The results of the election for the General Secretary of UNITE election have been announced. This was a contest between the incumbent Broad Left Len McLuskey and the Rank & File challenger, Jerry Hicks. McCluskey had the support of the Right (they offered no challenger of their own, which speaks volumes) and much of the fake Left; Jerry the support of most genuine socialists.
May I take this opportunity to thank everyone who did so much during the election campaign. From the nominations, to leafleting, to voting and to all the many inventive things between.
Video clip for a post election thank you.
All that effort meant that an ordinary member of the biggest union in the UK and Ireland was able to stand, challenge the establishment and get nearly 80,000 votes, almost 40%, voting for a more democratic union, for a more positive fight against the cuts and job losses. We also stand on the side of the 1.4 million who feel nothing for the business as usual ‘renewed mandate’ and turned their back on the election.
An historic vote for a ‘Rank & File’ grassroots candidate, made all the more remarkable when taking into consideration what was waged against us. We kept true to our policies, beliefs and politics with our dignity intact, while their campaign spiralled into the gutter.
Contrast and compare campaigns:
We spent about £4,000 [from donations], produced some 75,000 leaflets, relied upon public transport, and the generosity of often complete strangers to offer a bed/couch for the night, [to whom I am indebted], as we travelled around the country meeting members. From bus drivers, to high street banks, from health workers to refuse collectors – every sector and almost every region [running out of time before we could get to Ireland].
The union establishment spent up to 100 times the amount of money we did, produced maybe one million leaflets, sent out letters to close on 500,000 members and had hundreds of paid officials promoting and supporting their boss, McCluskey.
Internal union communications went into overdrive during the election period with texts, letters and e mails direct to members, and press releases, trying to package up ‘what a good General Secretary ‘Len McCluskey was supposed to be.
Shamefully, and more sinister than the use of the union machine, was the ‘red baiting’ – aimed at courting and doubtless securing the right wing vote, notably in Len McCluskey’s election address to 1.5 million members and combined with the unsolicited emails, texts, phone calls and letters to our members’ homes that were full of innuendo, lies and scaremongering. Topping the list of shame was the barrel scraping ‘libellous’ tweet/s. We shall be making formal complaints about the abuses. I will let you know how that goes.
What’s next is up to us
Looking to what’s next, I predict three things.
One that Unite will funnel up to £10 million into the coffers of the Labour Party upfront and unconditional, between now and the General Election in 2015, or that Labour will break any promises they do make in exchange for our members cash.
Two, Len McCluskey, having so readily ceded to Labour’s request to change our election timetable, will from here on in move closer to the right in both rhetoric and deed.
And three, more and more members and reps will become dissatisfied with the lack of any real fight or properly coordinated resistance.
Far from being disillusioned by this, it will open up more space for us to occupy [and you know I agree with occupations!]. Continuing to offer an alternative will attract many, many more like minded people as us.
And everyone knows that had we been given anywhere near equal access to members, had we had region hustings so members to hear and see both candidates head to head, we would have won the lection. Why else would McCluskey hide from us and refuse to debate?!
We did win a poll: On the ‘Union news candidates profile video’ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FZexz0AjZPk More hits on ours!
Keep on keeping on and expect the unexpected.
I am sure we can spring a few more surprises
Regards & solidarity,
Please Contact me about organising a post election rally in your own Region/Town/City.
Jerry Hicks Tel: 07817827912 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
For earlier postings on Jerry Hicks’ campaign see:-