Analysis Exclusive

Exclusive: ‘United Left’ group expels whole Scottish affiliate after selection dispute – Scottish members call on Turner to condemn

Members demand Turner condemn ‘disgraceful’ manoeuvre ‘to protect a small cabal in London & Eastern region, fearful that the region with the biggest left membership in Unite would take over at the up­coming AGM’

‘United Left’ (UL), the notionally left grouping of Unite union members has expelled the whole of its Scottish body for calling for transparency and an investigation into the result of UL’s hustings for its preferred candidate in the union’s general secretary election that is expected to take place next year.

UL announced Steve Turner as the winner of the hustings by just three votes – but an investigation of complaints from supporters of Howard Beckett who were barred from voting revealed a Beckett win by a significantly larger margin. However, UL insisted that the result must stand.

Progressive United Left Scotland (PULS), the Scottish affiliated group, called for independent scrutiny of the result and process, but UL refused, instead insisting that the result had already been ratified – and has now announced the expulsion (which it terms ‘self-exclusion’) of the whole of PULS from its organisation.

“Despicable, desperate, ‘divide and conquer’ tactics we see from the worst employers”

In a statement on UL’s action, PULS has condemned the ‘disgraceful’, ‘divide and conquer’ attack on its democracy and has called on Steve Turner to repudiate the move:

While expelling PULS en masse, UL also emailed individual PULS members directly in an attempt to ‘poach’ them back to support the manoeuvre by the largely London-based UL faction, in what PULS has condemned as a use of PULS’s member data outside the permitted purposes.

An investigation into the result of the hustings revealed:

  • a substantial number of Beckett supporters were blocked from voting in the contest and received no response to requests for help on the issue
  • at least two Turner supporters allowed to vote despite joining after the cut-off date for eligibility
  • the sudden appearance of a separate ‘United Left’ section in Scotland, adding eleven new voters when voting in hustings has traditionally been exclusively via PULS
  • failures to provide ballots to members who queried why they did not receive one
  • no validation of regional lists of voters, in spite of requests by the Beckett campaign
  • issues with the entitlement to send campaign emails
  • the pre-recording of a hustings statement when the rules of the contest stipulated live presentations
  • unequal treatment of voters in arrears, with some allowed to vote and others not
  • the promotion of Turner’s candidacy on official UL social media
  • lack of provision of lists of eligible voters

At the time of writing, Steve Turner has not publicly commented on the expulsion of the entire Scottish affiliate or on PULS’s other accusations.

Social media sabotage

A new left-unity group, Unite Unity Left, has recently emerged and is considered by many to have precipitated UL’s action – and it is referenced in UL’s announcement of the expulsion. The new group, which says it is “unapologetically dedicated to winning workplace power and organising collectively”, has already seen attempts to sabotage its launch via a fake Twitter account that tweeted a video in support of Steve Turner.

The group’s genuine Twitter account is @unite_unityleft and its website, where supporters can register for updates, can be found here.

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  1. I don’t mind if either Steve or Howard win the nomination because they’re both great socialists and fighters for the working class. I do mind Trotskyist fucking wankers, a lot of whom are probably still living off mummy and daddy’s trustfunds sticking their stupid fucking ignorant noses in. I thought you knew better than to sink into the mire of sectarianism Steve, but clearly the the spirit of Derek Hatton still rules on your manor.

  2. It is time that trade unions came out and stated clearly they were Tory Left or Socialist Left. You cannot escape politics in life.

    The moment there is a lack of transparency then democracy has died.

    There is a battle against socialism waging in very nasty ways, and trade unions need to be upfront in their politics.

    Only socialism has a place in trade unions.

  3. It’s democracy that’s under attack; socialism is rarely discussed as it’s become a taboo topic for those in power.. This is from the establishment as well as the leadership of the TU’s. Len McCluskey calls people who prefer democracy, ‘extremists’, just like the Tories and Sir Stormer do.
    People with power and privilege hate being challenged, they hate the idea of being accountable to the people who elected them. Mbe the fat pay packets give them a sense of entitlement; they become part of the establishment and that’s who they end up representing.

