Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Who is prepared to answer questions? And who is afraid to?

Of the candidates for Unison General Secretary this time round, Paul Holmes stands out for his willingness to debate and answer questions (http://thoughcowardsflinch.com/2010/03/01/ten-questions-to-paul-holmes-of-unison/). (Follow that link for an online interview).

I understand that Paul took that willingness to our Higher Education Conference but was asked to leave a public area of the venue as he might have been trying to win votes.

In a fine example of Unison's commitment to fair play and democratic choice no other candidate spoke at the Conference. Or did I get that wrong? (http://www.unison.org.uk/asppresspack/pressrelease_view.asp?id=1754).

I was however saddened and disappointed to hear that a branch in the North East once strongly associated with progressive politics (and intimately involved in creating Unison United Left) has adopted a similar approach of refusing to hold hustings but inviting the current General Secretary as a "guest speaker" - perhaps (and I ask this for the benefit of regular readers Sid and Doris Local-Government-Conference-Delegate) he can be asked to fill in for forty five tedious minutes whilst votes are counted?

I of course have past experience of standing as a candidate in a General Secretary election and remember how struck I was on that occasion by the reluctance of the incumbent to engage in debate. I never understood why anyone so confident of victory was so visibly scared of the sort of direct questioning from members which every shop steward faces every day.

This time it would be an easy matter for hustings to be broadcast online. So why not? Let's have a debate in which all the declared candidates can be seen by the voters.

No one who would be afraid of such a prospect could possibly be fit to lead our Union so it is a racing certainty that all candidates will agree...

I hope...

Sent using BlackBerry® from Orange


Anonymous said...

I've got a question - why is a self-declared socialist revolutionary party (the SWP) backing a social democrat? What is in it for them?

Anonymous said...

Anyone know who Brian Loader is?

Anonymous said...

I went to the Newcastle meeting on Tuesday Jon. It was very well attended with people from we reckoned 8 UNISON branches. The point is that there were people there from the majority of the left groups in Tyneside and the best of the left activists. The bureaucaracy's spies and even the Socialist Party stayed away. Maybe they didn't want to hear a clear socialist position?