It is not just Labour MPs who rely on the trade unions to fund their election campaigns but also Labour councillors. In return the trade unions have reps on the Local Government Committee of constituency parties which choose council candidates.
So it is not surprising that Labour councillors are anxious to toe the union line. So they have been attacking their leader Ed Miliband's support for spending cuts and public sector pay freeze.
Cllr Richard Williams, Labour opposition leader on Southampton says:
“I don’t think it’s the right way forward. I think the outcomes of that will be to demotivate staff.
"I’m quite surprised at the leader of the party. It’s certainly not where I would have thought we would have been going with this.”
Cllr Joe Anderson, the Leader of Labour-run Liverpool City Council says:
"The Labour leadership is not tackling the big issues that ordinary people want handling: the way that banks have got away with this. The national party needs to do more to show that those that have benefited will pay the heaviest price. People are frustrated with Labour because they are not articulating that strongly enough."
I wonder how much this public criticism will spread? What should help calm things down is that the Labour leader's policy is in a constant state of flux. His support for cuts is combined with his view that we need a bigger public sector.