Mar 25 2013


The SWP Central Committee has tried to draw a hard line between recent events inside the party and the wider Socialist and Trade Union movement. The SWP CC has made two arguments to defend the indefensible. The first is that  affairs inside the SWP are a purely internal matter,  and of no concern to other Socialists or trade unionists. Secondly, that those Socialists who do raise the issue in public are not living ‘in the real world’ where nobody cares about such ‘small matters’.

However, the issue has been raised in the election for  UNITE’s General Secretary – the largest union in these islands (UNITE also covers the whole of Ireland). The SWP CC can hardly claim anymore that the party’s internal affairs are not an issue ‘in the real world’, nor that it is a ‘small matter’. The SWP CC’s  behaviour has been raised in a particularly despicable manner by Broad Left incumbent, Len McCluskey. Below, we post the reply by Rank and File challenger, Jerry Hicks.

Furthermore, other trade unionists do have a real interest in questioning  the indefensible behaviour of the SWP CC. If anyone examines the signatories of the statement of SWP members in support of the CC, they will find that quite a few invoke their particular trade union membership, e.g. BECTU, BMA, EIS, FBU, GMB, NUJ, NUS, NUT, PCS, PROSPECT, UCU, UNISON, UNITE, USDAW. If the sort of allegations raised in the SWP were to be raised in any trade union against one of its officials, and swept under the carpet in a similar manner, there would quite rightly be outrage. Socialists should apply higher, not lower standards in their conduct, than those found elsewhere. 

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Nov 13 2012

TURLOUGH MacDAID, 1930-2012

Category: Commemorations,Ireland,Scotland,Trade UnionismRCN @ 12:44 pm

 Allan Armstrong writes this tribute to Turlough MacDaid

Turlough receiving a lifetime achievement award from BECTU

Turlough MacDaid, a larger than life socialist and trade unionist activist, who had lived in Edinburgh since the early 1970s, died on 27th October. Turlough, although very much an outgoing person and always good company, was secretive about his personal life. His marriage broke up in the 1960s and his former wife and family left for Australia. It is thought that his father had been a lighthouse keeper from Barra, in the Outer Hebrides, whilst his mother had come from Rathlin Island, County Antrim.

Turlough first became an electrician working in the merchant navy. However, when his personal life took a tragic turn, he moved to Edinburgh. Here he became an electrician working in theatre and a leading activist in what became the Broadcasting, Entertainment, Cinematograph and Theatre Union (BECTU) [1].

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