Audio: McCluskey dismantles ‘poor imitation Machiavelli’ Watson and dismisses centrist referendum spin

Unite union leader dismissive of Watson, corrects BBC on Labour policy

Len McCluskey dismissed Labour deputy leader Tom Watson’s views and motives in the bluntest terms during an interview this morning on Radio 5 Live’s Pienaar’s Politics – and had to correct professional commentators on Labour’s Brexit policy.

McCluskey described Watson as an unsuccessful ‘poor imitation’ of infamous Italian plotter Machiavelli. He also linked Watson’s comments in this morning’s Observer, calling for Labour to commit to a new public vote on Brexit, to the machinations of the likes of Tony Blair and Peter Mandelson and their hopes of preventing a Corbyn-led Labour government.

More importantly, he put the expected results of the European Parliament elections into proper context and reminded listeners that Labour is the only party attempting to do the best for both leave and remain supporters.


  • said that he had ‘not at all’ changed his opposition to a new public vote and said that he and most other union leaders favour a ‘soft Brexit’ that Labour would have delivered by now had it won the 2017 general election
  • reminded Pienaar that the current situation is entirely the fault of Theresa May and the Tories
  • dismissed the European elections as ‘somewhat irrelevant’
  • predicted a big win for the Brexit party and a smaller boost for the LibDems, driven by protest votes at the failure of the ‘political elite’ to honour the 2016 referendum result
  • warned Watson and other would-be plotters that they are in for a shock if they think they can drive a wedge between Corbyn and Labour’s membership: “[Watson]’s going to lose disastrously
  • predicted that other plotters will try to misuse the EU election results to attack the Labour leader
  • underlined how skilfully Corbyn has guided Labour to a strong position through a difficult situation and highlighted that a majority of Labour MPs represent areas that voted leave in 2016
  • was forced to correct Pienaar’s unfounded claim that Labour members want the party to ‘unequivocally pivot’ to support a new referendum – and on Labour’s conference policy on Brexit
  • told Labour MPs and members to ‘hold your nerve‘ as a general election looks likely
  • described as ‘nonsense’ the idea of a general election ‘wipe-out’ for Labour if it fails to back a new referendum
  • described Labour as ‘as united as it’s ever been’ in spite of the difficult Brexit circumstances

Listen to McCluskey’s full comments below:

Subtitled version will be published as soon as available


As the SKWAWKBOX has already noted, Corbyn’s opponents are lining up to attempt to use the European Parliament election and the idea of a new public vote to undermine him in what amounts to a new coup.

Len McCluskey, who spends his time representing and talking to working-class people, knows it’s nonsense – and predicts they will fail yet again – and knows that Labour members, even most who would prefer to remain, prioritise a Labour government more highly than remaining in the EU.

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  1. McCluskey hardly has a reputation for insight on this subject! Just another ‘usual suspect’ – only on the opposite side to Watson – but still with the same background in Union politics. Ironically (to quote his phrase) – one of the ‘political elite’.

    1. RH 26/05/2019 at 2:36 pm

      It should not be forgotten that Len McCluskey blocked the adoption of Mandatory Re-Selection using OMOV at the 2018 conference.

      He’s obviously out of touch with the Labour Party’s membership so why should anyone presume he’s in synch with his own membership.

      1. No – I hadn’t forgotten that. Or McCluskey’s fragile claim to representativeness.

        Anyone growing up in the old NUM territory learned to keep a wary eye on union functionaries’ claims to omniscient representativeness on all things political – whether the label was ‘left’ or ‘right’.

    2. Nice one, turning his own words against him. Union baron in touch with working people mm.. haven’t had one for a while so that would be nice. If he goes on like this he’ll need to be very careful because accusations will be flying around. Baseless of course but that won’t stop them. It is going to be a torrid time and the gears will go up. Be strong and resist the traitors and use their own weapons against them. There has got to be a way to oust the filth column. Stand fast, this is going to be one of the nastiest GEs we have experienced. As for the notion of fairness in the media during the GE well we can forget it. We have got to stop kidding ourselves, we might be the many but they are powerful. Start digging on all the sides of the garden. The Tapeworms are becoming moles. All the best comrades.

