Analysis comment

Facebook metrics suggest Beckett streets ahead as left’s Unite candidate on member engagement

Lessons must be learned from Unison fiasco

The likely candidates in the battle to become general secretary of Unite when incumbent Len McCluskey retires all have Facebook pages. At the moment, there are four prospects – including one disgraced right-winger coming back for another try after failing in 2017.

The other three candidates at the moment are Howard Beckett, Steve Turner and Sharon Graham – but the mix risks potential disaster for the union and the Labour movement.

In the recent Unison general secretary election, SKWAWKBOX urged members to support Paul Holmes, the grassroots working-class candidate who was clearly the candidate with the greatest engagement with members of the union’s ‘rank and file’ – and said that the candidacy of Roger McKenzie would split the left vote and allow right-winger Christine McAnea to maintain the right’s stranglehold on the giant union.

Sadly, the prediction was correct – the insistence of McKenzie and ‘spoiler candidate’ Hugo Pierre split the vote and allowed McAnea to win – and she started her career as general secretary with a shameful attack on left unions in the hostile media. Had a single – and the strongest – left candidate stood, the political landscape of the Labour movement and the whole UK would look very different today:

And now Unite, the biggest union in the UK and Ireland, faces a similar threat. Gerard Coyne, the right-winger who ran a dirty campaign of smears and data breaches in 2017, stands to profit if the left does not unite around one candidate – and it appears there is only one stand-out prospect: Howard Beckett.

An examination of the extent to which union members and the Labour movement engage with his social media output shows that he is streets ahead of anything offered by others – including the dire Coyne. While Coyne’s page has narrowly the most followers – likely a legacy of his 2017 fiasco – Beckett’s stands out a mile on both the total number of people engaging with his output and the performance of each individual post:

Beckett’s page has published 70% more posts than his main rival Steve Turner – but has seen 614% more engagement. Each Beckett post achieves almost nine times more engagement than the next-strongest candidate. Similar metrics appear to apply on Twitter, but more will follow on that topic.

Beckett also stands out for as a ‘signpost not a weather-vane’. Where others have moved to accommodate the Labour right or been silent on many aspects of the government’s failings, Beckett has taken on the Establishment fearlessly: both the Tories for their actions and inaction – and Labour’s current right-wing leadership for its abuse of members and failure to oppose.

The lesson from the Unison debacle is clear: the left needs one candidate in the Unite election – and it has to be the best candidate, the one most people feel they can engage with, identify with and get behind.

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  1. – “Lessons must be learned from Unison fiasco”

    Lessons must be learnt fullstop🔴

    1. No one who argues against learning and trying something different can be taken seriously. We have overwhelming evidence of what failed. It appears what failed, has failed historically, judging from reading including here on Those who have been involved since before i was born have stated that the “broad church” has ALWAYS been one way.
      There is zero evidence to contradict them.

      If ALWAYS ahead of the curve ask that we rally around Beckett, then i support that fully. It is pointless to split the “Left” vote🔴

      It is pointless to repeat errors. New suggestions MAY fail, but old errors have already failed🔴

      LOGIC – Try something new🔴

    2. Correction – of course 💐💐💐

  2. In Unite’s 2017 leadership election McCluskey won with 59,067 votes (45.4%), Coyne got 53,544 (41.5%) and grassroots candidate Ian Allinson took 17,143 (13.1%), on a turnout of just over 12%.
    McCluskey’s vote dropped to less than ½ of what he achieved in 2013 when the turnout was nearly a whole 15%.

  3. If Beckett supported then that’s good enough for me✅ was the ONLY “Left” media that answered my plea for help to fight against wrong doings by the Right in my CLP. The others did mot even reply for a request to publicise wrongdoing. Needless to say i no longer even read them ie Canary etc.

    I believe in action. Beckett reaching out to help shows action. We should see what he does next. But the practical urgency is not to split the vote. Practical, Basic. Also, if there were concerns about Beckett they should have been highlighted in good time in a sustained way before. Not at the last minute. That to me is part of the culture of hoping a problem will disappear then it’s too late.

    Starmer has already been chopped. You read it here first. Where are our selection of candidates to replace him??? Head down hiding??? How would head-downers take on the status quo??? They may with a miracle get elected, but as the past shows, that is far from enough. The “Left” must own and normalise our ideas and vision REPEATEDLY…. which reminds me, funny how a certain disgusting bunch of frauds criticise long posts and repetition, yet do nothing but repeat in long cut and paste posts. Curious that. No???

