The Unite General Secretary Election in Numbers - 91.1%


The official ballot return hasn't been released yet (as at 27/8/21) but Unite has published the basic numbers:

Unite claim 1.4 million members as at September 2020.  So we calculate the (as yet unpublished) turnout as an historic and pathetic low of 8.9%.   Dear Unite have put these figures into a pie chart:

Let's hope Sharon can truly turn the union from a top down General Secretary supporter's club into a bottom up, active and democratic union. Certainly Turner and Coyne wouldn't have.

Mills v Unite - Remedy at last


Private Eye 18/8/2021

It's taken 7 years but Karen Mills has finally got justice.  The Employment Tribunal awarded her a massive £56,176 plus £2,500 costs!  The award is so large that the statutory limit of £38.6K kicked in.

The Judge awarded aggravated damages saying the union had been "spiteful and vindictive" and conducted  "a campaign of hatred raged against a single individual".  

He added: "It is difficult to think of a more high-handed, malicious, insulting, oppressive conduct or behaviour based on prejudice or animosity or which is spiteful or vindictive or intended to wound" (his emboldening).  

He also raised a judicial eyebrow at the union's QC: 

"The submissions made by the union are surprising to say the least.  They amount to an assertion that the union can denigrate a member as much as it likes and then when it is declared that it acted unlawfully, can simply shrug its metaphorical shoulders and assert that there is nothing it can do to reverse the harm it has caused. It would be a disgrace if Unite could avoid liability for compensation by such a disingenous and cynical route."

The full judgement is here.


Roger Silverman: My reply to the Labour Party’s “Governance and Legal Unit”…

Labour Against the Witchhunt, , 2021

I have received your communication, in which you demand that I “provide evidence that I am not a supporter” of a group that you arbitrarily proscribed three weeks ago. This is a classic technique practised in all such purges going right back to the original witch-hunts of the seventeenth century. It defies all norms of natural justice. I am under no obligation to prove anything.

The sole “evidence” contained in the dossier you have sent me is a report and a photo-shot of me speaking at a rally in 2019 organized by Labour Against the Witch-hunt. Yes, I spoke there. Why? Because 1) I am Labour; and 2) I am against a witch-hunt.

Rather than rub shoulders with the likes of those MPs who actively plotted to undermine Labour’s most popular leader for decades, and those bureaucrats proven to have actively sabotaged Labour’s election campaigns in 2017 and 2019, I consider it an honour to be numbered in the ranks of generations of victimised socialists. These include George Lansbury, Stafford Cripps, Aneurin Bevan, Michael Foot, Jeremy Corbyn and countless more – among them my late father Sydney Silverman, a Labour MP for 33 years until his death, who was twice expelled from the Parliamentary Labour Party.

Under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, Labour became the biggest political party in Europe, gaining three and a half million extra votes in the 2017 election, and more votes even in 2019 than in 2015, or 2010, or 2005 when Labour won. Keir Starmer has flagrantly betrayed his promise to continue Labour’s “radical socialist tradition”. Under his disastrous leadership, Labour has lost 150,000 members, millions of pounds in funding, and tens of thousands of votes in three successive by-elections.

Labour will only regain mass support when it confronts this government of speculators, hedge fund sharks and black money launderers and speaks out for the millions of victims of capitalism: the workers without a job, the families without homes, the youth without a future.

I joined the Labour Party more than six decades ago, and I have been a socialist campaigner all my life. Your previous feeble attempt to justify suspending me in 2016 failed because you were incapable of countering my political response. This time you have resorted instead to the cowardly ruse of sending me “notification of possible automatic exclusion” – i.e. a threat of summary expulsion without trial. Rather than cower behind hastily improvised legal loopholes, I defy you to meet my political arguments head-on. Meanwhile, I will challenge any attempt to exclude me.

Auto Da Fe (What A Day) lyrics

Candide by Leonard Bernstein et al

What a day, what a day
For an auto-da-f?!
What a sunny summer sky!
What a day, what a day
For an auto-da-f?!
It’s a lovely day for drinking
And for watching people fry!
Hurry, hurry, hurry,
Watch’em die!

Dear Keir

From: Richard Hill
Date: Sat, 7 Aug 2021 at 17:07
Subject: Resignation from the Labour Party
To: <>

Dear Keir,

I am writing to inform you of my decision to resign as Chair of Colchester constituency Labour Party and as a member of the Labour party. As one of over 100,000 people to leave under your tenure I doubt my decision will give you pause for thought but I write anyway as after donating thousands of hours of my time over the last 5 years I feel I have enough skin in the game to express my immense disappointment in you. Your pitch to members was unity, authority and integrity. You are certainly an authoritarian. Unity and integrity seem to be sadly lacking. I’ve never wanted one faction to control our party, I value respect, plurality, robust debate and consensus-building. These are values I’m not sure we share. 

Another of your strengths that was lauded in the leadership campaign was your “electability”. That’s a meaningless notion in my view, and certainly not true in your case. You are 10 points behind an utterly corrupt and incompetent government that has decimated public services over the last 11 years. In recent elections the Labour vote has tanked, Hartlepool, Chesham & Amersham and the loss of 300 council seats aren’t indicators of “electability”, quite the opposite. The sight of you crowing after Batley & Spen was especially distasteful after Labour scraped a win with a massively reduced majority. Your triumphalism was pure delusion, if the Greens had stood, Labour would have lost.

Perhaps winning elections isn’t what motivates you? It seems that punching left, controlled opposition and narrowing the political discourse matters more. This was not the vision you sold to party members. You promised not to trash previous leaders and to offer radicalism. You have removed the whip without grounds from Jeremy Corbyn and offered no policies whatsoever (barely even stating NHS workers deserve more than a 3% raise simply isn’t good enough). The blueprint for electoral success was written in 2017; a radical manifesto that understood how ordinary people were badly treated by a rigged system and offered a genuine alternative that would serve them better. This saw the largest increase in vote share for Labour since 1945. You have rejected that and played along with a narrative that it wasn’t appealing to voters, this can only be for ideological rather than pragmatic reasons. Young people and left behind communities, those with little power to change things, don’t agree and want and deserve a lot more. 

Labour is more than a party, it is a movement. You had half a million people, ready to campaign with you to undo decades of neoliberalism, rebuild our public services and build a better, more equal future. You’ve squandered that goodwill and with it your opportunity to become Prime Minister. I can only conclude you aren’t serious about winning power

Of all your failings and the endless excuses for them, the worst is giving approval to this criminally inept government’s handling of the pandemic. You could have challenged the obvious incompetence and corruption and maybe save lives but instead chose to “back the government”. Thousands died unnecessarily but you decided it wasn’t the time to challenge their actions for fear of negative Daily Mail headlines. You waved everything through, cowardice dressed as cunning is just weakness. 

I think it’s my own bloody-mindedness or idealism that kept me staying a member so long, under FPTP Labour is the only show in town after all. When you paid off Labour staffers in a case in-house lawyers advised you’d win, with the endless delays in publishing the Forde Report, when you lied about Rebecca Long-Bailey sharing an antisemitic trope, withholding the whip from Jeremy Corbyn and the general contempt you seem to hold [for] members. All of these should have been enough to send me packing. I held on in hope of the unity and radical vision you promised. 

It is with much sadness that I leave Colchester CLP. The fantastic members are like all across the country demonised and seem an inconvenience to you, this goes against everything the Labour party should be. My comrades aren’t hard left extremists, they’re ordinary, committed people who give their energy and enthusiasm in the hope of a better country and a better world.

They deserve better than your empty rhetoric, endless relaunches and the slide towards irrelevance you are overseeing.