  2. Unfortunately the polling indicates that the majority of Unite’s membership (including myself) want a CV.

  3. McCluskey put the boot into the open selection vote and supported adopting the IHRA definition, a trap to get anti-Zionists suspended.

    1. For example the much admired Chris Williamson who is currently languishing on suspension from the party.

      1. All of this is undoubtedly true and he gets no plaudits from me for being on ‘the wrong side’ on these important issues.

        However, on the issue of Brexit and the coming coup against Corbyn, he is spot on.

  4. 158 labour MP’s come from leave constituencies. 100 from remain.

    So much for your 83% of members being enough to win us an election. Those numbers prove otherwise.

    How many of those 158 seats are in marginals and depend on leaving rather than a 2nd referendum? My guess is almost as many (or more) than as for the toerags.

    Doesn’t matter. 83% of 500k is a multitude that will see labour keep every one of those labour marginals, win all those tory marginals and see labour romp home, isn’t it?

    Some people are beyond redemption or retrieval, they really are.

    1. 79.9 per cent of Tory-held marginal which Labour must win to form a government voted ‘Leave’.

      1. Thanks, Danny.

        No doubt it’ll still fall on stony ground. The insufferable dickheads will still stamp their feet and demand a 2nd ref.

        Shows where their priorites lie.

  5. McCluskey once again exposes himself as yet another Corbynista non-socialist.

    If he were a socialist he would preface any support for a “soft” Brexit with the assertion that Labour must (as part of any such deal) be free to extend public ownership and to deploy that new public sector in whatever way benefits the public interest and in particular the interests of the country’s working class.

    The silence of ALL Corbynistas over the right of government to be able lawfully to implement a radical and dynamic democratic socialist programme is nothing short of despicable.

    1. “the right of government”

      Any real radical will treat that term with a barge pole. The Tories exercised that ‘right’ to impose all the depradations of austerity … etc. etc.

      1. Except the toerags weren’t given a mandate to impose austerity in either 2010 or 2017, were they?

      2. In three words – ‘Yes they were’ – in terms of the *majoritarian* politics that govern general elections. It was a larger mandate than that for Brexit.

      3. They WERE??

        Here y’are lads & lasses….Roll up!! Here’s one of them, right here.

        ”Now, for your next lesson in democracy according to gobshites…Minority governments have ‘mandates’.” he reckons…

        Yes folks, you heard it here first, along with how those what gave us the nhs & welfare state were definitely remainer types…

        (Gawd blessus)

      4. Never mind (target missed yet again). We can’t all be at the front of the queue when the ability to do sums or follow a consistent argument is doled out.

        .. but the ability to parrot nonsense is freely democratic.

      5. Fuckin’ Ada

        He preaches to me about ‘sums’….the prick still harps on about 37% for fuck’s sake.

        Here on earth, specifically the United Kingdom, we have a FPTP system of democracy (Not a word that computes to a dullard like you, nonetheless, we can but persevere)

        That means you need an overall majority to possess a mandate.

        But it’s most remiss of me to expect a complete moron such as yourself to absorb that.

      6. The Toffee (597) 26/05/2019 at 7:01 pm

        Did you miss the news about Cameron bribing the LibDems with the trappings of power to secure a majority in the HofC?
        Did you also miss the news that Theresa May bribed the DUP with cash for their constituencies in order to secure a majority in the HofC?

        Now what was that you were saying about how they must have an overall majority in the HofC to be able to claim that they have a mandate?

      7. A bit at a loss at your crass comment regarding ‘majoritarian governance’ and your conflating of the Tory vote with a Majoritarian Vote, which as you know is not the case. Now, stop the crud, a majority of the UK electorate in June 2016 voted for Brexit, alas, a majority of the UK electorate in 2010, 2015 and 2017 did not vote CONSERVATIVE. What a poor interpretation of democracy you have and reality in general I’m afraid to say.

        We function as a Parliamentary Representative Democracy, whilst the USA is a Republic with some democracy attached, a democracy that entrenches Elite rule.

    2. “McCluskey once again exposes himself as yet another Corbynista non-socialist.”

      “The silence of ALL Corbynistas over the right of government to be able lawfully to implement a radical and dynamic democratic socialist programme is nothing short of despicable.”

      But it isn’t ALL Corbynistas is it? (And certainly not McClusky). In fact it’s relatively few.

