Monday, 11 November 2013

Comrades in denial

All is far from well on the far left at the moment. The two "big" stories from the fringes tonight are:

Backtracking by Jerry Hicks

The front page article on the Sunday Times yesterday about the decision of Jerry Hicks to go to the Trade Union Certification has had wider ramifications than comrade Hicks and his cronies expected. The story was (unsurprisingly) picked up by Conservative Home who opined:

The defeated challenger, Jerry Hicks, claims almost 160,000 people were balloted despite not being members of the union. Some ballot papers were sent to people who had died.
Ordinarily, such complaints might seem like sour grapes. But given Len’s defence of dodgy practices in Falkirk and the fact that figures involved in the Falkirk and Grangemouth scandals were helping to run his campaign it’s understandable that Hicks is concerned.
As he asks,
“Was Falkirk an aberration or a modus operandi?”
As the investigations pile up, looking into seemingly every aspect of Unite’s politicking, perhaps we will soon find out.

This has of course caused some consternation of the left.  Anne Field writing on Shiraz Socialist says:
If there is hard evidence of vote-rigging in this year’s Unite general secretary elections, Hicks is perfectly entitled to raise it. Socialists would defend him for doing so, even if the right-wing media were to exploit such a complaint for its own ends.
But that is not the case here.
Hicks is endorsing gutter-level accusations about vote-rigging by Unite in Falkirk Labour Party in order to try to lend some credibility to allegations about vote-rigging in the Unite general secretary elections.
The Sunday Times picks up on these allegations. In three articles on five pages it attacks Unite and its links to the Labour Party. Hicks’ response is not to condemn the witch-hunt but to say: “Hey look, they’re talking about me!”
So how has Hicks reacted? Initially he wrote:

The Sunday Times [0/11/2013] Front page article  Union boss Len McCluskey 'elected by phantoms' carries my complaint to the Certification Officer regarding possible irregularities during the election for Unites General Secretary last April. 

You may remember the Guardian and Private Eye have also covered this issue. The media are responding to our press release of the 9th September [reprinted below]. The complaint also includes the conduct [of certain officials] of during the election. Which was the 'dirtiest' of all the election I have ever stood in.

Today however he seems a little concerned about the adverse reaction this has caused and decides to try and worm out of his actions:

"Following my complaint to the certification officer regarding irregularities in the Unite General Secretary election campaign, I issued a press release.
The Guardian and Private Eye were the first to cover the issue. Today the Sunday Times has.

I am well aware that Murdoch and his papers are no friend of the labour movement and will have their own agenda. 

I am writing this to draw attention to the Sunday Times linking the substance of my complaint with the issues at Falkirk.

I myself do not link my complaint with any matters of Falkirk, Unite and the Labour Party.

I am opposed to any attempt use my complaint in any witch hunt against my union." 

Bit late for that "comrade" Hicks. The games up. Ross Harper (also writing at Shiraz Socialist) sums up:

The next time Hicks throws his hat into the ring in another general secretary election, Unite members should remember this scurrilous fiasco.

A "Mexican stand off" in the SWP?

The Socialist Workers Party continues to tear itself apart at aggregates around the country. Somewhat outnumbered the remains of the opposition is losing badly having thus far managed to get just 18 delegates (out of 200) to what many suspect will be the swansong of the party in December.

Meanwhile a document has appeared (somewhat hidden on the Internet) which contains some laughable formulations from people like Paul H(olborow) and Ian B(irchill).  Here's a taster:

As a result of the crisis in the organisation, we now face a debate over party structure, 
party democracy and the role of leadership in the organisation. Debates on our 
understanding of Leninism, with claims and counter claims as to what constitutes the 
‘real’ IS tradition, have become central precisely because they touch on this question. 

You can read the rest of their drivel here:

No hope for these people either.

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