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Gerard Coyne: Another Reason to Vote Len McCluskey

Got nothing against Gerard Coyne, but in 20-plus years associating with the labour movement I have never seen a candidate run such a desperate and rubbish General Secretary election campaign. Kicking off his Unite leadership bid, Gerard criticised Len McCluskey for spending more time talking about and fiddling with the Labour Party than looking after the welfare of the members. And since then, all his campaign has done is moan about Labour, taking potshots at Jeremy Corbyn, and busily morphing into the very caricature his pitch attacked. Meanwhile, Len has run a sensible Unite-focused campaign talking about workplace rights, pensions, attacks by bosses, members’ interests. You know, speaking to the people who pay his salary.

It’s not just this that irritates about Gerard’s challenge. His campaign has effectively gone out of its way to troll Unite’s activist base. Let’s just add the interventions up. Pitches in the Daily Express and The Sun (the latter coming with the endorsement of anti-union “hardman”, Trevor Kavanagh), the backing of Richard Littlejohn, daft (and ill-timed) student-style stunts, an attack on the union’s record with women workers, accusing it of bullying and intimidation(!) without a shred of evidence, praise for Stoke’s Indy/Tory/Kipper council, blaming Len for Labour losing Copeland, driving campaign placards around in the middle of nowhere, and the pièce de résistance, a leading member of the English Defence League campaigning on his behalf without comment from Gerard himself.

Not only is this a bad campaign, it’s a bloody stupid campaign. Yet there is method behind the madness. A campaign document leaked to the Indy at the fag end of last year pointed out that deposing Len and getting Gerard in would depend on boosting the turnout. A not unreasonable supposition. And, typical of those in and around Westminster who think workers are thick and solidly behind UKIP, boosting the numbers voting means a race-to-the-bottom anti-Labour campaign. Hence the Express. Hence the love for rightwing local authorities. Hence the attacks on Unite’s relationship to Labour. Should we be surprised then that the likes of Littlejohn and the EDL are on board?

Even worse is this campaign is being run and directed by Labour people, and people who, until recently, had a fearsome reputation for fixing and the dark arts. What in fact their strategy underlines is the pickle the trade union and Labour right are in. In the Labour Party, union influence was used to stymie and then reverse the gains made by left during the 1980s. Today, unions retain significant clout but are no longer at the beck and call of the Labour right. The latter has retreated almost entirely into the apparatus, the cadres of councillors, and the PLP. It means their capacity to intervene in the big unions is limited as most lay activists and officialdom are well to their left, even if they’re not Corbyn supporters. And if they could they’ve shown they haven’t a clue how to relate to trade unionists as workers anyway. Their political collapse is ultimately a consequence of their organisational collapse.

Thankfully, there is something Unite members can do about this. There are a number of positive reasons to vote for Len. His industrial record, and how enemies and opponents of the labour movement loath him immediately spring to mind. But Gerard Coyne’s campaign have supplied another. A vote for Len McCluskey is a vote against cynical, anti-Labour politics and sends a message that this is not acceptable in our movement. My ballot paper is filled out and ready for posting. I hope yours is too.

15 Comments

  1. James Martin says:

    Having known the Coynes when living in Merseyside in the 80s I know how utterly poisonous these careerists are.

    It is vital to get the vote out for Len. But it is also vital to support the United Left candidates for the Executive elections that are taking place at the same time. The United Left candidates are here (bottom of page) – http://unitedleft.org.uk/index.php/campaigns-a-elections – if you are a Unite member or have friends and family who are, then please ask them to vote United Left.

  2. Bazza says:

    Yes I voted for Len and hope others will: VOTE 4 LEN!

  3. Hazel Malcolm-Walker says:

    What is deeply concerning is where the Coyne campaign got its data from, and I am deeply concerned that it was not obtained from legimate sources.
    The same tactics are being used here as were used against Corbyn in the two leadership challenges. This suggeasts that the same people are involved in both.
    As Socrates said, if you have to resort to personal abuse, you have lost the arguement. seems to me that the blatcherites are on the verge of losing a lot more.

