Unite responds strongly to ‘malicious’ smear by ‘Another Europe’ – as AE-activist posts about hanging Corbyn aide

Unite general secretary Len McCluskey

Last month, Labour MP Melanie Onn received death threats after writing that she would oppose another referendum in order to respect the views of her constituents.

It seems that such behaviour was not a one-off.

Tom Harris, a prominent pro-referendum activist and supporter of the group Another Europe is Possible (AE) thought it would be a good idea to publicise an AE-backed ‘stop Brexit’ event by promoting it as a movement for the lynching of a senior Unite official who serves as an aide to Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn:

The post, since deleted, has caused considerable outrage among Unite members and Labour supporters.

The post was not the only AE-related attack on Unite this week. The organisation helped to coordinate a letter published today by the Guardian that was highly critical of the union’s general secretary Len McCluskey.

McCluskey was one of a number of union leaders who visited Downing Street last month to voice the concerns of working people and the letter – signed by AE director Michael Chessum among others – accused McCluskey of enabling Tory austerity. It did not criticise the other union leaders involved in meetings with May.

The Guardian letter, which admits its assumptions are based on ‘reports’ – confirmed today by Chessum as mainstream media reports – has drawn a heated response from Unite, which has published a strongly-worded statement on its website, titled “Unite responds to misleading letter from Another Europe is Possible“:

Responding to today’s (Thursday 7 February) letter published in The Guardian coordinated by second referendum campaigners Another Europe is Possible, a Unite spokesperson said: “The criticisms of Len McCluskey from second referendum campaigners are malicious and deliberately misleading. Len McCluskey is not negotiating a Brexit deal with Theresa May.

“He has met the prime minister once, as have several other trade union leaders, when he took the opportunity to raise a number of concerns for working people, including the danger of a no-deal Brexit and the need for a customs union in order to preserve jobs.

The terms of Brexit can only be determined by MPs, and Unite fully supports Jeremy Corbyn’s efforts to secure the best possible arrangements.

“We endorse the proposals set out in his letter to the prime minister yesterday as being an approach that can bring all people of goodwill together. We urge all Labour party members and supporters to get behind them.

“Len McCluskey continues to liaise with government ministers to ensure that jobs in manufacturing and elsewhere are safeguarded and makes no apologies for doing so. Posturing will not keep a single factory open.

“Unite activists for the most part know better than to believe media rumours about their union, and we urge Another Europe is Possible to take the same sceptical approach.”

The SKWAWKBOX spoke to AE director Michael Chessum. He declined to comment on the post by Harris, except to distance the organisation from Harris, whom he described as ‘not a core person‘. But he was more forthcoming on the issue of the Guardian letter, claiming that by talking to May McCluskey was exceeding Unite and Labour policy.

But when asked why McCluskey was singled out for criticism when other union heads were not, his answer was revealing:

Because Len went in with a very public anti-referendum line.

Chessum claimed that this was not in line with Labour policy, even though the motion passed at the party’s annual conference last September does not commit the party to supporting a referendum, merely to keep the option on the table along with all others.

Chessum also repeatedly referred to what McCluskey had ‘reportedly’ said during the meeting with May and admitted that his conclusions were based on media reports rather than any first-hand knowledge.

The SKWAWKBOX was unable to reach Tom Harris for comment.

SKWAWKBOX comment:

On one level, Chessum’s comments and the AE-backed Guardian letter confirm the foolishness of believing reports by ‘MSM’ known to be hostile to McCluskey for his support of the Corbyn project. Taking the word of the Establishment on any issue relating to the Labour leadership and its supporters is an exercise fraught with problems.

On another, they reflect the damaging course taken by anti-Brexit, pro-referendum campaigners in attacking leaders in the Labour movement who refuse to dismiss the views of 2016 leave-voters and insist on trying to work for leavers and remainers alike.

Doing so successfully is not compatible with simply supporting another referendum – and following the lead of the centrist MPs and commentators who routinely and vocally attack Labour for their own ends is counter-productive for any organisation that wants to see an end to Tory austerity and the misery it inflicts on the vulnerable.

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  1. I hope MI5 is paying these little squits adequately: if not, they’ve missed a trick somewhere – either that or they weren’t around the day god handed out the grey matter.

