Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Dave Prentis re-elected as UNISON General Secretary with Massive Majority

 Great news on an otherwise miserable day (the CONDEM "emergency" budget). Centre left moderate Dave Prentis has been overwhelmingly re-elected as UNISON General Secretary. Official result here

"Dave Prentis 145,351 (67.2%)

Roger Bannister 42,651 (19.7%)

Paul Holmes 28,114 (13%)

Dave has been UNISON’s General Secretary since January, 2001, he said:

“This is a vote of confidence in the union and the direction that we have been taking over the past few years.

“We face critical times as a union and it is important that we remain united, strong and focussed on dealing with the challenges that face our members.

“Under the coalition government, public services face an onslaught on a scale unprecedented since Thatcher was Prime Minister. The government is pressing ahead with cuts to public services, to our members’ jobs, pay and pensions, with complete disregard to the serious social consequences.

“We are ready to face the tough times ahead, we are growing in strength and numbers. Together we will stand up for quality public services, for the hardworking people that provide them, and for the poor, the sick and vulnerable people who rely on them for support.

“We will be the people who stand in the way of these ferocious attacks on our public services and the path to creating a fairer society”.

(Check out UNISONactive take on this victory – I couldn’t possible comment on Lord Sutch:)


Anonymous said...

Nice to see you on the London News tonight, John. (Shame they got that numpty Tony 'I wanna be a fireman' Philips on the commerical channel).

I see the Un-Tied Left are still reeling from Dave's victory - not a word on their sites - Jon, Marsha, united left email list, etc. Not a word yet on their 'brand new ready for the fightback' website. Must be gutted that Roger's bunch of misbegotten madcaps and droning/ranting nincompoops can still make them look hopelessly incompetent.

Still, onwards and upwards - let's gird our loins for the real fight ahead.

Anonymous said...



"I have never lost an election"

well you have now

DP won with a bigger majority than Serwotks

Mandate for a new witch hunt !!

tally ho !!!

Bill said...

There were some very disquieting features of this election - Prentice was allowed to appear in every Unison publication under the sun during the election period - no Purdah, no equal coverage - even the election press release quotes Prentice and not the other candidates. We have a nerve as a union to preech to other people about democratic practices.

For the record, I didn't vote for either of the other candidates neither.

I think some features of the election *promote* factionalism - the high bar to get on the ballot peper means a candidate either needs a 'party' or a place within the current machinery.

Use of First Past the Post is inexcusable, it is simply not a fit for purpose electoral method AV would allow for expressions of values and greater information.

Finally, more resources than simply the ballot mailout should be allowed to the various candidates - democracy means the opportunity for minorities to become majorities.

Anonymous said...

Sorry Bill, but bullshit.

High bar to get on the ballot paper? Candidates need to be nominated by the National Executive Council, or by at least two national Service Group Executives, or by at least two Regional Councils, or by at least 25 branches.

Of course we could open it up so that anyone who fancies standing can do so, but I don't see why union members should bear the cost of the printing of election addresses and postage and counting of the handfuls of votes of the vast range of lunatics who think they are God's gift who would come forward.

25 branches - that's just 2% of all our branches. If you can't get that support you don't deserve to be considered.

Imposs1904 said...

17% turnout is worrying.

John Gray said...

Hi anon 21.04


Hi Bill

The GS is a central figure in the union at any time and will inevitably feature in the union publicity.

The third placed candidate at least seemed to have plenty of resources and money. Expensive glossy leaflets, postcards, videos and website?

The scale of the victory (100k votes) is such that Dave is unquestionably the leader of the union with a mandate for change.

I think it was 14%? Which does need to improve.

Have ago at Bill will you for not voting and making it worse :)

Bill said...


The GS is a central figure in the union at any time and will inevitably feature in the union publicity.

During an internal election he should be stood down and the deputy GS put in his place, or alternative arrangements be made to give candidates prominence.

The incumbancy advantage needs some measure to ameliorate it.
BTW, I did return my spoilt ballot paper, so should count towards turnout.


as I said, that's quite a high bar, especially if as I've heard central office don't give out branch contact details to likely candidates to help them canvas for nominations. This means that, as John has noted, factions with cash become the real gate keepers of nomination.

Having ten candidates on an AV vote wouldn't cost the Union much more money than the current election system does.

Anonymous said...

The GS is a central figure in the union at any time and will inevitably feature in the union publicity.

During an internal election he should be stood down and the deputy GS put in his place, or alternative arrangements be made to give candidates prominence.

Bill – are you seriously suggesting the union should elect and pay a general secretary for a five year term, but only expect them to actually work for four and a half years, or less if it's a longer election time frame, as the ultra-left wanted

Bill said...


the timetabling of the election could make it come at the end of the term, or simply call for a epriod of purdah after nominations are in. All I ask for is at least a pretence that the unions propaganda machinery isn't being used on behalf of an incumbant candidate. Is that too much to ask?

Also, I really don't see why the face of the GS has to be plastered all over every page of the union's material. There is no call for a cult of personality.

Chris Leary said...

