Published:

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By Paul Goodman
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The deal seems to be that Karie Murphy is reinstated as a Labour member (which pleases Len McCluskey), that she withdraws from the contest for the Party's Parliamentary candidacy in Falkirk (which pleases Ed Miliband) and that Labour says that there is no proof of wrongdoing
either by them or Unite – which will delight McClusky and embarrass Miliband, who denounced Unite's behaviour in Falkirk as "a politics that was closed. A politics of the machine. A politics that
is rightly hated. What we saw in Falkirk" – the Labour leader concluded, as recently as July – "is part of the death-throes of
the old politics".

To which the only proper response can be that the old politics seems to be alive and well this morning.  Michael Crick's tweet at the top of this piece reports that witnesses to wrongdoing were allegedly persuaded to withdraw evidence under pressure: Miliband will be well aware of these claims.  He evidently decided that, with the TUC Conference looming next week, it was better for him to suffer a final embarrassment over Falkirk yesterday than remain exposed to it during the coming week. And as Dan Hodges points out, "the Falkirk constituency stays in special measures, McCluskey’s favoured candidate will not be contesting the seat".  So although Miliband is embarrassed by the deal, he isn't humiliated.

The problem for the Labour leader is that voters, in so far as they are following the Falkirk story at all, won't grasp the niceties: all they'll see is that Miliband said something was badly wrong in Falkirk…and that Labour has now told the world to move on – as far as Falkirk is concerned – and that there's nothing to see.  The whole sorry business doesn't exactly project an image of strength, exactly the quality Miliband will need to see his proposed union funding reform plans through; exactly the quality which, on immigration and welfare and Leveson and Syria, he hasn't convinced voters that he possesses.

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