Darren Lilleker on TUC conference to BBC Radio Solent

Darren Lilleker, a senior lecturer in Politics and Media at BU, spoke to BBC Radio Solent to give his thoughts on Ed Miliband’s speech at the TUC conference.

Speaking to Steve Harris on Solent’s Drivetime show, Darren gave his thoughts on Miliband’s comments, on Labour’s changing relationship with trade unions and what the decision, and indeed Miliband’s speech, will have on the future of the Labour Party.

Darren said of the speech, “It was cautious, it appealed to the unions’ anti-Conservatism.”

The conversation then progressed to look at Labour’s membership, and whether they were leaving themselves financially short by making this step. Darren continued, “What Labour has to do is reach out to a broader swathe of people and not rely on the trade unions as a supplier of membership and think about how it is going to get people to join the Party and, obviously, to donate to the Party. That is the big issue for the Party, losing the money that it relies on for its campaigns. But how do you get people to join political Parties and to engage with them?”

But where should the Party turn, again Darren explained how difficult it can be for Parties to find funding, “The whole party funding issue is very complex. How do you make sure that Parties are not being funded through businesses with vested interest? That is a huge debate that needs to be had!”

Darren was then asked how much damage could be done by Labour in making this decision, “I’m not sure how big an issue it is for the average voter. I don’t think the average man in the street is concerned about the relationships with [Labour and] the trade unions. For most it is an automatic association they make in their heads – Labour has always had a trade union link.”