I slightly agree with the bar; I would set it at 25 branches, with no NEC/SGE/Regional nominations. That should ensure a fairer fight. I'm not generally opposed to the current set up though; any potential GS should show at least some noticeable support within the union to stand.

And I think candidates are given branch details from HQ; certainly I was when I ran for NEC, though I wasn't allowed to use UNISON resources to campaign - as is right and proper. However, it is down to a question of a candidate's own resources; perhaps a candidate should be allowed to send a canvassing leaflet to branches during the nomination period - the printing to be paid for by the candidate, but included in a special circular to branches? I'm spitballing here a bit, but a more level playing field would aid our internal democracy, surely?

I do absolutely agree with the idea of a purdah period, though. If you get as many mailings from UNISON as I do (and as an activist, it's quite a lot) you'll have noticed that our General Secretary's face was plastered on nearly *everything*; prolific quotes in In Focus and U magazine articles, on the website, it was everywhere - there was even a full page photo on page 3 or 5 of the Annual Report, which was going hugely overboard. Anyone who watched the last Unite GS election, where Derek Simpson's mug was plastered over every single bit of material sent to members during the election period, would find similarities.

This, I think, is not conducive to a union democracy which is as healthy as it can be.

I accept that our General Secretary has to be able to lead the union, and do the job we elect and pay him to do; but there are numerous other people who could also feature during an election period - there is the DGS, but also the Heads of Service Groups, SG Chairs, the Presidential Teams - who are just as capable of leading from the front in the public sphere as Prentis (who, credit where credit is due, is very media savvy, a skill which is still lacking to an extent in our movement).

Anonymous said...

As a unison member of 30 yrs I can only say that Prentis has been a dsaster for this Union.

Not a single Foundation Trust sucessfully campaigned against.
Not a single privatisation stopped.

But sucking up to Brown and Blair will no doubt see Prentis in Ermine alongside his old pals Prescott and Mandelson.

Meanwhile as you enjoy witchunts so much just remember Thatcher thought she was invincible after a massive election victory and see what happened to her.

No doubt Prentis will carry on selling out UNISON members jobs and conditions whilst awarding the unelected mob around him more money and expenses and flinging more money at the Privatisers called the Labour Party

Prentis may think hes won but this is a hollow victory, for a hollow GS of a hollowed out union. A Union whose values are as rotten as its officials.

Anonymous said...

john, you have got to laugh at the anon contribution of the 30 year trot and/or nazi unison member.

there is real no difference between these people.They are the same bigots.

they just don't have a clue how ordinary unison members privately laugh and even jeer at these people and pity their mental health problems.

Chris Leary said...

I'm sure that UNISON's disabled members might have something to say about the mindless discriminatory comments above ^ about mental health in such a derogatory way.

I'm also not sure about throwing around the word "Nazi", either.

Surely someone who proclaims to stand up for UNISON's strong anti-discrimination policy shouldn't be allowing such comments through on his blog? Or is it OK if they agree with you, John?

John Gray said...

Hi Chris
I did think about it (and about the comment beforehand) but I don’t like censoring any comments. It wasn’t I think discriminatory but did express a fairly widespread view (which I don’t share) that most members of ultra or far right parties are attracted to these Parties because they have mental health issues and they are just as bad as each other.

Actually Chris unless you know who wrote the anon comment that started this off at 18.25 then he could be a Nazi. The BNP attack UNISON using very similar language.

Chris Leary said...

Foreigners "coming over here and stealing our jobs" is also a fairly widely held view, John.

Though I would think that you, as an upstanding trade unionist, would not let such comment pass without even making an attempt to challenge it.

Mocking mental health in such a way condones such abuse as legitimate in my view, just the same as sitting in the pub with your mates, and not challenging the gobby one when he makes a wise crack about the young woman working behind the bar. The latter legitimises sexism. The former legitimises abuse against people with mental health issues.

Both are equally repulsive.

The problem with the comment from Anon is twofold.

Firstly, it associates mental health issues with something negative (or, at least in the perception of the commentator, and yourself too it would seem) when it isn't. You wouldn't say that people with mental health issues are attracted to fascism, would you? The implication - whether concious or otherwise - is that people with mental health problems are potential fascists.

Secondly, that people with mental health problems do not have the mental capacity to have, as you might consider, "reasonable" politics. As if they have some deficiency, and that they are not to be trusted in the political arena.

Which is, of course, absolute bunkum. It is the moral equivilant of saying that women shouldn't have the vote because they shouldn't worry their pretty little heads about Man Stuff like politics.

If you're going to claim a libertarian comments policy, that's fine. But it doesn't absolve you from your duty as a self-respecting trade unionist to challenge hate and discrimination from any quarter - including your own.

John Gray said...

Hi Chris
I think you are in a hole and digging yourself deeper. You understandingly don’t like a particular comment. Not surprising - since it was pretty controversial and rude. But you want it censured (or now - for me to attack it) on the grounds its “discriminative”.

Once again I don’t agree with the sentiments but it is not in my view “discriminative”, and doesn’t “mock mental health”.

You should not be trying to claim something is “discrimination” and should be banned just because you just don’t agree with it.