      Utter bollocks!

  6. McCluskey is but the latest to misunderstand the current electoral dynamics – or even the dynamics within the Party.

    The ‘Leave’ vote – the manipulable conservative vote – has mainly gone to Farage. Already. Working class or middle class – it’s conservative.

    That leaves the pre-existing Labour ‘Remain’ vote to play for – or allow to drift away, or be undercut by lack of enthusiasm for a policy detached from it – as shown in the local elections.

    Time to stop farting about in Dreamland and look at the reality. I’m tired of trying to convince Labour supporters to stick with it.

      1. lundiel 26/05/2019 at 5:13 pm

        Did you?
        Have you got a link to what you said?

      2. lundenial – I’ve never questioned your – and your side-kick Toffee’s – attraction to bollocks.

        Even if you can’t find said article.

  7. I’m tired of trying to convince Labour supporters to stick with it.

    That’s probaby because all you ever do is spout shite, lad.

    The ‘leave’ vote has gone to falange EXACTLY because those people – and even people what originally voted remain – are sick to bastard death of twats like you incessantly – to the point on infuriatingly – demanding a 2nd ref.

    Small wonder they’ve not come to labour.

    1. The Toffee (597) 26/05/2019 at 3:48 pm · · Reply →

      “Small wonder they’ve not come to labour.”

      Why would they, what does Corbyn’s provarification actually offer them. Do you agree with Jeremy’s soft Brexit model?

      What should concern you far more is the flight of Remain supporters from Labour because they think the policy being followed by the leadership of the party is out of touch with their own views,

      Both Leavers and Remainers alike are put off by the never ending provarification. It is not a good look.

  8. From the anti Len McCluskey comments above I would recommend that people listen to what he actually said and judge for themselves whether his comments were relevant.

    From my perspective he said everything all Labour supporters should themselves be saying, Watson is a Machiavellian operator and has only one agenda and that is to undermine Jeremy Corbyn and Labour party members at every opportunity. Indeed we should now refer to him as Mac Watson of the right.

    People really do need to wake up in this country, Brexit is the side show that lets the Tories off the hook, A vote has been taken and the Remainers lost, not only that but they themselves have not got a clue about the EU only the stories they want to believe from the likes of people they disagree with. i.e. Blair, Mandelson and of course Mac Watson himself.

    It should be obvious to any right thinking person, that its the issues facing this country under this pernicious government that is the problem and only when we get rid of them can we start rebuilding it. Being a member of the EU did not stop this government in the words of the UN “Austerity policies breaching international Human Rights obligations”. So lets concentrate on getting rid of them, and not take our eyes off the ball as some appear to on this comment thread.

    1. rotzeichen 26/05/2019 at 4:04 pm

      People really do need to wake up in this country, Brexit is anything but a sideshow. It is fundamental to the future prosperity of the UK economy and its residents. If we suffer from a contraction in GDP where are the tax revenues going to come from to implement change.

  9. We ignore the leave voting areas at our peril. Think for a moment how many of those 158 MP’s in leave areas will still be Labour after your PV/CV? If you want a Labour Government we have to bring people together both Brexit & Remain Ultras do not have not the best interests of the party at heart. I call on all who want to see a Labour Government to come together and campaign for a General Election! You can’t do anything without power!, oh, and of course Tom Watson & Tony Blair to be thrown out of the party!!

  10. The dickheads/gobshites/trolls are excelling themselves today; thinly disguised hatred of trade unions, hatred of the working class, de facto support for the weasel Watson: what next? Hatred of Corbyn and socialism? That’s the logical end point for that sort of doublethink.

    1. labrebisgalloise 26/05/2019 at 4:19 pm

      Do you have any actual evidence to support your trolling. Please resist the temptation to rant. Give us some specific examples to support your ‘assertions’.

      1. Why bother @labrebisgallose?

        You’ll only be accused of ranting, of having anger management issues, you’ll be having democracy redefined to you, having weasel evasion tactics when you point out their own words to them, and be accused of ‘misrepresntation’ …especially if they answer you with a question you didn’t ask them but they insist you did.

        The utter weirdos make ed balls look normal.

