Analysis comment

Unite responds to ‘deeply misleading’ Sky smear

Sky hatchet-job looks like set-up for renewed smears by right-winger Gerard Coyne as he scrabbles for nominations

The Unite union has responded to a ‘deeply misleading’ attack piece televised by Sky News on Wednesday about the union’s new hotel and conference centre in Birmingham – and has refuted it thoroughly:

The Sky segment – which was reinforced by attacks from right-wing MPs to amplify it – showcased disgraced right-winger Gerard Coyne, the Labour First-backed would-be candidate hoping to be Unite’s general secretary. Coyne, whose 2017 attempt to replace Len McCluskey saw him admit data breaches as well as run a smear-packed campaign followed by repeated failed attempts to overturn the result by further smears that backfired on him, is reportedly looking set to fail to get enough nominations to qualify for the ballot.

In January, a Guardian article touted Coyne’s latest bid – yet neglected to mention any of the above facts about his first bid.

Skwawkbox view:

The Sky article was thin gruel that looked like little more than an attempt to showcase Coyne’s renewed smears as he tries desperately to scrape together nominations. Unite’s refutation has all the substance that the hatchet-job lacked.

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  1. Is it time for trade unions to split into separate organisations, with Democratic Socialist only new trade unions, as their executive and union reps, fighting austerity and job losses robustly?

    They could garner the same members, as they are the same name?

  2. No, it’s time for all Democratic Socialists to join a Trade Union, and use their democratic vote, to get the Union Leadership that Democratic Socialists should expect.

    Not wishy, washy social democrat cuckoos, who will only end up as nodding-dog placemen, doing the bidding of the likes of Blair and Mandelson.

    We’ve already seen what that leads to, in The Labour Party.

    Get up off your knees! Stop tugging your forelocks! Stop doffing your caps!

    Stop gawping, as the fine ladies and gentlemen promenade by, on their way to the House of Lords, or onto some television sofa to poke fun at the people they used to represent.


    1. Yes but which one would you suggest? One that fights for it’s members. One that fights racism, sexism. One that has nothing to do with this shower in parliament. Fights for Palestinians, Venezuelans etc. I’m up for it and have been since the demise of the T&G, which could always be relied upon to be unreliable. It’s like finding a new left candidate for Labour leader. There isn’t one. Awful isn’t it?

  3. Jon Trickett wrote an article for The Guardian, yesterday. A good article, well worth reading.

    Unlike the resident Guardian journalists, he ventured below the line and engaged with – some – commenters.

    Being The Guardian, I won’t post a link here, but it’s worth a visit, just for the article and for his engagement.

    Usual warning, where the Graun’s concerned, you can ignore the majority of the comments.

    1. Not that I visit the Guardian that often.
      Unusual these days for the paper to open up the comments section.
      Or is that option only reserved for articles from say the left of the party and other what the editor seems as ‘controversial’ pieces.

      1. Not sure, BoB. I agree, it is unusual, for the Graun. Perhaps, Trickett made it part of the deal.

        I, still go there for Bell, Rowson and Felicity Cloake. Perhaps one or two others.

  4. Can you imagine the response if you wrote to your members saying:
    ‘We are going to get into the hotel and conference business, a sector of which we have no knowledge and experience and which is dominated by billion dollar businesses with years of experience We expect to spend getting on for £100M of your money for a facility which should cost £10M but don’t worry because the cash is going into the pockets of lads who are mates of the ruling executive”?
    Nothing to see here.

    1. Plain,
      I dont agree. I think the hotel and leisure sector is a solid long to medium term investment. I say well done Comrade McCluskey, your end of year divided and share option is well deserved.
      I have heard Unite are keen to acquire an investment bank to add to the unions already impressive portfolio. This is as you know, an area of the financial markets I have some experience of. I will, pro bono, keep my ear to the ground. Should my search be successful I will be in contact. It goes without saying that after introductions have been made interlocutor fees and expenses kick in.
      Workers of the world Unite,
      In socialism,
      Fraternal greeting,
      Comrade MacKinnon

      1. Kind of you. Thanks, and that was pro bono. I can’t stand the sunglassed arsehole so Anti bono from Yorkshire..

  5. ITs time for Beckett to step aside and let the only one whos any shopfloor experience Steve Turner take his right full position.We don’t want a millionaire Lawyer from Belfast splitting the vote and allowing a right wing fascist to grab the union…I

  6. I don’t think a persons wealth has much to do with his ability to represent working people, Jeremy Corbyn for instance has a nett worth of £4 million Tony Benn was a millionaire. How many newspaper Founders/owners are not billionaires, I am looking at you Steve Walker. Only joking Steve.

