McCluskey calls on United Left to ignore ‘cowardly’ smear campaign against left candidates for Unite’s next general secretary

Anonymous Twitter ‘cowards’ have been seeding unfounded smears to taint contest for left group’s nomination

Unite general secretary Len McCluskey has issued a stern call to United Left (UL) members to treat smears ‘with contempt’ as the contest for the left group’s nomination to succeed him heats up.

Unite assistant general secretaries Howard Beckett and Steve Turner are both standing for UL’s nomination, with the hustings and vote taking place this Saturday, but a number of unfounded smears have been circulated anonymously among its members and anonymous Twitter accounts have been set up to promote the lies.

McCluskey pulled no punches in his message to UL members, calling those behind the smears ‘cowards’ and telling members to treat them and their claims ‘with contempt’:

McCluskey’s letter also endorses both men as close friends who have played a central part in Unite’s efforts on behalf of working-class people. Both candidates have pledged a clean contest and those who are circulating the malicious and demonstrably false claims do a disservice to the movement.

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  1. I hate that.
    “Don’t listen to the lies!”
    What lies?
    “Not telling.”
    I’d look on Twitter if i could be arsed.
    Can’t even be arsed to ask here but I expect someone will oblige us all anyway by repeating whatever accusations are out there.

  2. I have absolutely no idea what these smears are, I haven’t seen or heard of them apart from on this site.

    Without knowing what the accusations are it is difficult to reach an informed conclusion but if the accusations are of serious wrongdoing then perhaps a better strategy would be for the candidates to address the issues head on and give a comprehensive rebuttal rather than hoping it will all just go away.

  3. Cant remember where it was
    Howard is accused of being a millionaire solicitor who ripped off miners through their pension funds
    Now can you help me
    United left will choose and they should know who is the best candidate, I get that
    Who are they and will they be involved in selecting who stands for the left in other union elections
    I hope so because its another example of the left getting its act together and a further rallying call to get back in the tent

  4. On NEC elections how do we get to the message to members to vote randomly for the 6 to maximise their chances and to make clear they are the JC , Labour manifesto and United Left candidates
    I get the weighting of STV so my suggestion for a wild card vote is to select a further 3 candidates and ask members to vote for them as 7, 8 and 9 preferences, my fear is what happened to Sinn Fean recently

    1. Exactly Doug, we should have 9 candidates, we know is highly unlikely that we will get the 9 elected, but we aren’t going to harm our chances by running 9.
      The important thing is to ensure that our vote is spread almost equally among the 9 candidates. I believe a good way of doing it, could be attaching each candidate as a 1st runner to a particular geographical area (total nine) If you are from Manchester vote first choice A, if you are from Liverpool vote first choice B, if you are from London vote first choice C, etc.So concrete instructions need to be provided asap.
      It would force the right to concentrate on less and less candidates, to ensure they can win at least 2 candidates. If the right wing was to underestimate the left vote, we have around 1% chance of getting all 9 through. I don’t see any harm in taking the chance.
      The right will be forced to play safe and that could only result in an increase of left supported candidates elected to the NEC as the other right wing candidates will fall below the votes of left candidates.
      I believe the right wing of the Party controls around 25% of the vote and the left around 55% of the vote. Thus, 25% divided among 6 equal 4.18% of the votes for each, but 55% divided by nine equals 6.10% of the vote spread equally among 9. Hence, the right will be forced to run only 4 candidates to try to get to 6.25% each above the average of 6.10% of the Left candidates.
      But what will happen if the left vote is over 60%? Then each 9 candidate on the left would have a share of a vote higher than the right 6.25% average vote. Hence, the small chance of winning the 9 on our slate. Plus we are all competing with the centrist candidates, That could take some of the votes for the right wing slate too. The right will be forced to run only 3 candidates to have around a 8.33% of the vote and ensure their victory. But whom out of the 6 they are running on the right slate is going to volunteer to stand down?
      If the left only runs 6 candidates we will ensure, providing we are discipline enough, the election of those 6. At 55% of members voting left is 9.15% share of the vote for each, higher that the 8.33% that the 3 candidates for the right of the Party will get.
      Still, we need to know how to spread the vote, because if 40% of left members vote 1st choice for a particular candidate the other 5 candidates, would be below the 6 right wing candidates on 4.18% each approximately on 4% each. The center candidates will come to play and perhaps 2 of them would get above the 4.18% too. Hence, the left despite the huge vote for one of its candidates would manage to elect only 1. Their is a small chance that it could happen if we don’t organise properly.

