A Foot in Two Camps

UNISON’s new NEC met for the first time on Wednesday 3rd July, an opportunity for experienced and new members to meet and get to know each other. A very significant meeting as it is probably the first time in 4-5 years that the whole NEC has been in the same room, due to the hard left’s insistance on sitting in a separate location. This was due to the recent flooding of UNISON HQ, so the meeting was moved to the National Education Union building. Far from being a heartfelt reunion, the hard-left faction was keen to reassert its lines of division.

The theme seems to have been to demand a general election now! Now that’s all well and good, but you would kind of think that Labour would have a chance of winning. The latest poll information puts Labour in last position, the lowest it has been since the 1940s.

Voter intentions do not show support for Corbyn’s Labour and the recent local and EU elections would bear that out. Of course, the hard-left faction would claim that the Peterborough by-election was evidence of Labour having the impetus to win a general election. A majority of 683 does not a government make, nor is it cause for celebration. It would be interesting to see how much that campaign cost the party.

The hard left was calling for a mass demonstration to march on parliament and demand a general election, this being an opportunity for them to wave some banners and sell some more cat litter tray liners. So scared would the government be, that they would immediately capitulate and acquiesce to their demands, don’t think that is going to happen somehow.

The key to winning an election is to get the voting public on side, with clear evidencable policies that reflect their needs and priorities. We all know that a change of government is desperately needed, preferably a Labour government. Corbyn’s leadership record is woefully poor from the point of view of getting us closer to No 10. Flip flopping and ambiguity will not help Josephine public choose Labour when they stand in the polling booth.

Part of the NEC meeting is to allocate members to the strategic committees that do all the work between NEC meetings. I want to focus on the Labour LINK committee. This is notoriously difficult to get on given the rules. There has to a certain number of Women, 8 I believe and at least 5 low paid seats. Out of a complement of 12 it can be quite tight, so I am told. Only NEC members who are members of the Labour party are eligible to stand and vote.

The issue I wanted to make you aware of the reader, is that a number of known socialist and SWP members apparently turned out to the meeting with full voting rights and eligibility to stand. This is very worrying as their allegiance to the union and the Labour party is questionable. It surprises me that they are not required to declare these interests at the meeting. I am sure that UNISON members would want assurance that such an important committee would be populated by Labour party members whose interests were focused on the party and not the extremist views of marginal political naïve factionists. Maybe it’s something for the NEC to consider for the future.  I am assured that none of the double-hatters were successful.

Thanks for reading

GI Jayne

 

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