Trade unionists face our greatest challenge in a generation and to meet it we need to renew our organisation.
I offer a few suggestions.
We need to enthuse our active members with a positive lead into taking immediate action - starting with a demonstration on Budget Day.
We need to build alliances with those who share our interests - not those who have attacked those interests. We must not endorse Blairites or Brownites.
We need to invert our Union. We must be bottom up, not top down. Career officials should be subordinate to ordinary workers.
We need to cherish dissent and disobedience, without which we would have no trade unions. Let's reverse some of the recent injustices to good members.
We need to remember the Clyde Workers' Committee and build solidarity "with the officials when we can, without them when we must."
We also need to remember the "Miners' Next Step" and mount a challenge in union elections to all those who cannot be relied on to fight.
For these and other reasons I shall support Paul Holmes for UNISON General Secretary. Who leads the Union is not the only question. Nor is it unimportant.
Looking back at the few suggestions I have just made about how we respond to a truly frightening time, it is self-evident to me that Paul is best suited to these tasks.
There may be times when it is best to trust to a tried and tested "safe pair of hands" who has made a career out of working for a Union. These are not those.
More of the same from our Union leadership will offer "less of the same" to our members. Less pay. Less pension provision. Fewer jobs.
No honest assessment of our achievements over the past decade could salute a triumph. Now it will get harder.
Our enemies have changed. We need to.
Vote Paul Holmes.
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