  5. About a week ago I did a search re Howard Beckett, having not heard of him prior to skwawkbox posting a few articles relating to him during the past few weeks, and the first article in the list of results (or maybe it was the second) was about the following, which Doug implies is one of the smears:

    ‘Top Unite official fined in miners’ payout scandal’


    1. But anyway, talking of smears:

      Re anti-semitism, it’s nigh on impossible to remember all the specific attacks – as opposed to the oft-repeated generalisations – that there have been against Jeremy during his tenure as leader (and since), and I’d completely forgotten about the following one, which I just happened to come across whilst doing some research earlier. AND the key thing about it is that perhaps more than any other spurious and vexatious attack against him, it glaringly exposes just how devious and deceitful and dishonest and corrupt these people ARE who have been attacking him over and over and over again. Anyway, this is what I came across and what I’m referring to (from March 2018), which I have copied and pasted (as opposed to just posting a link to it):

      Regards the CAA (Campaign Against Antisemitism), it’s more-than-a-little interesting that they should have vehemently criticised JC last month for not mentioning ‘Jews’ in his Holocaust Memorial Day message. The following is from the Belfast Telegraph:

      Campaigners against anti-Semitism responded with outrage after it emerged that Mr Corbyn’s entry in a Holocaust Educational Trust (HET) memorial book did not mention Jews.

      The Campaign Against Antisemitism demanded an apology from the Labour leader, describing his message as “appalling”, while the Jewish Leadership Council said it displayed “a complete lack of sensitivity”.

      And later in the article:

      Simon Johnson, chief executive of the Jewish Leadership Council, said: “It is hard to believe anybody can neglect to mention Jews when writing a Holocaust Memorial Day message, let alone the Leader of the Opposition.

      “Mr Corbyn displays a complete lack of sensitivity to those who survived the atrocities of the Holocaust and its impact on the Jewish community.”

      A spokesman for the Campaign Against Antisemitism described it as “a disgraceful forgetting at a ceremony purposed for remembering”, adding: “We call on Mr Corbyn to apologise and issue a new statement.”

      A Labour source said: “Jeremy was clearly referring to the millions of Jewish victims of the Holocaust and their descendants.”

      The source pointed out that neither Prime Minister Theresa May nor Liberal Democrat leader Sir Vince Cable mentioned the Jews in their own messages.


      Yes, you just read that right – ie neither did Theresa May or Vince Cable – but THAT’S OK cos we don’t mind at all if THEY didn’t, but we’ll attack Corbyn with all the virulence we can muster because he is critical of Israel for the way it has treated the Palestinians during the past forty years or more:


      NB (added today) It is of course much the same as the bogus attack made on him for not bowing his head to the Queen, when not only was it not customary to do so, but no-one else apart from Theresa May did so, and the fact that she DIDN’T do so in the previous Queen’s Speech a couple of years earlier tells you ALL you need to know (if you’ve seen the video, it’s funny how she enters the chamber walking beside Jeremy, and then very quickly moves away from him and THEN bows her head). And like the above story/attacks, this one ALSO shows and exposes perhaps more than any other attack on him how fraudulent and mendatious and corrupt they all are, albeit in THIS case, concerning a non-A/S attack.

    2. It’s a lie, Allan. One of the demonstrably-untrue smears McCluskey is asking the left to treat with contempt

      1. Thanks for the clarification, but do you know what the other smears are?

      1. Implied that it was POSSIBLY one of the smears……. And it WAS! (so no need to get defensive then eh)

  6. You guys are so clever – why don’t we see anymore Covid 19 graphs on the telly and what is happening in the two biggest countries in the world – Russia and China?

  7. We have a Tory knight of the realm because of the smears and orchestrated campaigns……against the left wing of the Labour party.Surely we have enough to judge the most smeared and attacked as a recommendation and a badge of trust.

  8. Why don’t you do an article on Class War and their antics in front of Churchill’s statue during the BLM demo in London a coupla weeks ago as reported by Reuters in an incomplete story on Twitter?

  9. “………………….when I advise them I am standing down. I have not arrived at that decision yet as there are a number of factors……………….”. Doublespeak.
    Comrade McCluskey has a plan. I know what it is.

    1. “I know what it is.” Well unless you share your insider knowledge you won’t be able to say “I told you so” will you?
      Not announcing the factors influencing a personal decision isn’t “doublespeak.”
      Alluding to knowledge of dark, dirty secrets but not divulging them is a bit childish if you don’t mind my saying so..

      1. McCluskey wants to stay in office. He cant stand again, but maybe there is another way.
        Work it out for yourself.

  10. Stones and glass houses here. At the Unite BL meeting in Liverpool recently, other candidates from the Left were called ‘extremists by the platform; and we were advised not to vote for them. They won btw 🙂

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