Labour Party

Obituary: Red Barbara's Rocky Road

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The life of Labour left winger Barbara Castle.

I first heard Barbara Castle speak at a Young Socialist rally in Skegness in 1963. She was 53, I was 25. She was magnificent. She sensed an iconoclasm in the hall, with which she immediately identified. She had a way of rolling her body round her more eloquent phrases that gave the infectious impression of movement, passion and change.

Funds for the Future

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New Labour can no longer take the trade unions' money for granted.

For over 100 years the trade union movement has supported the Labour Party both politically and financially. Last year alone trade unions donated £10 million to Labour's coffers. But, as last month's Socialist Alliance trade union conference showed, New Labour can no longer take that support for granted. With over 1,000 trade unionists attending, it was the biggest unofficial trade union gathering in over two decades. The key debate was the question of opening up the unions' political funds to parties that oppose privatisation, defend union rights and protect jobs.

Labour and the Unions: We are Throwing Down the Gauntlet

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RMT activist Greg Tucker explains how growing radicalisation is leading to a rift between New Labour and the unions.

The RMT leadership was always proud of the deep links between Labour and the union at all levels. At the top the RMT sponsored half the shadow cabinet and had great expectations of a Labour government. A significant number of union activists had been encouraged to become Labour councillors and at the grassroots the union boasted the highest density of party membership of any trade union.

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