Tag Archives: Beckett

Sharon Graham wins Unite election – meaning the nomination process is broken

Sharon Graham: she’s the new Unite general secretary but the election has cast a shadow over the legitimacy of the nomination process.

Congratulations to Sharon Graham for becoming the first female general secretary of the UK’s largest trade union, Unite.

And well done to her, also, for demonstrating that the mechanism for nominating candidates is badly broken and must be improved.

We can see this because of the number of Unite branches that were seen to nominate different candidates.

Steve Turner reckoned he had 525 branches behind him – the most of any candidate – but it is widely believed that he only beat right-winger Gerard Coyne into second place because supporters of Howard Beckett held their noses and voted for him.

Beckett himself managed 328 branch nominations but pulled out in order not to split the Left vote. In hindsight, that may seem ill-advised.

Graham herself had 349, while Coyne managed just 196.

The fact that these nominations were not matched by the proportion of votes offered to each candidate indicates that there’s something wrong with the process.

I don’t know what that process is, but if it doesn’t offer sufficient weight to the number of members in each branch who support a particular candidate, then it needs to be fixed.

If it doesn’t even allow rank-and-file branch members a say, then it must be corrected at the earliest opportunity.

And there’s a knock-on effect, too: because they saw Turner receiving the most nominations, so-called ‘optics Left’ ‘influencers’ tried to exert pressure on Graham and Beckett to withdraw (successfully, in Beckett’s case).

We see now that this was a bad call.

You can read a more detailed piece about this over on Skwawkbox.

The message to take home is that Unite could have ended up with a leader who did not represent the intentions of its voting members – because of its faulty nomination system and the reactions of influential people.

Source: Graham’s win discredits Unite nominations process – and destroys ‘blue-tick’ left’s credibility – SKWAWKBOX

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Regret as Beckett withdraws from Unite union leadership election in favour of Turner

Withdrawing: Howard Beckett.

Howard Beckett has withdrawn from the campaign to elect the next general secretary of the UK’s biggest trade union – to gasps of disappointment from members and commentators.

He has announced that he will be supporting fellow left-wing candidate Steve Turner against hard-right Gerard Coyne, who many consider to be a threat to the union, and who is also considered to be politically allied to disastrous Labour “leader” Keir Starmer.

You can read Beckett’s announcement here:

In This Writer’s opinion, the wrong man is going forward.

Just take a look at Beckett’s Twitter output in comparison with Turner’s and you’ll see that the former showed a commitment to campaigning – on a variety of issues – that the latter did not. Here’s Beckett’s feed from the last few days:

Here’s Turner’s:

There is a third left-wing candidate – Sharon Graham – who seems to lack any purpose other than to split the left-wing vote, thereby allowing the hard-right Coyne to take over. She certainly hasn’t made much of an impression on This Writer in any other respect.

The loss of Beckett as a candidate is likely to hit Unite members hard.

Many of them considered him to be the natural successor to Len McCluskey and the only hope for the future of the union – and are likely to boycott the vote as a result, making it more likely that the right-wing Coyne will win.

I would certainly urge those people to reconsider. A lesser left-winger is still far better than a right-winger who is likely to dismantle Unite in terms of everything it stands for.

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Humiliation for Patel as crowds block immigration officials from removing Muslim immigrants

If anybody was still in doubt that Priti Patel is an insensitive bully, then those doubts should be dispelled now.

She has just tried to detain – in order to deport – two Muslim immigrants who had settled in Scotland, during a Muslim Festival: Eid al Fitr.

Some on the social media consider it an attempt to bully the Scottish people after they returned another SNP government to the Scottish Parliament and leader Nicola Sturgeon immediately announced that there will be another referendum on Scottish independence from the UK:

If it was, then it has backfired badly because Patel’s immigration officials were forced to release the men after hundreds of residents of Pollokshields in Glasgow surrounded the Border Agency van in Kenmure Street and refused to let it leave.

Officers said they were freeing the men for the safety of everyone involved following a stand-off in Glasgow that lasted for nearly eight hours.

The pair, both Indians, [had been] detained on suspicion of immigration offences and were released on bail pending further investigation.

Video clips on the social media show how public feeling against Priti Patel’s heavy-handed bullying grew, from this…

… to this, as the men were released:

And opponents of Patel and her continuation of the Tory government’s illegal “hostile environment” policy have made their feelings clear:

Sadly, we know Patel will not learn from her mistake. This message strikes as being all-too-accurate:

One other person will be regretting the incident, despite the fact that his heart was in the right place: Howard Beckett, candidate for leadership of the UK’s biggest trade union, Unite.

Mr Beckett tweeted in anger when the situation in Glasgow became clear, and his words were ill-chosen, for the reasons described in Owen Jones’s tweet:

But the Unite leadership candidate recognised this, acknowledged it, deleted his tweet and apologised:

He then (rightly) published further messages attacking Patel’s shockingly inappropriate and oppressive behaviour:

While his initial message was wrong in the language and concepts it used, it would have been equally wrong for him to back away from the issue after realising his mistake.

By the same token, it would also be wrong for anybody watching and commenting on what happened (Owen Jones take notice) to side with Patel against Beckett because of it:

If either of them is a racist, it could only be Priti Patel.

Source: Immigration officials release two men after crowds block van | The Independent

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Beckett’s ‘silly cow’ comment shows Starmer has turned Labour into a cess pit

The shenanigans after yesterday’s (March 11) meeting of Labour’s National Executive Committee make This Writer glad not to be a member of that party any more.

The fact that Margaret Beckett is being allowed to continue as chair of the NEC after calling fellow committee member Laura Pidcock a “silly cow” on a Zoom meeting is unacceptable.

Pidcock had made a perfectly reasonable point after a motion to recall Labour’s party conference had been rejected with no vote taken, in a snub to party democracy.

The motion sought to recall the full party conference, possibly to coincide with Labour’s women’s conference in June, for reasons This Writer set out in a previous article:

The motion… reads: “Discussion in local Labour Party meetings has been suppressed; motions banned; scores of activists suspended; and anger and disillusionment is exploding across our lay membership across the party.

“Members are leaving in droves and many more are expressing frustration and dissatisfaction at the attack on democracy and free speech. Many members are saying it doesn’t feel like the Labour Party anymore.”

There is also frustration after several ex-officials suspended over the contents of a damning leaked report have been let back into Labour. 

These are serious, party-splitting concerns, and it is unacceptable that Laura Pidcock, asking how members could have this out-of-hand rejection of those concerns explained to them, was dismissed as a “silly cow”.

The reaction on the social media was unequivocal:

The last commenter is right: this is indeed Keir Starmer’s Labour.

And he has made it a cess pit.

I am delighted that I am not a member of an organisation that puts Starmer and Beckett in positions of seniority that they clearly do not merit. I have a feeling that many other Labour members will also abandon the party in the face of this ill-treatment.

And I expect the general public will do the same at the May elections.

Source: Labour MP Margaret Beckett apologises over ‘silly cow’ remark – BBC News

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