‘Jeremy Corbyn will cure Labour Party of its Blairite virus’ – union

Jeremy Corbyn © Darren Staples
One of Britain’s biggest trade unions has described Labour leadership candidate Jeremy Corbyn as the “antidote” to the “Blairite virus” gripping the party.

The Communication Workers Union (CWU) said Thursday that Corbyn offered Labour Party members a chance to fight back against center-right leaders such as former Business Secretary Peter Mandelson.

The CWU, which boasts 200,000 members, said the veteran socialist agrees with the majority of its policies, such as opposing the privatization of the Royal Mail and offering a real alternative to austerity.

CWU General Secretary Dave Ward said choosing to support Corbyn in the leadership race was an easy decision.

I am delighted to announce that the CWU will be backing Jeremy Corbyn MP to be the next leader of the Labour Party. There are no quick fixes for the Labour Party, but there are some easy decisions and choosing Jeremy as its leader should be one of them.”

We think that it is time for a change for Labour. The grip of the Blairites and individuals like Peter Mandelson must now be loosened once and for all.

There is a virus within the Labour Party and Jeremy Corbyn is the antidote,” he added.

Ward went on to reject the idea that Labour must move to the center ground of British politics.

The center ground has moved significantly to the right in recent years. We do not see arguing for fairer wealth distribution, decent jobs with good pay, terms and conditions and a substantial increase in affordable housing for the next generation as a left-wing agenda.”

Ward added that Corbyn agrees with the “vast majority of CWU policy,” including offering an alternative to austerity and repealing anti-trade union laws.

In offering its support, the CWU could potentially bring many thousands of votes to the North Islington MP’s leadership bid.
Eight trade unions have handed Corbyn their backing to date, six of which are affiliated to the Labour Party.

If even a smallish fraction of the combined 3.09 million members of these unions were to back the endorsement, Corbyn could romp home with a 50 percent-plus majority of the first round of voting. That would deny the three other, more moderate candidates, Andy Burnham, Yvette Cooper and Liz Kendall, of the chance of winning in a second round based on second-preference votes.

The six Labour affiliated unions currently endorsing Corbyn are Unite (1.4 million members), Unison (1.3 million), the Communication Workers Union (200,000), the Fire Brigades Union (44,000), the Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union (20,500) and transport union ASLEF (18,500).

The two non-Labour affiliated unions backing Corbyn are transport unions TSSA (32,000) and the militant transport union RMT (80,000).

Some 25 grassroots campaign groups and activists are also among the latest to publicly back Corbyn, including UK Uncut, Fuel Poverty Action, Disabled People Against Cuts, Southall Black Sisters and the Sex Workers Open University. They announced their support in an open letter to the New Statesman on Wednesday.

The letter read: “Jeremy Corbyn stands miles apart from the other Labour leadership contenders and he has consistently stood up for the issues we campaign on. Whether he’s been leading anti-war marches, standing up for the rights of disabled people or calling for radical solutions to the housing crisis, Jeremy has always been on the side of social movements.”

We know a lot of people are skeptical about the Labour Party, for many very legitimate reasons. We urge people, despite those concerns, to back a true campaigner leading the opposition.”

Prominent individuals to sign the letter included former Guantanamo Bay inmate Moazzam Begg and 92-year-old anti-war activist Walter Wolfgang, who was famously ejected from the 2005 Labour Party conference after he heckled then-Foreign Secretary Jack Straw over the Iraq war.