Analysis comment

Guardian touts right-winger Coyne’s new bid for Unite head – but neglects to list his long and sorry record from the last one

Guardian omits Coyne’s data breaches, humiliating legal defeat, damning judge’s verdict and more

The Guardian/Observer website has announced that right-winger Gerard Coyne is preparing another bid to become the general secretary of the giant Unite union, as the Labour right again attempts to wall up the Labour party against any future prospect of real change for the better.

But the paper – all too unsurprisingly – fails to make any significant mention of Coyne’s abysmal record during the last one.

The nearest it comes is to note that Coyne was sacked by the union following his first bid in 2017 and that he ‘later dropped an unfair dismissal claim’ – though it gives ample space to Coyne’s attempts to justify his second bid and his claim to be making it because of receiving ‘much encouragement and support’.

But Coyne’s first attempt to become Unite general secretary was pocked and blighted with data breaches, incompetence, legal defeats when he refused to accept his loss – and an absolutely withering verdict on his credibility and conduct by the retired High Court judge who ultimately decided against him.

During that first contest, Coyne:

And after his bid failed Coyne – whose campaign boasted of the amount of cash and patronage he had:

  • attempted interminable challenges to the result – but was often barely able to speak under cross-examination
  • saw his claims rejected by, in turn, the election’s Returning Officer, the Election Commissioner and a judge – to be unsubstantiated against McCluskey, but to potentially implicate Coyne himself
  • appealed the verdict of a retired High Court judge against him as he tried to overturn the election result – and was then slammed by another judge as ‘inconsistent, confusing and weak
  • was then humiliated in his final appeal, when a retired High Court judge concluded that Coyne had:
    – conducted an improper campaign
    – been ‘unconvincing’ in his evidence
    – breached data laws and election rules
    – made serious false accusations against rival Len McCluskey
    – made complaints in order to distract from his own actions and data breaches

This is the candidate on whom the Labour right is again pinning its hopes of dragging Unite to the right.

And the Observer ‘newspaper’ and sister Guardian site saw fit to give none of this information when it announced his bid.

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  1. I’m sure I’ve seen him on TV – was he ever an extra in Father Ted?

    1. It’s uncanny. A compilation of Alistair Campbell and a dead eyed gangster villain?

  2. My worry would be that even negative publicity is better than none at all.His name might be notorious to many of us posters,but like Starmer and Johnson he could creep in through the back door like the other two misfit criminals.Somtimes I wonder at the stupidity of people that vote for a candidate because they spin a good Yarn or the Sun or the mail gives them a good write up.I now carefully research after being one of those “stupid people” who voted for Tom Watson after his TV show condemning Murdoch.and the trials and tribulations of parliamentary Committee were he looked like a bastion of the Labour party after veiwing most of the catatonic committee members….Be warned not all negative publicity means defeat especially in Britain today.

    1. As a general guide any candidate described in MSM as “”commom sense” is a no-no. Any described as devil-worshipping Trots are the bees knees.

  3. The Guardian story lauded his support for Starmer. One would have thought that “under normal circumstances” the Guardian’s big story was the Marr interview of Starmer himself, but even they must have seen it as a car-crash interview, so it received virtually no coverage. Whilst they enjoy Starmer at PMQs “proving” that Johnson lies (tell us something we don’t know), when the boot is on the other foot and Starmer is shown to have the same amount of principle as Johnson, they forget to mention it!

  4. Unite’s rules for the election of the general and deputy general secretaries should be amended to adopt the alternative (absolute majority) vote. Coyne could not then slip through to win in the face of a divided left vote.

  5. Unison result today
    3 left wing candidates against one right wing candidate
    Don’t need a 1st class honours degree in the bleedin obvious to see how that shambles turns out
    Hope I’m wrong

    1. Doug…….. Extremely good point and I am sure that the right wing would not run a candidate if they hadnt weighed the maths.I hope the left of con man can do their maths as well.IF the right wing get their hands on this union we might as well start pushing kids up chimneys again and taking in our “betters washing” .

      1. I suspect Coyne will be fancying his chances. With Howard Beckett pledging to stand as an “independent left” because he could not get the support of United Left supporters, and respected Executive member Sharon Graham standing, the main left candidate Steve Turner, could be squeezed – and that’s before we get fringe outliers from the Socialist Party and the SW also probably being nominated.

