Peter Hoskin

The unions start to swing behind Ed Miliband

The unions start to swing behind Ed Miliband
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Bear with me, CoffeeHousers, while I return to the Labour leadership contest. You see, the GMB has this afternoon announced that it is backing Ed Miliband for the job – which is a fairly significant intervention. This is first endorsement from one of the major trade unions, and it overshadows the support that David Miliband has received from lower league organisations. The question now is whether Unite and Unison will follow GMB's lead. Many expect that they will.

The influence of the unions in internal Labour elections has, in the past, been overstated. But there's reason to believe that they'll wield quite some power over this contest.  As Medhi Hasan points out in the latest New Statesman, there's surprisingly little to distinguish the candidates on policy terms – all are more or less stuck in a Brownite fog. So simple perceptions, lubricated by messages of support and endorsement, will matter even more than usual. 

UPDATE: And Ed Balls has got the backing of the Communication Workers Union. The endorsement arms race begins in earnest...