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. 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

  5. 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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