Contrasting styles and substance differentiate the two candidates who will contest United Left nomination this weekend
Incumbent Len McCluskey has described both candidates bidding for the United Left group’s nomination in the next general secretary election of giant union Unite as fit and able successors – but clear dividing lines have emerged between Howard Beckett and Steve Turner, who will face United Left members on Saturday in an online hustings before members of the left group cast their ballots to decide who will be their nominee.
Steve Turner’s strategy appears to be to seek consensus in the corridors of Westminster, extending even as far as warm words yesterday for Tory MP – or now ex-Tory – MP Julian Lewis, after Lewis was elected chair of the Defence Select Committee.
Howard Beckett, by contrast, has focused on the conflict between the interests of working people and those of the Establishment, majoring on the power of solidarity and collective action to win those battles.
The contrast in the two candidates’ stances can also be seen in their differing approaches to the Labour leadership. Where Turner has praised Starmer’s performance in PMQs and does not appear to have been publicly critical, Beckett has openly taken the Labour leader to task on a number of occasions, from Starmer’s response to the Black Lives Matter movement to Labour’s decision to sack furloughed staff at the earliest opportunity, on which a Beckett-led Unite response forced a u-turn, to Starmer’s decision to drop a wealth tax from Labour’s proposals to fund the post-pandemic recovery.
When United Left members ‘attend’ Saturday’s online hustings and vote to decide the group’s nomination, they will be faced with a choice between two genuinely different candidates and approaches: if successful it looks clear Steve Turner will seek to work with Starmer, whereas Howard Beckett is more determined to keep Labour on the left.
The SKWAWKBOX needs your support. This site is provided free of charge but depends on the generosity of its readers to be viable. If you can afford to, please click here to arrange a one-off or modest monthly donation via PayPal or here for a monthly donation via GoCardless. Thanks for your solidarity so the SKWAWKBOX can keep bringing you information the Establishment would prefer you not to know about.
If you wish to reblog this post for non-commercial use, you are welcome to do so – see here for more.