Tribune - the leftie mag I thought had expired yonks ago - has importuned another (not quite) socialite-socialist (ret'd) to take over where the marketing budget left off. Step forward Farah Damji whose work occupies the centre pages of the latest issue - an interview with the outgoing National Chairman of the Prison Officers' Association (POA), Colin Moses; described as the 'only the second black UK Trade Union leader.'
Moses is a vitriolic critic of the government's plan to turn our jails into privately run cash cows. But it is New Labour that comes in for his most caustic criticism: he blames the party for birthing the 'punishment for profit' policy. And in opposition, Labour still shows no interest in listening to the little people of the prison service, he claims.
'Sadiq Khan, [Labour's] Shadow Justice Minister, does not take on board the views of the working man on the front line,' Damji paraphrases. '[Moses] voted for Ed Miliband but dismisses his New Labour inner circle; and says the party in opposition is suffering from an identity crisis.'
Moses feels 'sold out by New Labour, who fully supported every court action against the POA regarding the lawfulness of their members to strike.' Ironically, 'he enjoys a better relationship with the ConDems - “They are good to me," he says. "I have set out my stall and we know where we stand.” John McDonald is cited as an example of an honest player.'
Damji continues: 'It’s not only Tony Blair and John Reid who come under fire for selling out the public sector, [Moses] similarly storms at Jack Straw and John Prescott for opening 11 private prisons and reneging on election promises to the POA, a naturally conservative union, of allowing free strikes whilst wooing them for the Labour vote in 1997.'
Still, it's not all good news for the Tories. David Cameron is dismissed for lacking 'gravitas'.
From May, Moses will have more time to spend on his memoirs. And I understand Farah Damji, whose own prison experiences could be invaluable as a form of method-writing, will be his co-author.
Sadly, Moses' interview is not online. But here's Tribune's link anyway.