Within minutes of Ed Miliband being elected as Labour leader, commentators, notably those on the right, were quick to paint him as the candidate of the trade unions due to his clinching his victory with union votes, despite trailing his brother when it came to support from Labour MPs and members.

Most of the large unions like Unite and GMB backed Ed Miliband and some are accused of influencing their member's votes by sending them literature singing the praises of their chosen candidate for leader.

However as the unions point out they have no control over how their members vote. GMB and Unite may have backed Ed Miliband, but there was nothing stopping their thousands of members voting for David Miliband or any of the other candidates.

This, while true, is unlikely to stop the accusations against Ed Miliband that he is in the pocket of the unions.

While one does not like to get involved the internal family matters of others I feel that it would do Labour more good than harm to cut off its formal links with the trade unions and in so doing cut off the rumours that its leader owes a debt to those unions.

Of course it can be argued that the Labour Party began as a movement of the trade unions and that the two have a special historical relationship but, and I'll put on my progressive hat for a moment, history and tradition are no reason to continue with a flawed system that is undemocratic and damaging to Her Majesty's Opposition.

Under the Byzantine Labour leadership election rules individuals get votes if they are MPs, members of Constituency Labour Parties or members of affiliated groups such as trade unions or socialist societies.

Under this system it is possible to have more than one vote per person if for example you are an MP who is also a member of an affiliated trade union, you would get two votes in the election.

Prime Minister David Cameron picked up on this at his last Prime Minister's Question Time against Deputy Labour Leader Harriet Harman a couple of weeks ago when he said, "I note that she can spend some time over the coming days contemplating what to do with the four votes that I think she has in the election, because she is of course a member of a trade union, a Member of Parliament, a member of the Labour party and a member of the Fabian Society. Her position can be combined with her husband's, whom I believe has another three votes - democracy is a beautiful thing!"

While Ms Harman indicated that she would not be using any of her votes in the recent contest, just yesterday on the BBC's Andrew Marr Show the Guardian's Polly Toynbee claimed to know a Labour MP who was a member of so many affiliated organisations he had 12 votes for the leadership!

Such a system gives the Labour leadership election a slight whiff of corruption, kind of Afghanistan-lite or a Disney version of an Iranian or Burmese election. One must wonder what was going through the mind of those who put their 3, 4 or 12 votes for their favoured candidate. Did they think this is how democracy should work?

Even if this anomaly was ironed out and MPs, members and trade unionists only got one vote regardless of how many affiliates they belong to, it would still leave future Labour Party leaders vulnerable to the charge of being the union's candidate as the unions would still have a sizeable influence in picking the Labour leader under the electoral college system.

This formal link between the unions and Labour seems like one of those many historical quirks about British society, like perhaps the role of the Monarch as head of the Church of England.

However unlike the relationship between the Crown and the Church, the relationship between the unions and Labour is damaging for the latter, as is already being proved by the by all the hostile talk of "Red Ed Miliband" in the press right now.

Why not disestablish the unions from Labour? Union members could still join the Labour Party and vote in leadership elections and trade unions could continue funding the Labour Party should they choose to do so, but the accusations that Labour leaders are unions lackeys would find less traction.

One only needs to imagine a similar set up in the Conservative Party to realise how absurd the current Labour system is. Just as Labour might be considered the party of the unions, so it could be argued that the Conservatives are (or were before Vince Cable) the party of business.

But what would be the reaction from Labour if FTSE 100 companies were affiliated to the Conservative Party? Perhaps the board of affiliated companies could meet and give endorsements to candidates in Tory leadership contests and shareholders in affiliated companies would all get a vote to decide the new leader. Of course MPs who happened to be company shareholders could get an extra vote in the election, perhaps they could get a few more if they were also members of groups like, say, the Countryside Alliance, the Monday Club or the Taxpayers Alliance.

Absurd? Of course it is, yet this is more or less the system the Labour Party uses. A Tory leader elected with such a system would instantly be ridiculed as being in the pocket of big business, just as "Red Ed" is currently being depicted as the union's favourite.

Why not cut the links then? Labour could keep the benefits of its friendship with the union movement, lose some of the drawbacks and could well become more democratic on the process.