      2. Here we go again, same strategy as ever. RH makes a provocative statement which is commented upon and along comes faithful SteveH with a question, always the same question, “Do you have evidence?”. Evidence that RH is making provocative statements? Yes, there’s reams of it but it has nothing to do with the thread, like your questions have nothing to do with the thread.
        Your purpose is to obfuscate while RH’s purpose is to insult.
        You are trolls.

      3. lundiel 26/05/2019 at 5:28 pm

        It’s disappointing that you’ve failed on both counts.

      4. ‘It’s disappointing that you’ve failed on both counts.’

        Failed to do what steve?

        Answer a question (Like you, twice in this thread up to now)

        Obfuscate (Again – you – twice in this thread)

        Insult? Not really lundiel’s strongpoint, but something the other moron’s a dab hand at.

        Oh, on a point of pedantry, that’s three things…Oh well, I’ll just pretend it’s two, then convince meself it is, and hope nobody else notices….

      5. SteveH

        Labre owes you precisely jack-shit! You might not have anything better to do with your time than patrol this site, but I dare say he does.

        Take your demands elsewhere.

      6. timfrom 26/05/2019 at 8:21 pm

        It is entirely up-to labrebisgalloise whether he chooses to substantiate his accusations or not. Others will also be quite at liberty to make a judgement on his integrity if he fails to substantiate his accusations. Although I suspect most won’t give a f… either way. .

    2. “The dickheads/gobshites/trolls … ”

      = Use of the sort of phrasiology that stamps ” Total Bollocks” as the headline of a post.

      Now .. back in the real world …

  11. Len McCluskey is a Trade Union leader, a skilled negotiator and a very clever farsighted man. He is a genuine socialist totally trustworthy and he eats the like of Tom Watson for breakfast.
    Keep us the good work Len – you are an asset to our movement!

    1. Len’s not totally trustworthy on the solidarity front, I’m afraid.

      He thought workfare…sorry ‘compulsory jobs guarantee’ was a good thing.

      Then of course, there’s the OMOV sellout

  12. Just seen the turnout percentage for Birmingham only in the EU Elections, 31.12%. Turnout for Birmingham in 2014 was 32.72%.
    Thought it would be higher? I don’t think this bodes well for those who’ve made it such an issue, there’s no appetite for these elections.
    The turnout for uk last time was 35.4%

      1. The Toffee (597) 26/05/2019 at 5:07 pm

        It is good to see you’ve acknowledged this.

      2. You’ve replied to other posts since I asked you what your point is – so do everyone the courtesy of furnishing us with it, or shut the hell up.

  13. EU turnout for other areas of the West Midlands are:
    Sandwell 27.7% (the Tom Watson effect)
    Coventry 30%
    Stafford 35.6%
    Herefordshire 39.8%
    Nuneaton 33.47%

    1. EU turnout for other areas of the West Midlands are:
      Sandwell 27.7% (the Tom Watson effect)

      Is that the ‘tom – gizza 2nd ref or i’ll cause even more shite watson’ effect?

      Well I never…A whole 27.7% turnout? Marvellous.

      1. When can we expect the benefit of your perspicacity regards these pitifully low turnout numbers, steve or dicky h?

      2. The Toffee (597) at 5:51 pm

        Some of us are waiting for the actual results rather than indulge in endless and irrelevant speculation.

      3. Another shithouse cop-out from the master of shithouse cop-outs

        quelle surprise

      4. The Toffee (597) at 6:05 pm

        I think mine is the more sensible approach but by all means continue to ‘make a difference’ by discussing the impact of the turnout when you don’t know the results of an election that you didn’t vote in. You really know how to make a difference, don’t you.

        We’ll all know the actual results in a few hours.

      5. NOTHING ‘speculative’ about the turnout, knobby.

        So come on, tell us why it was so low in a district/ward where the sitting MP has manoeuvered, schemed and deviated from the party line about a 2nd referendum?

        You’re the one telling anyone who’ll listen it’s what people want so answer the fucking question instead of veering off and shitting out you coward.

      6. ANOTHER thread where steve h shits out from more than one simple question.

        And he expects, nay DEMANDS to be taken seriously.

        The fucking brass neck…

      7. I think mine is the more sensible approach but by all means continue to ‘make a difference’ by discussing the impact of the turnout when you don’t know the results of an election that you didn’t vote in.

