Monday, May 22, 2017

Electoral malpractice in UNISON?

Contrary to recent information that the decision would be delayed, today the parties to the recent Certification Officer hearing concerning the 2015 UNISON General Secretary election received the decision of the Assistant Certification Officer.

The decision – with its appendices – runs to 114 pages and I won’t blog any comprehensive comments on the basis of a first reading of a decision which will in any event be available in full on the Certification Officer website very soon.

UNISON has issued a statement welcoming the fact that the Assistant Certification Officer has not ordered that the election be rerun.

This extreme outcome was never likely and a focus on that one issue could be seen as an attempt to distract from the significant criticisms of the conduct of the Union (and some senior officials) made in the decision.

The Assistant Certification Officer, in a balanced decision, refuses to make some declarations sought by the complainants but does make a legal declaration that UNISON breached its rules by allowing UNISON resources to be used to campaign for the incumbent candidate.

UNISON members can call by here online soon for more considered comment (since this blog is described as “influential” in the decision it would be churlish not to provide such comment) as well as going to the Certification Officer website.

I will share one sentence from the decision now though.

“No apology has been given to Mr Rogers or acknowledgement of the important role he has played in bringing electoral malpractice into the light.”

UNISON knows how to contact your blogger and can send that apology at any time.

Sunday, May 21, 2017


I’ll stick to my pledge not to spend too much time commenting on an election campaign in which it is more important to get on with campaigning.

However, there are some things worth a word or two (just as there are some things about which it is best to keep one’s counsel for a few weeks yet).

I was very happy to be out campaigning again yesterday and today for Labour’s candidate in Brighton Pavilion, Solomon Curtis.

I was also very happy to join Solomon yesterday at a meeting of Brighton and Hove Stands Up to Racism.

There can be no doubt that it is as important now as it has ever been to take a stand against racism. The brutally racist “leave” campaign in last year’s referendum, and its tragic outcome, have legitimated prejudice and accelerated its expression on the streets, in our workplaces and generally throughout society.

We need to build the greatest unity against racism in our society – and that does mean building unity with those (such as the Socialist Workers Party who are a significant force behind “Stand Up to Racism”) who were horrendously wrong last year about the EU Referendum (and had previously failed terribly to deal with allegations of gross sexual harassment in their own ranks).

We live at a time when we rightly celebrate the defeat of a fascist candidate for President of France, but have to reflect upon the fact that they gained the support of a greater proportion of French voters than Adolf Hitler’s Nazis gained in Germany less than a year before their seizure of power.

We live in a country which last year took a vital decision on the back of a viciously racist anti-migrant campaign. That decision has led to our main party of the centre-right capitulating to the politics of those of its right-wing opponents who led the campaign which led to that terrible decision.

We live in a time and a place in which we cannot afford disunity on the left. That message is as important to those who protested against yesterday’s meeting as it is to those within our own Labour Party who cannot quite handle the democratic choices already made by our own members.

Under the leadership of the socialist, Jeremy Corbyn, our Party is set to do better than it has in the recent past and better than other social democratic parties in Europe. We are fighting for a Labour victory and the way in which the polls have moved towards us since the publication of the manifestos shows that this is a fight worth waging (and that we could win).

I very much hope that we will achieve such a victory in the coming weeks – but should that not be the case then the hundreds of thousands who have joined the Party, inspired by our socialist leadership, need to learn the determination which we socialists who have been Party members for many decades have been forced to learn. No one – and I mean no one – should contemplate resigning from any Labour Party position regardless of the results in this election.

For now though all we must do is make and win the arguments for a Labour vote in every constituency.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

The TUC sinking to new depths?

I know I said I wouldn’t blog much during the campaign.

But this rubbish does warrant some comment.

Really TUC?

A "cautious welcome" to proposals from the authors of the latest Trade Union Act?

I think Emily Thornberry knows a word for this…