  4. Oh, fgot to mention. Mr McCluskey, referring to Stalin, said, ‘Joe wasn’t all bad’. Stalin, bezzie mates with Hitler until the USSR was attacked.

    1. “Stalin, bezzie mates with Hitler until the USSR was attacked.”

      That is simply untrue. The position that the Soviet Union was in in 1939 made it essential that it seek any arrangement to protect itself from attack, It preferred and had worked hard to make an alliance with Britain and France. But the ruling classes preferred for Hitler to attack the USSR- Stalin got the message, finally, when the British negotiator, a military officer, travelled not in a plane but in a ship, taking everything very slowly.
      I’m no fan of Stalin but the non aggression pact of 1939 saved the working class’s bacon. It was the only thing that the Russians could do- the Poles refused to accept their assistance, just as the Czechs had the year before.
      So Len was right, he isn’t always but he was when he said that.

    2. You were doing alright till you added that silly post, which maybe tells us plenty about the rest of your thinking potatoclock.

    3. …and then, he beat the crap out of him.

      I’ll take the final result, thank you. The USSR was in a weak position, as Barbarossa showed. The Pact bought them time.

  5. Aye, as Alexi Sayle said, ‘You can’t make an omelette without murdering 40million people’. Stalin handed back German communists who had escaped Nazi Germany. Why was there a Left Opposition to Stalin, who were all murdered by him and his boys?
    Or do people think that Stalin liked democracy? There’s no evidence to prove that. Either way, I wonder how many people know that the leader of the biggest TU in the country prefers Stalin’s methods to democracy.

    1. Aye, that’s a separate issue. I agree with you on the second but, please, make up your mind which one you want to discuss.

    1. The problem is that democracy can be so easily hijacked by those with cash and influence as we saw in the Brexit vote where many British citizens were denied a vote. Democracy only works when all citizens or group members are given the opportunity to vote and all the salient issues are put before them without lies or spin. Given that is hardly ever the case, what do we fall back on when asked to make a choice and is any vote truly democratic?

  6. The none aggression pact also meant that Hitler no longer had to fight a war on two fronts. The working class of the countries he then was free to invade probably didn’t see the pact as a good thing. Or the millions of people attacked by Germany in the USSR after Hitler felt his war on the Western front was over.
    . ‘We knew they were both dictators, we preferred the one who spoke Russian’, were the words of an ex Russian general. Like I say, I prefer democracy and debate, rather than personal attacks.


    “Meanwhile, both Great Britain and USSR were separately involved into [sic] secret negotiations with Germany”

    Countries surrendered, made pacts or made war in what they saw as their own best interests at the time – as always – and they still do.
    Britain has always done exactly the same.
    You think the British Expeditionary Force was a selfless sacrifice to try to save France?
    The idea was to fight the Nazis to a standstill on French soil not English soil – to hold them up, hold them back and diminish them just like in WWI while we prepared for the real war.
    Every other war since 1066 has been fought on foreign soil too IIRC.
    Germany and Japan were the only nations fully prepared for war – everyone else had no choice but to play for time, try to protect themselves, build & train armies, build materiel and get ready.

    The Russians lost nearly 30 million, China 20 million – no other nation came close. UK lost 460,00 and US lost 430,000.

    Don’t slag off the Soviets or the Chinese, we owe them our arses.

      1. Read your own words ….

        “Don’t slag off the Soviets or the Chinese, we owe them our arses.”

        That’s pretty unequivocal, and doesn’t require me to “invent ones.”

        Your idea that “We owe” x, y, or z, “our arses” is pretty offensive. Don’t go trying to rewrite what you have put in pretty in unequivocal terms. Everyone can read what you said, and what I said.

    1. I don’t go along with “Country X” won the war – whether that be the UK, China, Russia, America or the remnants of empire.

