Following Len McCluskey’s resignation last week in order to seek a fresh 5-year mandate from members of Unite, senior Unite official Gerard Coyne has announced he will contest the leadership.
Coyne appears, from what this blog can ascertain, to be a solid union man and kept his opinions quiet, as far as I can discern, during the recent Labour leadership battle between Jeremy Corbyn and challenger Owen Smith.
But there are 3 strong reasons not to vote for him.
Luke Akehurst wants him
Mr Akehurst, the founder of right-wing group Labour First, makes no secret of his desire to end Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership of the Labour party and has boasted of organising in order to control, for example, the balance of delegates at Labour’s annual conference.
The SKWAWKBOX asked him directly about his preference for the Unite leadership and he was kind enough to respond frankly:
If Luke Akehurst wants Gerard Coyne as Unite General Secretary, that in itself is an absolute reason to vote for McCluskey for anyone who cares about Labour as a genuine alternative to the ‘business as usual’ politics that has disengaged so many from involvement or interest.
He’s pals with Tom Watson
Coyne supported Tom Watson for the Labour deputy leadership in 2015. No shame in that, so did many – including this author. But Coyne did so out of long-standing relationship with Watson and was fulsome in his endorsement:
Watson’s performance since then must call Coyne’s judgment into question and he has, so far as this author can find, issued no qualification of this endorsement following Watson’s unforgivable behaviour as deputy.
It’s too important
Gerard Coyne may be a great bloke and might even turn out to be as pro-Corbyn as the rest of his union. But the importance of Unite’s support for Corbyn’s leadership is too great to take a chance. A vote for Len McCluskey is a vote for proven solidarity. A vote for Coyne is ‘coin toss’ – and the consequences of the wrong result could be disastrous.
So the SKWAWKBOX urges any readers who are members of Unite to vote for McCluskey. In the current circumstances and the constant attempts to undermine Labour’s leader, his proven solidarity makes his continued leadership essential.
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