  2. Bit of background: “Another Europe is Possible” is a deeply fake organisation in that it propounds that the EU can be reformed in a socialist direction whilst studiously ignoring the mechanisms enshrined in the Treaties to make such reform impossible.

    Contrary to its rhetoric this group transparently supports the capitalist system, not capitalism’s replacement by a democratic socialist system.


    1. Never heard of AEiP until now and only skimmed the first paragraph of ukconstitutionallaw piece so I claim NO expertise.

      However… the assertion clearly being that the EU’s direction toward some kind of neoliberal final state cannot be stopped or redirected under any circumstances is clearly complete bollocks, ignoring as it does both the resistance of the people and the inevitability of AI.

      The law requires much memory but little intellect. The person who wrote the piece may be the A-number-one constitutional lawyer of the galaxy but his assessment is of everything being done within existing and unchangeable law in accordance with his experience – but people make laws and other people make other laws to replace them – or just throw them all away.

      By the time AI/robotics has taken less than half of today’s total number of jobs (and it will have the capability to replace all of us including the fucking lawyers and accountants) we’ll be partying as we starve the rich out of their gated communities.

      Surrender-monkeys really ought to stop spouting the bullshit that the EU can’t be changed.
      Louis XVI, Charles I, the Romanovs, Caesar – earthly gods defeated by peasants with pitchforks.

  3. I have to plead ignorance to the background to all this, but having just done a search to try and gather together some info, I came across the following statement made by Unite after their conference last July. I expect many of the SB regular posters will be aware of it, but I post it anyway for others who, like myself, are somewhat in the dark:


    1. Forgive me if I change the subject momentarily, but I was waiting for another post from SB to arrive in my Inbox – for reasons that I’ll explain a bit later – and when I checked my Inbox about an hour-and-a-half ago to see if there was one – which there wasn’t – the two most recent emails were one from Jeremy Corbyn (which had obviously been sent out to all LP members), and one from the Telegraph with my choice of two free articles – or whatever it is – for the coming week. They arrived within four minutes of each-other. And here’s the rub. The one from JC said ‘Labour’s Alternative Plan’ in the subject section, and the one from The Telegraph said: ‘Corbyn’s dangerous stance on Venezuala’.

      I haven’t read the Telegraph article yet, but I opened the email just prior to writing/typing this comment, and it’s an article by William Hague, and it says the following re the article:

      In this passionate piece about Venezuela, William Hague explains how the crisis has exposed a dark, dangerous side to Jeremy Corbyn’s politics. It’s a must-read.

      1. I just this minute skimmed through the article and, as you’d expect, it’s ALL based on the false narrative that Trump and Co and his European buddies have been disseminating recently. I WOULD copy and paste the whole article on here, given that the Telegraph has a paywall, but they would probably be after SB to delete it in a matter of minutes, so here’s just the last couple of paragraphs to give you a taster:

        It is always a crisis that shows you who leaders really are. This is one of them. There are voters who might still think that Corbyn is just a misguided old chap with an allotment and Diane Abbott a harmless woman who gets her figures mixed up. No, they are guilty on three counts: of supporting economic insanity, of indifference to intense human suffering, and of a refusal to accept any measures to alleviate it, all because of adherence to an ideology and hatred for any leadership by the western world.

        It is to be hoped that, as the wages of the army run out, the tormented people of Venezuela will get their chance to be free, and that democratic countries will have helped them to get it. But in the meantime their agonies are revealing the true nature of Britain’s opposition leadership, with clear conclusions for domestic politics. For those Labour MPs said to be forming a new party – what are you waiting for? And for Tories belatedly trying to unite – you will never be forgiven if you fail and let Corbyn come to power.

      2. As you may know, Italy has refused to tow the Trump line re Venezuela, and I assume Jeremy has taken much the same stance. The following is from an article on RT by George Galloway:

        “We don’t need another Libya, this time in Latin America,” says Rome, with its first-hand experience of the disaster in North Africa to guide it. “We cannot accept this gross interference in the internal affairs of others,” they say. “This is the principle of non-interference enshrined in the United Nations Charter,” they insist, while most other EU states fold around them like cheap tents to the demands of Trump, Bolton and Elliott Abrams.