    2. You’re not wrong – a tactical mistake which will keep Unison a right wing union for the foreseeable

  6. Chris Whitty just interviewed remotely on BBC News, looking straight at his webcam.
    Maybe just bad lighting but his eyes look like pure evil.
    Like Damien in The Omen all grown up & posing as a scientist while he looks for the perfect virus to turn us all into his mindless, obedient slaves… 😉

    1. David….Hes at his “Whits” end with this acting job,but I think he’s unhinged as well….Nobody told him theyre all out to get him!

    2. He nearly smiled at one point though he could have had a touch of wind.

    3. Heh, heh, heh. Good image, now all that I’ve got to do is to try and forget it. I’ve wondered from where and why such creatures emerge, blinking and lying, into the light from day one.

  7. Yes I noted that piece of airbrushed reporting on the Guardian – certainly omitted any inconvenient truths

    1. The Guardian/Observer are part of the right wing. Don’t expect anything different!

      1. Marty, never have. Too many reasons and examples to list here. Anybody know what their daily sales are and their internet ads are bringing in? Our local baccy shop told me that his Guardians were dropping. The I and Independent were holding up and it’s the eternal 2 a day for the M.S. He’d never heard of the JC. Only noticeable rise was the Mail and Mirror. Sun and others holding firm. That’s in my part of Scarborough so make of it what you will. Regards ☮️

  8. It should not matter what the Observer or the Guardian print, Coyne like all and I mean All of the Labour Right are Corrupt so how on earth did this Clown surface again,The decision of who leads Unite is a Membership Choice not the Observer not the Guardian not the Corrupt BBC ITV SKY all run by Tory Grandees and Rich extremists for the subjugation of the Working People,If the Membership of Unite vote Coyne into the Leadership Chair it’s their choice I would thoroughly disagree with the choice and as I abhor all things Right Wing Blair Brown Darling Watson Starmer et al and would hold the Membership in Contempt, I would fight to the Death to Protect their Decision to make their Democratic Choice.

  9. ‘The Guardian’……….always a Liberal newspaper & handbook for the authoritarian ‘wokes’. So much contempt for the working class from the ‘Smugs’, oozing out of its columns to immediately become the agenda for news stories on BBC & Channel 4, but especially on BBC Radio 4. The bourgeoisie talking to themselves.

    The Labour ‘Left’ never allowed a platform as Starmer & his Blairite chums are the ‘only fruit’. All panelists are ‘Right-Wing/Centreists’ in the name of balance as Socialists remain marginalised & critical analysis eliminated. The Guardian darlings George Monbiot; Owen Jones; Jonathon Freedland have sacrificed integrity to serve their political masters, refusing to support (or even mention) Julian Assange or Jeremy Corbyn. Even I was shocked when BBC Radio 4 ‘Any Questions’ rendered the attack on Journalism & Freedom of Speech invisible & not on this weekend’s agenda. I am often surprised @ how naive & trusting I still can be..

    1. “The Guardian darlings George Monbiot; Owen Jones; Jonathon Freedland have sacrificed integrity” not sure that they ever had any integrity – a bit like Starmer really.

  10. Just goes to show that the scummier the character, the more welcome they are within right-wing politics.

    1. Red or Blue they WIN every time, long live the Tooting Popular Front
      Just leaves Unite and GMB to fuck up

  11. David Walsh’s comment highlights my greatest fear, with Howard Becket standing as an independent left splitting the vote will be inevitable allowing a right winger in. As much as I like what Howard says, I think it a bad move to stand against the officially accepted left ticket. better to forego this time and stand again in the future, or set himself up to become a left wing Labour MP. We really can’t afford someone like Coyne stealing the vote by a divided left.

    1. A split in the left vote for the general secretary of UNITE can be resolved by the use of the alternative (absolute majority) vote as is used in a number of unions such as the UCU This may need a rule change.

      1. That would have seen a run off between McAnea and Holmes
        Paul you have the job, when can you start

  12. So another millionaire Lawyer from N Ireland with no shop floor experience hands the leadership to the scum coyne.?What a coincidence that the damage to the Labour party and the unions is down to the bottom feeders profession .?What a coincidence that just when the establishment are ready to bury the working-class in draconian new laws we have the working-class movments handed over to the wim of Lawyers…I wonder what Tony Blair thinks?

  13. Back in September, the Observer falsified a quote from Owen Jones:

    Owen Jones: ‘A lot of people in the Labour party are horrible.’ (bold headline).

    However, having looked through the actual article itself, I can find no such quote.
    Instead, I find this:

    “A lot of those people in the parliamentary Labour party—I’m just going to say it—are jumped-up thugs. Vicious, horrible people…”

    That is not the same thing, is it?

    This is not the only falsification. It twice uses the propaganda term ‘antisemitism cri

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