Paul Holmes - who today won the backing of Unison United Left - offers a clear and credible alternative to the inadequacy which has been the recent hallmark of the national leadership of our Union.
Paul has a proven track record of taking on and defeating those who do not believe that our Union should be run by our members. He proved my world weary cynicism wrong when his branch won the Special Conference on Local Government Pensions!
Paul also has the advantage of having been Branch Secretary of an excellent union branch. Our current General Secretary lacks that experience and - whilst there is surely a place in our movement for those who come straight from college to work for a union - maybe our leaders should rise out of our own ranks as have all the union leaders whose names are more than footnotes in our history. Those who join us straight from college may serve us but may not be the best to lead us.
Some things I think we know that Paul won't do include;
Paul won't manipulate the timing of future elections, whether to influence succession or for any other reason.
Paul won't work with any academic institution which helps to develop plans for the Government to attack our members' jobs.
Paul won't accept invitations to questionable international union events and then make commitments which require the reallocation of Unison resources to please his hosts;
Paul won't give the green light for the settling of political scores against activists with minority opinions;
Paul won't pretend to influence he does not have over Government Ministers.
Then again, I know enough about Paul to know what he will do;
Paul will lead and inspire our members with both genuine enthusiasm and experience as part of the rank and file;
Paul will speak to our members directly as he speaks as one of us, living on a worker's wage - and will continue to do so;
Paul will stand up for our members without fear.
In the light of the foregoing I can report, as promised, on the emergence of the main challenger in the Unison General Secretary election.
Dave Prentis has now emerged as the main challenger to Paul Holmes.
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