the now-discredited charges against the Unite union of malpractice in the Falkirk Labour Party, Labour leader Ed Miliband called for trade unionists to be counted out unless they individually "opt in".
The interim report to Party conference on 22 September by Ray Collins indicates a Labour leadership unconfident on the issue, and at least seems to say that any “opt-in” formula will be in addition to, not instead of, collective union representation.
There is good scope to campaign. Even better because the big public services union Unison has promised to send an official representative to the 9 October meeting, and other unions like TSSA and the Bakers are also backing the campaign.
There is also need to campaign. The Collins report is slippery. The leftish shift by the Labour leaders on the bedroom tax and energy prices, though welcome, could be used as cover for damaging proposals on Labour structures.
Central initiatives should be backed up by the creation of local DTL working group or committee in every area which works to canvass local Labour Parties and branches of affiliated unions.