      3. In 2012 William Hague said Libya is “a tremendous success story” following recent elections held to elect a new government within the country.
        During a visit to Tripoli, the British foreign secretary admitted that the country still faced challenges with lawlessness, but hoped that a new government would bring security to Libya.”
        The little b****** was up to his ears in regime change and is responsible for the eradication of the Libyan army, police and civil society which gave birth to the European immigration problem and kick started the Syrian terrorist insurgency by shipping weapons from Tripoli to Turkey.
        Hague should be doing a life sentence. He is a horrible human being.

  4. People have to accept that Remain and Reform LOST and a 2nd PV is no more.
    Skimmed Hague’s diatribe in support of US Imperialsm and years of US sanctions and interventions in the old Neo-Con tactic “to make the economy scream!”
    Jeremy is just supporting the right of self determination and is Hague supporting the Right of powerful nations to interfere to bring smaller democracies down?
    The Tories are only running with this (smear part 5) because they hope it will have traction but as democratic socialists we should stand up to imperialist bullies!
    Have always found Hague a political Lightweight and a loser, his big idea was to save the pound Ha! Ha!
    Perhaps the Neo-Liberals are worried with Neo-Liberalism in structural decline in the US and one country soon to leave the Neo-Liberal EC structure perhaps we may be seeing the beginning of Neo-Liberal’s end after all it’s drive for cheap labour has restricted commodity purchase by working people and perhaps this is the seed of its downfall?
    We just need to hit people with reality, the first thing the Tories did (with the Lib Dimwits) was to give tax cuts to the rich, big business and hedge funds etc THEM but for US it was austerity, pay freezes, council cuts for Northern Labour Councils etc etc. so austerity was and is only for YOU!
    So end austerity, end pay freezes, have state-led public investment (which will boost the private sector supply chain) and more democratic public ownership (more efficient and egalitarian with staff and communities having a say – more democracy) to grow the economy.
    The old order, Neo-Liberalism is dying.
    But the new cannot yet be born.
    Perhaps we are all being tested.
    And only the stars will ride the storm!’
    If we are democratic, grassroots, bottom up and participatory plus honest and draw on reading and evidence then left wing democratic socialism (as opposed to the old top down bourgeois socialism – people at the top taking power for themselves) then diverse working people have every chance of success.
    And we set an example for diverse working people of the World whose labour creates the wealth and makes societies work!

  5. Any group which gleefully uses violent language such as “strung up” is not socialist. It looks like a fake organisation set up by right wingers.

  6. In fact we should be arguing a Corbyn Govt is about more democracy!
    At work.
    Via publicly owned mail, rail, water, public utilities and with staff and communities having more say.
    More say in the NHS.
    I would like schools brought back under the control of democratic councils and these New Democratic Schools could have governers elected by the whole community in the catchment area.
    And scrap the Tory/Lib Dem Housing & Planning Bill (what some argue is a Developers Charter) and give planning back to democratic councils with local people having more say.
    Buses back under democratic control of local councils with communities having a say.
    More democratic power for local councils instead of the Tory Central Govt straight jacket!
    I think you get the picture – Neo-Liberalism hates things being free (such as free bus travel) and hates more democracy!

    1. Yes, exactly, THAT’S why they abolished the GLC and the six Metropolitan County Councils back in the early mid-eighties. And THAT tells us all we need to know about what THEY think of democracy.

      The fact that they were all being run by Left-wing Labour administrations had nothing to do with it of course!

    1. I mean, I have no particular info on this story, but doesn’t “Last month, Labour MP Melanie Onn received death threats” remind you of other nutter stories which have little to do with the substantive issues?

  7. Fact: Labour’s agreed conference policy is to keep a further referendum “on the table” if a general election cannot be achieved.

    Fact: Unite policy conference also voted to keep a new referendum as an option.

    Fact: Lennie has been busy in the media denouncing the idea of a new referendum and thus has been undermining both Labour and Unite policy.

    Fact: the FT article suggesting he’s on a mission to allow Labour MPs to support May Brexit plan – with the tacit agreement of Corbyn’s office – tallies with all known evidence and has not been convincingly rebutted by Lennie or anyone else – least of all this website.

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