Friday, February 05, 2010

UNISON General Secretary election - the questions not being asked

Over the weekend I'll comment about the impending General Secretary election in some detail.

The campaign of the candidate who effectively determined the timetable was of course first off the blocks - and the normally anonymous UNISON Active showed what it was created for by expressing uncritical adulation (with ill-informed sectarian banter sprinkled on like hundreds and thousands).

Dave's anodyne official website will (presumably) steer clear of the playground Stalinism that is the stock in trade of what passes for the intellectual bedrock at Mabledon Place.

I think the leadership will be all too keen to focus on points of difference with any challenger(s) because it will help avoid some interesting questions.

Why, if our General Secretary has always been passionately (and bravely) committed to our democracy did we have a special NEC meeting on 20 January to agree an election timetable rather than doing so in December (or October as we had five years before)?

Why, if our record as a trade union is one of total success has disaffection reached the point at which a national official considered standing in the election? What does that tell us about succession planning at UNISON HQ?

Why, if the majority of my NEC colleagues are confident in the leadership of the Union, did we have to set a timetable for this election which requires nominations to be made before the likely General Election date?

Behind the fixed smiles and ritual pledges of loyalty from senior officials and the NEC majority there may not be the enthusiasm seen in previous elections as eyes turn to 2012 or 2013 (on the basis of the widely held view that UNISON's strict policy on retirement at 65 won't be waived for a General Secretary....will it?)

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