“One version of the “better” that mutuals have to be is that they have to be seen by customers to be more “decent” than other businesses – because that provides a motive for some consumers to spend their money with them.
And the second version of the better is that they have to be conspicuously competent.
It won’t have escaped your notice that the appointment as Co-op Bank’s chairman of a former local councillor with an apparent taste for hard drugs, a history of downloading porn on to a municipally owned computer and – by his own admission – limited knowledge of modern banking, somewhat undermines Co-op’s claims to be better than the rest in both those important senses.
Which is why Co-op Group’s review of its internal democratic system, that allowed the Rev Flowers to bloom quite so lustrously in the organisation, will have an important bearing on whether co-ops and mutuals will continue to be an important part of the UK’s mixed economy.“
“In 2007 The Co-operative Board de-recognised GMB after more than 100 years, terminating a relationship that went back to the 19th Century Victorian era. This was a sad day for democracy, Trade Union rights and ethics given the background of The Co-operative movement, a group owned by its members which claims to be ‘Different.’
The Co-operative then found itself ostracised form the wider TUC movement … banned from TUC and Labour Party Conferences, Tolpuddle Martyrs festival, Workers Beer events, Wortley Hall and a whole host of other events and activities where they had been previously welcomed. “