  4. Stephen Bellamy says:

    Well since nobody else is going to mention Ken

    http://wp.me/p5W2a1-Vt

    1. James Martin says:

      The fact that Momentum seem happy to use someone as bad as Owen Jones to front their emails says it all, this is the not so radical journalist who sat on his hands for more than a week last summer waiting to see if the coup had worked and refusing to condemn it until it became clear that Corbyn was not going to be bullied out by the plotters. You can be sure though that had Corbyn cracked that Jones would have been straight in there sniveling and supporting a ‘sensible’ soft left replacement. He makes me want to vomit every time I see or hear him (which is far too often). As for Livingston his support from these Jewish comrades says it all about this latest witch hunt – http://www.writeyou.co.uk/letter_from_jewish_members

  5. Bazza says:

    Just watched Len’s video and very good.

  6. Richard MacKinnon says:

    An outsiders view should be taken seriously. An opinion with out prejuduce is impartial.
    I am not a member of the Labour party nor a member of any trade union. The fact is Len McCluskey association with The Party is a big vote loser for Labour and Tom Watson knows it. Len McCluskey supporters wont like to hear that but that is true.
    Most working people are not trade union members. They see trade union leaders like Len McCluskey as a throw back to a time when union leaders wrecked the economy. They are scared of the influence the McCluskey’s think they have on politcs. Tom Watson understands this and is doing the right thing for Labour in trying to get rid of the problem.
    This has nothing to do with Gerard Coyne. This has all about Len McCluskey.

    1. JohnP says:

      There ends our laughably tiresome daily input of pure dross from the Daily Mail ideology autobot Right Wing memes programme. It forgot to mention “The Winter of Discontent” though, or Red Robbo and British Leyland !

      Give it a rest MacKinnon – everybody reading your drivel is just laughing at your pathetic repetition of the simplistic lies of the Tory press in every single one of your mindless posts. I hope you are a paid troll, working in a roomful of 18 year old ignorant young Tories, because if you waste your life doing this for free you aught to get out and have a life !

      1. Richard MacKinnon says:

        I will say it again, McCluskey is a danger to The Party and a big vote loser. The only ones that cannot see it are sycophants and nepotists. And of course JohnP.

        1. Stephen Bellamy says:

          It would be interesting to stand on a random street and ask a random 1000 people who say they won’t vote Labour, WHY ?

          how many would say cuz of that McCluskey fucker ?

          Equally it would be interesting how many would say ” Well they are not very sound on the racist kleptomaniacal basket case Israel are they ?

          1. JohnP says:

            Seriously, Stephen, you are coming across as obsessively unhinged in these constant non sequitur posts about “Zionism” and Ken Livingston , which are entirely unrelated to the topic of the articles.

            Your Israel/”Zionism” monomania is simply making the Labour Right’s case for them. There must be other topics you are concerned with ? The collapse of the NHS, school privatisation, the danger of a 3rd World War starting in the South China Sea or Baltic States ? Nope ? Just Israel/”Zionism” ?

          2. Stephen Bellamy says:

            I am a product of my experiences John. As RD Laing pointed out. Experience used to be called the soul.

            Anyway I would venture to suggest I am more interested in the other stuff you refer to as your buddy the the would be union buster Jeremy ” preposterous liar ” Newmark

        2. JohnP says:

          The “advice” from a nutty Tory Troll like MacKinnon has the best interests of our Party at heart of course !

          1. Richard MacKinnon says:

            JohnP,
            You seem to be off on a tangent again, on a thread all of your own, talking to yourself. What did I tell you about that? John, concentrate.
            This might help, did you see Gerard Coyne on QT last night? What did you think?

          2. Brian Walford says:

            Gerard Coyn on QT was uninspired right wing rubbish!
            Complete waste of petrol really

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