Thursday, January 22, 2009

Support the Mainstream not the Extreme - London UNISON Regional Council Elections 2009

Never mind the recent political excitement in America, nor even the current Derek Simpson and Kevin Coyne fight for Amicus Unite, the real exciting election Battle is about to take place on February 4th – the London Regional Council Elections!

This is a fight for the lay leadership of London UNISON. The Socialist Workers Party (SWP)dominated “United Left” (UL) is standing a slate against the forces of light and reason. The Socialist Party (SP) have even given up on their long sulk and gone crawling back to the UL even though none of their supporters are candidates. Some dirty deal over future NEC elections methinks. Fancy the SP backing the SWP!

The serious point is do we want London UNISON and its funds run by ordinary members or supporters of tiny, obscure, unrepresentative Trotsky sects?

All of the UL (Regional Council Officers) candidates work in London Town Halls, none of them work in London hospitals, colleges, utilities or the voluntary sector. No wonder other London UNISON service group activists think that UL is a Local Government club.

Now I know some of them are very sincere revolutionary activists, not that you would know it from their election statements mind! The question is, will having a union leadership which wants to on strike constantly, wants to provoke confrontation and strife at all times, which takes orders from extremist "central committees" act in the best interests of ordinary members?

I am amazed that UL cannot find any black members to stand for the top posts of convener and deputy convener? This is London for crying out loud! The current dream ticket of Gloria Hanson (Assistant Social Worker) and Conroy Lawrence (Hospital Electrician) are black activists who have done wonders for all UNISON members in London. But what message is UL sending to London black members by only fielding the UL bureaucracy white "usual suspects" as candidates for the top two positions?

The alternative I am part of is a broad base, left of centre, unity alliance of activists who represent all, repeat all parts of our great union in London. I’ll post my election statements and slate next.

Remember this is my blog and I take responsibility for my comments. If you want to have a go at me and my politics then by all means do so – having a go at others and those who can’t answer back will just end up being deleted. Rubbish in, Rubbish out.

Comrade Mercader has sent me a video on these matters that I would like to share with you. Please forward this link to any Regional Council delegates.

Earphones or speakers on!


Anonymous said...

Great vid, John!

Charlie Marks said...

John, the decent thing would have been to present your own policies rather than red-bait your opponents. Not too late to delete this blog post and put up something on yourself!

Anonymous said...

so standing a white middle aged male for Convenor is the ultra lefts answer to Lonondon's diversity

they should get out of the pub more

Anonymous said...

I'll be surprised if this United Left stays united very long - what with all the rows going on about an AWL placard getting ripped up at a Gaza demo, with the SWP cheering it on.

BTW - Earlier today I thought I saw a post from you John about your own election address and it seems to have disappeared now?

Anonymous said...

I think it's really sad that this is the best you can come up with John. Neither you nor any of the other candidates from the Right have done a thing for our members in London. We face widescale privatisation, cuts, attacks on our pay and conditions and pensions and a whole series of social crises in this country, from Housing to Youth Unemployment and the best you lot can come up with is a USB stick filled with useless stuff that is on the UNISON website anyway!

As for your comments about the racial profile of the United Left slate I accept (as a member of UL) that this is an issue that must be tackled urgently but the idea that Gloria and Conroy represent the interests of black workers just because they are black is infantile nonsense. Ask the low paid black women working for Freemantle what they think of their leadership now that thier dispute has been utterly betrayed by the region! They would much rather have Malcolm and Mandy fighting their corner.

As for the Health/Local Gov issue. Again this must be changed within United Left but this is difficult when the bureaucracy hand pick the branch officers and Regional Council Delegates of most Health Branches and ignore the pesky democractic hurdle of actually getting them elected by members. I think the health SGE elections rather attest to that!

Anyway, work to do. I look forwards to removing you from office on 4th Feb John!!!

Anonymous said...

So, just wanting to be clear, anon - you accept UL must change its composition to include black leadership and also that it is far too dominated by local government?

I might even consider voting for you when you've got over those hurdles, and are more representative. However, I suspect that could well be a long time coming bearing in mind the massive snub to Trotskyist politics delivered by UNISON's black members conference.

John Gray said...

Hi Anon 1
Thanks (on behalf of comrade Mercader of course)

Hi Charlie
I thought it was fairly mild by my standards!

Hi Anon 2
To be fair (gritted teeth) UL have had a bash at proportionality over gender in the past. This makes the utter failure to support and encourage UL candiadates who are black or from none local gov unison members the more disgraceful.

Hi Anon 3
Yeah, it also seems that Sheffield Permanent Boring are a bunch of violent yobs as well!
I’ve now reposted my statement. Enjoy!

Hi Anon 4
It’s interesting that you quote national issues and seem to think London RCOs should be playing at politics rather than providing effective leadership and guidance on "bread and butter" trade union issues. While I enjoyed my time in the student union now I’m in a real trade union dealing everyday with bullying, harassment, redundancies, inadequately protected workers and dangerous working environments. It’s time to move on from toy town revolution politics into the real world.

