Tuesday, June 13, 2017
Adieu au Great White Elephant
Today I went to the Great White Elephant of the Euston Road for my last full meeting of UNISON’s National Executive Council (NEC).
This was a good meeting, at which our General Secretary confirmed UNISON’s unequivocal support for Labour’s Leader, Jeremy Corbyn. I was so pleased to hear UNISON distanced from those who have not offered such support.
There are those within our movement who wrongly considered that “Corbynism” was a “destructive fad” – but none of those people have any support within UNISON.
There is an overlap between those people and those who misbehaved in ways justly criticised in the decision of the Assistant Certification Officer. That decision will shape the future of our trade union.
Today I neither got nor sought the apology which the Assistant Certification Officer has suggested I should have received – which is quite right as the decision should be considered by the Development and Organisation Committee in due course.
I was however assured that no disciplinary action is to be taken against me by my own trade union. I shall retire as the longest serving member of the left caucus of the UNISON NEC having never been defeated in any election to our NEC and having twice seen off such threats.
I am proud to always have been a troublemaker. I know that officials within my own union have more than once offered my employer the opportunity to “sort me out” and I respect the fact that my employer has had more decency than to cooperate with them in so doing.
I am more than proud to have been a leader of ordinary workers (like myself) in Lambeth Council over a quarter century. I have stood on thousands of shoulders and I have learned more from my fellow branch members than I could ever say. I am proudest of all to have gone back to work among my fellow branch members.
I am leaving my UNISON positions, locally and nationally, undefeated and unbowed.
There is much that I have done as UNISON activist of which I am not proud. I regret the obeisance I have too often paid to the venal and ambitious.
Yet I am proud of having stood in the end always for our members.
I leave UNISON’s Greater London Region in a better state than it has been for many years, since the disgraceful conduct of the former Regional Secretary has been so thoroughly exposed.
I am proud that I complained to the Certification Officer – not because I was ever eager so to do but because it was necessary.