Thursday, 29 November 2018

Socialist Party lose first stage of PCS Assistant General Secretary Campaign.

Socialist Party logo

The influence of the Socialist Party begins it's final decline as incumbent PCS Assistant General Secretary Chris Baugh failed to win the Left Unity nomination. Janice Godrich as expected won. Only the interim result has been published though as you guessed it the Socialist Party are contesting the result.

The Socialist reports:

..on the AGS election, the interim report indicates 139 votes for Chris Baugh and 167 votes for Janice Godrich. However, Left Unity members are still waiting for the final results. This is because a whole number of votes have been ruled out - some postal ballots and those cast at three voting meetings, including London.

Despite this, the 'interim' results were published. Many Left Unity members are shocked and angry that this was done when there are issues still outstanding. Despite the claims of Janice's supporters in Socialist View, the ruled-out votes could materially affect the results of three key positions: AGS, Left Unity chair and Left Unity editor.

The only way to clarify this is for the full report to be published, with all the results included, along with explanation for those omitted. This is not an attack on the integrity of the scrutineers, as Socialist View claims, but a call for transparency and democratic processes.

Socialist View asks, would it "be acceptable to count votes that fail to comply with laid down, and agreed, Left Unity regulations?" But to us this would be far more preferable than to disenfranchise Left Unity members who through no fault of their own have had their vote discounted.

In at least two of the meetings, we believe that Chris had a majority. The discounted votes at the three meetings could be over 12% of the total vote!

Unsurprisingly those in the Janice/Serwotka camp take a different view and trumpeted their victory! 

The report confirms the result of the ballot for all contested elections, including the Assistant General Secretary and National President. We are pleased that the results show both Janice Godrich and Fran Heathcote have been successful in their attempt to secure the LU nomination for the posts of AGS and President respectively. Alongside Janice and Fran all other nominees, supported by the Socialist View campaign, have also been successful......

Marion Lloyd (SP/LU Chair) has issued a statement (abridged) complaining:

Gordon has published this report despite me raising several concerns and despite the fact that he proposed to the Left Unity national committee that this should be done at a later date. I agree the interim report should be published, even though the Left Unity constitution states that election results are announced at the Left Unity conference by the chair.

Only four members of the 13-strong national committee responded to agree the publication of the results. The report was then published less than two hours after my initial email (on a Sunday afternoon) and without any majority agreement.

This, in my view, is a blatant attempt to brush over genuine issues I have raised, ignore Left Unity democracy and prevent the national committee from discussing and reaching a view. It has gone against the inclusive left spirit that we have tried so hard to foster.

As things stand, the votes of three Left Unity voting meetings - London, West Midlands and Fylde - have been ruled out because of clerical issues. I am totally opposed to Left Unity members being penalised and disenfranchised through no fault of their own.

There have also been 13 postal votes ruled out. I am of the view that these votes, taken together, could have a material effect on some of the results, including for example the positions of AGS, Left Unity Chair and Left Unity editor.

The margin of votes for editor is only seven. Therefore, it would have been correct to wait until we have the additional information I have requested from the scrutineers before publishing.

Socialist View respond:

Unfortunately the statement issued yesterday by the current Left Unity Chair, Marion Lloyd – not addressed to Left Unity members as you might expect legitimate concerns to be raised, but outside of our organisation – does nothing to foster that unity and instead only serves to create further division and suspicion.

The statement claims that “legitimate issues” have been raised by Marion as to why certain votes have been disallowed. The interim report of the two scrutineers, one a member of the Socialist Party, has confirmed they unanimously agreed to disregard a number of votes as they clearly breached the Left Unity election regulations agreed by the LUNC, and which Marion herself was instrumental in drafting. The report also confirms the discounted votes would not “materially affect” the overall result, and yet Marion claims the opposite.

SV conclude:

Left Unity members will be disappointed with this latest development that should be seen by those on the left for what it is; a desperate attempt to cloud the ballot result, by falsely suggesting the election was close, and creating a suspicion of wrongdoing.

Since the Socialist Party appear to be preparing a challenge at the Left Unity AGM on Saturday December 1st it seems the squabble will not end with this election. The possibility of Baugh standing as a candidate against the official Left Unity nominee Janice Godrich.

With a third candidate now in the field from the rival Independent Left it looks increasingly like a three way fight for the coveted post of PCS Assistant General Secreatry or Mark Serwotka's bag carrier as we jest!

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