Saturday, February 06, 2010

General Secretary election - who to support?

I blogged yesterday about the campaign to re-elect Dave Prentis as our General Secretary.

Today, with thanks to MJ at Union Futures, I can blog links to the nomination requests from the three rank and file candidates (in alphabetical order) Roger Bannister, Delroy Creary and Paul Holmes.

All three of the rank and file contenders make compelling points about the need for a change of direction by our Union if we are to stand up for our members in the face of coming challenges.

Whilst the bureaucratic machine can close ranks readily easily around a single candidate (particularly where that candidate is the incumbent and therefore already the boss!) the process of democratic decisionmaking by UNISON members who believe that our members should have the choice to elect one of their own number as General Secretary is necessarily more difficult and more open.

I hope that the three rank and file contenders will now campaign positively to secure the necessary nominations and that, after the close of nominations, all the rank and file candidates will be prepared to discuss an arrangement whereby those seeking a change of direction for our Union can unite. I would happily support the rank and file candidate who emerged from the nomination period with the greatest support.

However, like every other UNISON member, I have to make a choice now.

I believe that Paul Holmes is the best candidate to take on and challenge an incumbent who needs and deserves to face an effective challenge.

Paul epitomises the best of our Union, Secretary of a strong branch and leader of the justified and necessary campaign for a special Pensions Conference over the Local Government Pension Scheme. As a candidate Paul offers a clear choice between a rank and file worker standing to lead a fight back (on a workers wage) and an incumbent who is standing for continuity with the immediate past.

Our Union needs transparency and honesty, it needs vigour and determination, it needs courage and consistency. Having served on the National Executive Council alongside Paul I believe he offers these qualities as a candidate.


Anonymous said...

Ok - but what guarantees are there that your preferred candidate wouldn't resign as GS the week before National Delegate Conference to appear as a branch delegate attacking the er... Leadership.

Jon Rogers said...

Well anonymous, given that the incumbent General Secretary was driven to quote Glenn Kelly when attacking the Labour Party at last year's Conference I suppose our political differences are not that great.

Seriously though, with Paul Holmes as General Secretary there would not be any need to criticise the leadership for failing adequately to stand up for our members :)

Andy Richards said...

Personally I would prefer Paul Holmes. I have huge respect for Roger but he has had several goes now and seems to have gone as far as he can.

The only difference between the various left contenders seems to be around the Labour link. I think Paul's position is the more nuanced and thought-through. All very well saying "break the link", but with a third of the membership still paying the affiliated levy, how is this actually going to be brought into effect. Also, whilst I think Roger is sincere, the slogan "break the link" could be seen as an opportunist slogan which would appeal just as much to reactionaries who don't want the union to have any political voice at all.

Having said all that, the most important thing of all (BY FAR) is that there is one left candidate in this election, and I will support the candidate that could shown to have the most backing.

PS - I can only assume that "Anonymous" is from "Unison Active"? The name seems so appropriate......