      EVERY country on the Allied side played their part, and it diminishes anyone who died to suggest that their death doesn’t really count.

      1. USSR 30 million dead
        China 20 million dead
        UK half a million dead
        US about the same
        Yes, every country did its part – Soviet Russia’s & China’s sacrifices just happened to dwarf everybody else’s, that’s all.

        That’s not to deny the value of any individual’s life or death so stop adding your own spin to what I wrote. I didn’t claim the Soviets “won the war” but without them the war could have lasted far longer.
        The US (which took most of the credit) could have been driven to wider use of nuclear weapons, and new German weapons could even have changed the outcome – remember how technologically advanced Germany was on rocketry and jets.
        Limit your criticisms to the words I write please, not the ones you invent on my behalf.

      2. DM
        Nothing to apologise for, twas the Russians what broke them

  8. The British Royal family never forgave the Russian people and still don’t. The anti Communist propaganda aginst the USSR should have gone with the western inspired defeat of the USSR,it didnt because the royals and the establishment were destroyed by the Revolution and the British establishment along with the Royals hold the Russian people to account even now for the deaths of the ruling class in Russia…!

  9. I’m sure that there will be a topic on here soon, but how wonderful to see Marr “FORENSICALLY” take Starmer apart bit by bit.

    Starmer shown to be no more than a lower middle manager (no disrespect to lower middle managers) rather than a leader of anything at all. He hasn’t even THOUGHT about policies, never mind got any. And as for principles ….

    1. Joe Robson…What can you expect from a MP that started off his political career in 2015with a title and a track record in forensic corruption…Leadership is not the vocabulary of a “placman” and how he managed to worm his way into the leadership is worth looking at with a “forensic” eye ignoring the lies that are his cover story to hide behind.

  10. Of course Hitler couldn’t have invaded the USSR without all that war material kindly supplied to him by Uncle Joe. Of course he hoped Adolf would use it against France and Britain but that treacherous scoundrel betrayed his best mate.

    And the Daily Worker kept attacking the French and British leaders for refusing to make peace, as the Morning Star kindly reminds us in that 80 years ago piece in the letters page. Whilst forgetting about the fate of the Jews in Germany. And the NKVD the the Gestapo had three joint conferences to deal with Polish revolitiuonaries and nationalists. To mention just a few problems with Uncle Joe’s politics in addition to those already mentioned.

  11. ‘Honesty & Integrity’……………what strange concepts that appear alien to politics, even to the Labour Party?

  12. Nobody here slagging off the Russian workers, just Stalin, who possibly murdered as many of em as Hitler did. Which is why I was surprised to hear the leader of Unite praising his methods. I always wonder, if a person has a good argument, why they’re afraid of debate, and why Len calls socialists, ‘extremists’.
    Re the war, then mbe the USSR wouldn’t have lost so much ground, equipment and personnel to the Nazi invasion, if Stalin hadn’t murdered about 350000 officers of the Red Army. Stalin wouldn’t even allow the Russian troops to fire back when first hearing of the German invasion.
    And yes, as mentioned, the CP over here was happy to leave Hitler alone while he carried out his genocidal attacks. This is despite 2 million German oppositionists being imprisoned in 1934, many of whom were murdered by the Nazi’s.
    If we want the TU’s to ever become a force to counter Tory ideology, then praising murderous dictators probably isn’t the best recruitment tool. The average age of the UL meeting I attended was about 65, or older. I can’t imagine why younger people aren’t attracted to the movement. Mbe someone else can suggest why 🙂

  13. I found a list of dictators of the 20th century – I searched because I could only remember just over 20 and I knew there’d been many, many more.
    Even before I counted them I’d have given odds that before WWII most of the world’s population lived under dictatorships.

    There’s been an implication made here that no dictatorship should be cast in a favourable light on any grounds – even if it fought for the Allies – and that’s puerile, virtue-signalling bollocks.
    Presumably Cuba would be given no credit either.
    The curious of mind can count dictators for themselves:

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