Peter Hoskin

The “progressive coalition” cuts its teeth

The "progressive coalition" cuts its teeth
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Trust Bob Crow to turn down the charm. Explaining why he was boycotting Mervyn King's address to the TUC today, the RMT union boss managed to liken the Governor of the Bank of England to both the "devil" and the "Sheriff of Nottingham". Unsurprising, perhaps – but it's yet another reminder of why, for the Labour leadership contenders, marching in lockstep with the unions may not be such a good idea. To Harriet Harman, a Labour Party bound to Crow & Co. might be a “progressive coalition”. But to the rest of the country, it will probably look slightly left of sane. Only David Miliband, to his credit, seems to have properly grasped this fact – and the fact that he might hope to work alongside people like King one day.   

As it happens, there was precious little devilry in King's speech. His tone was reverent and conciliatory – and he even admitted that the unions were "entitled to be angry" over a recession that "came out of the financial sector". If only Crow had been there, so he could have taken some notes on diplomacy.