Are the unions a bigger threat to the Lib Dems than Ashcroft was?

by Stephen Tall on October 22, 2010

A Guardian headline today reads, Unions focus on Lib Dem seats in battle to save jobs. The story makes clear how trade unions will mobilise their resources to fight the budget cuts unveiled this by George Osborne’s comprehensive spending review — and in particular focus on Lib Dems:

The campaign is expected to focus on constituencies held by Liberal Democrat MPs who, unions believe, will be vulnerable to local pressure as many of the people who supported them did not vote for cuts on the scale revealed this week.

Nowt wrong with unions mobilising to protect their members’ interests: that, after all, is their function. But it’s clear what the potential threat to Lib Dem MPs is…

While in the first instance, the unions will be mobilising to protect the jobs and services likely to be lost as the Coalition cuts the deficit, the networks established in the process are likely to be put to political use at local elections in the lead-up to the general election.

Combine that with Unite’s deep pockets, and Lib Dem MPs have reason to be nervous that the electoral assault will be much tougher even than that launched by the Tories’ Lord Ashcroft against incumbent Lib Dem MPs last May.