        Dafuq are you tryin to kid?

        27.7% turnout and if it’s a remain vote it’ll be ”legit.” Then there’ll be no more mention of your ‘37%’

        However, if it’s a leave vote you’ll pipe up with your usual shite.

        The reason the turnout’s so low is that nobody gives a tuppenny fuck about your precious eu elections – they never did given previous turnouts – especially now.

      8. The Toffee (597) 26/05/2019 at 6:28 pm

        As I quite clearly said above, we’ll all know the results in a few hours. However if you feel it will be therapeutic to indulge in pointless speculation then you go ahead and fill your boots.

      9. As I quite clearly said above, we’ll all know the results in a few hours

        What the absolute fuck have the results to do with the low turnout?

        Now, answer the questions you’ve been ask in a direct fashion.

      10. The Toffee (597) 26/05/2019 at 7:04 pm

        “What the absolute fuck have the results to do with the low turnout?”

        I would have thought that even you would appreciate that we obviously won’t know the answer to that until the results are released.

      11. Except we DO know the answer – but you’re demonstrably far too much of a shithouse to admit that people just aren’t arsed about europe anymore…If ever they were.

      12. The Toffee (597) 26/05/2019 at 7:29 pm

        We all make our own choices but personally I prefer to rely on facts rather than speculation.

      13. Oh, and before you start with your tried & failed puerile ”running away” schoolboy bullshit, I’m off to me pit…Alright?

      14. The Toffee (597) 26/05/2019 at 7:33 pm ·

        I wish you goodnight and sweet dreams, do you count unicorns instead of sheep.

      15. SteveH

        Get yourself a girlfriend or something, you sad man!

      16. timfrom 26/05/2019 at 8:24 pm

        Why on earth would I even contemplate betraying the ones I love and why would you think I am anything else but happy contemplating my retirement and our move to warmer climes where I’ll be able to watch the sunset over the sea from our swimming pool. What do I have to be sad about.

    2. Birmingham have confirmed turnout across West Midlands of 33.10%.
      Sandwell is now 27.93% with 60,341 votes on an electorate of 216,082
      Previous figure was tweeted by Sandwell Council. Obviously they can’t get anything right. Tom must have been in charge?
      Birmingham 221,697 on an electorate of 712,294.
      Sandwell lowest turnout. Highest turnout Malvern Hills 43.27% 25,980 votes on an electorate of 60,045.

      1. Whoops! Stoke on Trent is the lowest on 26.53%. I wonder which Labour MP’’s represent Stoke on Trent?? Total votes 45,179, electorate 170,305.

  14. Well .. we know that Toffee has nothing coherent or useful to say.

    Now … about the polls. When we actually know something about the outcome of this ERG/Tory/Farage/Lexiteer alliance.

    1. We also know that the public has little interest in European elections. This was your last chance to put some veracity to your claims. The facts speak for themselves, people are sick and tired of Europe. The only ones who aren’t are self serving politicians and LibDem supporters like you.

      1. lundiel 26/05/2019 at 8:20 pm

        The facts speak for themselves, people are sick and tired of Europe. The only ones who aren’t are self serving politicians and LibDem supporters like you.

        If that is true then what should we read into the fact that you are, self evidently, still interested enough to make the effort to continually comment about Brexit.
        Which of the two options you give would you classify yourself as?

      2. This is the only platform I comment on regarding Brexit and I only do it to counter the bullshit and propaganda put out by yourself and RH.

  15. Twatson
    Get rid and rest will follow, saves a lot of fuckery when GE is called

    1. Doug 26/05/2019 at 7:47 pm

      If you check the rule book then you will see there is effectively only one way of unseating Tom Watson from office and that is for him to be challenged by another MP.

      Maybe there has been no challenge because the potential challengers are unsure they would win.

      1. ”Maybe there has been no challenge because the potential challengers are unsure they would win.”

        Yes – And the sole reason they’re unsure they’d win is because of fucktards like you backing watson’s second referendum demands.


      2. The Toffee (597) 27/05/2019 at 9:08 am

        You mean like the ‘Left Wing’ Leavers who are endorsing Farage. FGS grow up.

        What an idiotic statement. I, along with the majority of Labour Party members, support having a CV. Watson just happens to support the same policy.

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