    And what sort of outfit believes that decades of defeats suffered by the “Left” can be reversed with short squirts of wet pap❓❓❓

    Grown ups should grow up. Grown ups should have grown up decades ago rather than furiously rage that Socialist should dumb down. We are not children. Transformation takes thought. Miracles are not enough. A miracle happened. We now KNOW it was not enough.

  4. Joseph – You are right, it is difficult not to conclude that the person who is determined to split the left vote because of personal ambition and hubris is part of the problem rather than the solution.

  5. Who will call who stands,
    Unison lesson was also form of voting

    1. Doug – I suppose that will depend who the various branches nominate. It is worth noting that Len raised the bar on entry by a considerable margin to protect his own position from being challenged. I wonder if he’ll come to regret that move if his chosen one doesn’t make it onto the ballot paper.

      1. Right
        So the selection process is ongoing, let’s see whats occurring, at end of day we need folk to take one for the team

  6. Joseph, then promote Steve Turner day in day out. Provide convincing info so people can decide firmly to choose one person. I can only go go on’s recommendation. I can trust because Steve offered help at an extremely busy time for him. Action not virtuous idealistic wind like Canary, Guardian (which i did not approach) but others u know. They lacked even the care to reply. Steve at did. Practical help.

    In fact when i made a certain error because of multitasking and rushing, i informed Steve. He again promptly offered to contact him if i needed help to sort it. We need that spirit. THAT is being comradely in a worthwhile way. That’s why as jpenney mentioned that Beckett put his money where his mouth is, he went up in my estimation. To me that shows someone willing to act in a tangible way. If went under, then where oh where will we communicate? On Twitface, Guardian, Canary, where. offers a tremendous opportunity to communicate widely without being seduced in down the drain pipe of social media where i hear people home to transform the world with titbits. That failed with Sanders and Jeremy. It does not allow or promote incisive analyses.

    Even worse it encourages a short attention span. It rounds up even knowledgeable people to remain superficial. If someone says Jeremy failed in X Y or Z it can be easily construed as not having supported Jeremy. That is akin to saying if you point out that someone’s boat has a leak that needs repair, you dislike the boat owner. That culture is pathetic… infantile… Who lives in a boat like that ??? a Con div? a Can’t, a maven??? Who lives in a boat like that yet tries to make others believe that they are the bees knees at everything? Does the boat owner also have “a famed headlock from which no one has ever escaped❓❓❓

    1. That’s good use of Unite’s money SH. It helped defend and preserve the excellent of which you make full use.

      Aren’t u grateful SH❓ Or are u just a little ungrateful little SH❓❓❓

    2. I believe u r honest Joseph. But it would be as at interview stage Turner has ticked a no box. Appeasement. Beckett may not be perfect as u say, but in my book appeasement is a definite no.

      I am glad for your views though as it adds to the mental dossier. The more info the better. And the sooner the better 🌹🌹🌹

  7. It’s not ‘Facebook prefers’. It’s *people* prefer. Better a solicitor with fight than a bus driver not fighting. I like Steve T, but he’s sought accommodation with the man trying to destroy the Labour party

  8. Again (and very tired of having to debunk this bollocks), there was no ‘dirty washing re miners fund deductions’. Do some reading

    1. Happy to be corrected if I’m mistaken on that point. I’ll read up on it.

  9. Joseph, i trust u have seen SW’s post. I cannot support anyone who believes in or say they will accommodate the Right who demonstrably NEVER accommodate the “Left”. We must break that cycle. It shows a lack of conviction. That is what we need. Think of it as making a shortlist. Turner is off mine because he is setting out on the UNFORCED appeasement route which has brought us the grief we suffer now. Eg Jeremy sacrificed his integrity and long held beliefs to appease the Right wing saboteurs by publicly abandoning his historical EU skeptic stance as held by his hero / mentor Tony Benn.

    Appeasement never works. Ask Chamberlin. What’s more it signals to the ruthless Right Rats that you are there ready to be humiliated AGAIN. I am mystified as to why Turner got this far IF his promise of repeating the failed appeasement error was known. 🟣🟣🟣

  10. Both myself & hubby are members of Unite & from what we’ve seen & heard, we like Beckett, so our vote will be going to him.

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