So you accept that UL should tackle its “racial profile urgently”? – yeah, I suppose they will pass a strongly worded motion at the next UL meeting. I also suspect that the over whelming majority of low paid black women in Freemantle will support Gloria rather than Malcolm and Mandy if given the chance. In fact I would put money on it.

And you accept that UL need to have more non local government candidates? (Even one is better than none) Leaving aside the rubbish you say about health elections for the mo - you don’t have to get your branch to nominate you to be a RCO? So any other branch taken over by ultra extremists could have nominated them - what you mean is that there is not a single UL supporter in London health, energy, FE etc who can be trusted (by the CC) to be an UL candidate?

As you say – work to do - Feb 4th –

I can’t wait.

Hi Anon 5
You can’t even consider voting for this shower. You are right that UNISON black members are showing us the way by showing the ultra extremists the door.

Jon Rogers said...

Charlie's right John.

Do you rely upon this red-baiting nonsenses because you have nothing positive to say about the achievements of the present leadership or because you enjoy it?

I suppose it could be both!

John Gray said...

Hi Jon
Well one of your lot has I suppose accepted that it is legitimate to question why you picked white candidates for the top 2 posts and why they are all from one single service group?

You know me; I’ve got always got a lot to say about things. Check out my election statement for achievements.

Specifically I think the greatest achievement is that the Region is no longer treated as a joke by the rest of UNISON and our employers as it has been in the past.

Whether you like it or not the present lay leadership is pretty representative of the actual membership. Not only in terms of service group and race but also politically. We don’t want pointless confrontations and constant strikes. We want to organise and build the union around everyday real issues such as equalities, pay, terms and conditions, pensions, health & safety, bullying, stress and opposing privatisation. We want to concentrate on how to recruit, train and support a steward, safety rep and learning rep in every single workplace we organise in. Make sure that in every employer we organise in we have an effective, responsive and united branch. We want reps and branch officers who want to work in partnership with the region and national union.

Your average London UNISON members are simply not interested in revolutionary gesture politics. You guys are – which is fair enough. But this ultra-left obsession is driving away members from participating in the union.

We have had enough of who see themselves as self appointed class warriors who dismiss anyone who doesn’t agree with them as “stooges”.

I will do what I think best - You must of course do the same - but not in my name and not with my money.

Anonymous said...

we all know what happens to black health workers who do stand on the left don't we John - your mates in Unison HQ use "evidence" from assorted racists and friends of the BNP to not only expel them from the union but also get them sacked from their job - just when are you going to mention the case of Yunus Bahksh on your blog?

Anonymous said...

Hi John,

Nice to see that Jon R is a reader of your blog, but a shame he can't reciprocate your listing of his blog on your site. What is he afraid of?

Maybe he'll even start getting some comments on his posts. I rather get the impression it's quite lonely for him out there with less than a dozen comments on his postings since the beginning of the year, whereas it looks to me like you've had well over a hundred comments in the same period. And most of his seem to come from his mates!

Anyway - seeing as how Jon is such an avid reader of your blog, perhaps he'd care to enlighten us as to when his Detective Daniel blog will actually get started?


Anonymous said...

Those rotten reds don't represent their members, do they?. Why not come to Greenwich and ask local gov workers what they think about the national leadership is doing to Onay Kasab. Remember him? he's the one who led his members to victory over single status, a consistent anti-facsist who led battles to remove a BNP member a job where he would be handling sensitive information and remove BNP presense from Welling. The activist that the "mainstream" national leadership is trying to remove from his job because apparently buddist proverbs are racist.

Anonymous said...

How sad is this ; there are comments here about a white middle aged man standing on a political platform he beleives in. And you want people to vote for you (my eyes aren't great but from your picture you look like a white middle aged man too!) but don't say what you stand for.

Should be an interesting election!

John Gray said...

Hi Anons
Sorry I have not responded sooner but I have been very busy plotting this week. I’m sure you understand.

Hi Anon 19:30
I don’t know Yunis or anything firsthand about his case. In any case I have utter and complete confidence in my union to deal with these matters properly and will not comment directly on such internal matters. I would point out that even the SW page you quote (mind you this is the well known “Liars Newspaper“) reports that he was expelled on other evidence not from the witness mentioned.

Hi Anon 20:57
Thanks for that but if they don’t want to, so what?... Remember they think that their arguments are so, so perfect and obvious that they genuinely do not understand why everyone does not agree with them - and let them lead everyone to glorious revolution. They cannot bear the thought, the suggestion, and the idea that they are so, so wrong. ..

Hey ho!

Hi Anon 02:14
I do know(ish) Onay and was at the conference so I do have “some” very limited knowledge of the real allegations but again I have utter and complete confidence in my union to deal with these matters properly and will not comment directly on internal matters. BTW – do you also write for the SW?

Hi Anon 15.34
Not my comments sunshine, someone else’s - but me Middle aged, middle aged!!! Mo??? B****y Stallabrass what does he know?

Check out my statement and various “comments” out! I really don’t tend to hide my views now do I?