Yesterday, 4 February, UNISON Scotland launched a manifesto ahead of forthcoming local government elections. It’s an impressive document which speaks of a trade union willing to assert itself and set out an agenda which reflects the interests of members.
This is a confidence and assertiveness which UNISON in Greater London once had, when Ken Livingstone was forced to stand as an independent candidate in the first election for London Mayor because of gerrymandering by the Labour Party establishment. UNISON Greater London Region – which had run one of the best campaigns for a “YES” vote in the 1998 referendum that had established the Mayoralty – adopted an independent approach, publishing our own manifesto and campaigning for our policies.
If, today, you search the list of documents on the Greater London Region section of the UNISON website for the word “manifesto” you get the message; “Sorry but there are no documents currently available.” Unfortunately this could almost be the slogan of the increasingly dysfunctional Region in recent years. Delegates to the Annual General Meeting of the Greater London Regional Council on Wednesday will have an opportunity to change things for the better, but – as we were advised a couple of years ago by a good comrade - a lot of effort will doubtless be put into trying to persuade them not to.