Sunday, 19 October 2014

Censorship: Serwotka is not for turning

Following my rejection of a demand issued by the General Secretary of the PCS union that I must remove a guest post by Margaret Rathbone, I have received another missive from the Dear Leader. In this he complains I "misrepresent him" over his directive.

To remind readers this is what he said:

I am writing to you to tell you that the posting is in direct conflict with the interests of the union and must be taken down immediately.

Quite clear I would have thought. His attempts to justify this clear demand are frankly irrelevant. Neither he nor the PCS union have jurisdiction over my or anyone else's blogs or websites. It's just censorship.

And talking of censorship, Robert Mottershead a PCS member in the HMRC posted an article from the Eclectic Blue website which covered the story in an article entitled The Civil Service Union from North Korea to the PCS members FB page. The article was about censorship rather than the RCTU but fell foul of the PCS leadership and was removed. 

A post from "admin" then appeared stating that no articles about the RCTU would be allowed. Robert publicly resigned from PCS as he said this was the second time he had been censored. Amongst the responses was the President Janice Godrich. Although this thread was itself deleted, I did keep copies of her interesting remarks including a reply to me.

Janice Godrich: Robert this is not about censorship. This is the official pcs Facebook page, administered and funded by pcs staff from pcs members money via their subscriptions. Pcs has recognition rights in the civil service. Our members money is not been used to promote allternative organisations because individuals cannot win a democratic argument in pcs. by all means promote anything you like in your own Facebook page but it's not been done on our members time and money

Howard Fuller: "by all means promote anything you like in your own Facebook page" Thanks Janice. You need to tell Mark Serwotka that!

Janice Godrich: Howard: anyone can promote what they like, it doesn't mean their actions don't have consequences.

An ominous comment especially when taken in tandem with the concluding words of Mark Serwotka's latest letter:

Please consider this matter carefully.

The consequences could indeed lead to what the union calls a "Rule 10" complaint which could lead to my suspension as a Branch Secretary for up to three years or expulsion. I should imagine I'll find out in due course.

The only question is whether I will immediately be suspended before I'm found guilty by the PCS leadership or after.

My crime? Publishing a guest article (without endorsement) on an issue that would be of interest to readers on my own personal blog which has no connection to the PCS union of which I happen to be a member.

My message to Mark Serwotka and his followers is simple. I will not remove the article and do not and will never recognise your authority to even tell me I "must" do as you say on my private blog.

Defend freedom of speech!


  1. Ms Godrich's assertion that "our members money is not been used to promote allternative organisations because individuals cannot win a democratic argument in pcs" (sic) is utterly laughable.
    It is not possible to win "a democratic argument in pcs" because there is precious little democracy, certainly not at the 'annual delegate conference' where a few hundred activists cast huge block votes on behalf of tens of thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands, of members who have had no input into any aspect of union affairs.
    Ms Godrich and her like-minded followers have stitched up every aspect of the union and because of the way it is organised it would simply be impossible to change the union in terms of policy or that of its executive committees.
    And there is certainly nothing democratic about the 'mind how you go or else' insinuations by the great leader who really should look after his health instead of further weakening the union he has personally taken to the brink of oblivion.

  2. I did not know PCS Union could demand to take down posts/blogs from Private/Public owned websites. This must be "Super" New Powers given to us Trade Unionists which I can't find anyway on Hansards or any other UK Government. (Sorry Howie Can't find them). With these new powers can I ask if PCS and others can ask a few things taken down from other websites etc such as Government saying the economy is doing well under the coalition government as it serms not to be for us poor folk etc etc.

  3. Also kindly don't point out anybody there are spelling mistakes please in my post as I have disabilities. Thank you (Come Again). :-)