    1. Harry Law you said ” I don’t think a person’s wealth has much to do with his ability to represent working people” I don’t entirely disagree with you, It very much depends on from were the wealth comes from.
      In the case of Tony Benn he inherited that wealth from his family that were aristocrats, in the case of Corbyn I guess his wealth comes from house prices in London and inheritance money too.
      Were does the wealth of Beckett comes from? I don’t believe it is inherited wealth so the question is how many paralegals, admins ordinary workers has he exploited to get wealthy.
      Were Beckett Trade Unionism comes from? We know were Steve Turner comes from, from the shop floor and Turner been instrumental in the anti-austerity movement even before Corbyn was elected leader of the Labour Party.
      Turner want the United left hustings, Beckett should keep his word and stand aside.

    2. Harry law….ITs the lawyer I worry about especially one that uses money to keep his personal background private.,and had a lapse of judgement in the miners compensation fund that he was fined for along with the parasite legal profession.

  7. More right-wing lies designed to help a disgraced right-wing candidate get the top job in Unite union.

    Nothing here apart from the usual innuendo, lies and deceptions wrapped up into a total BS news article by Sky News and this sort of BS is called news these days.

    But what do you expect from Murdoch right-wing news certainly never the truth?

    1. You have got to be the worlds most brazen apologist ‘disabled’. Somewhere north of £80M of members money has gone the ‘misspent or lost’ route and you call that innuendo? You are a bit like the Chinese government describing concentration camps as ‘education centres’. 1930’s Germany – we would have known which side you were on!

  8. Well we’ve had an ‘auditors valuation’ I wonder what valuation a commercial property estate agent would put on the property.

  9. My instinct would normally be to give Gerard Coyne the benefit of the doubt. But now, after seeing how shameless and dirty the centrist capitalism-loving entryists in Labour, ‘the labour right’, can be, put me at the head of the line to condemn Coyne for giving SKY the ammunition to mount their dreadful and scurrilous attack on Unite, a product of our people trying to organise themselves against the system that exploits and harms them.

      1. This packeaged ‘the left’ again.

        I don’t think “they” are. We need a proper opponent to beat and, truly, Coyne woud hardly be a worthy or serious competitor for any of the other’s to beat

      2. qwertboi – Are you saying that following the scare he got last time Len rigging future ballot papers to try and stop Coyne challenging him (or his chosen one) again was an acceptable solution.

    1. qwertboi – So much for democracy.
      Putin also assures that he remains in power by manipulating who the Russian electorate can vote for.

  10. You don’t see it do you Steveh. Post banking crisis and the wildly inaccurate (sic) covid narrative fom the neoliberal establishment, the labour right has nothing that the tories wouldn’t do better and the electorate mostly know that, as we’ll all attest on 6 May.

  11. The only question that remains unanswered on here is how much debt is there in the financing
    A separate point was made about buying a bank, thats a No because we the people will shortly own the banks
    It was a good question why does the left not own a bank, its a no brainer

    1. Doug – It would be interesting to see if a Commercial Property Estate Agent agrees with the ‘auditor’ that the property is worth £100,000,000 on the open market.

      1. SteveH
        If there is no question of corruption, whats your point
        What i forgot to say is the Socialist Bank would value the property, then buy and lease back
        Keep it in the family

      2. Doug – Which would require the bank to exercise due diligence and get commercial valuations. Until we see a proper commercial valuation we won’t know whether things are ok or we need to be looking at whether the overspend was due to corruption or incompetence.

      3. One of the myriad reasons for the government to impose (inapprpriate) lockdowns and extended economic curfew is to protect the property market, especially commercial property in city centres, from over-heating. I suspect the valuation will be much lower than it would have been without the covid scamdemic, et another of capitalism’s many and intensifying crises..

    2. Doug,
      You never said a truer word. Why not? Unite Investment Bank PLC. That has a ring to it.
      Unite should get into capitalism, and be serious about it. Play them at their own game. Dont mock it. Get on board and drive the train.
      I think there lies another opportunity out there. The Fina Art market. There is a lot of money in that game. The mega rich (Middle east, Russia/China) they are happy to pay big $ for all that late 18th early 19th century European crap. Post-Impressionism, Art Nouveau, Symbolism, I mean, nobody knows what they’re talking about, but you get a good pitcher, and the mark up on that stuff is like, two lines and a Viagra.
      Now is not the time to be banking members subs. Interest rates are 0% . Now is the time to accumulate.
      I dont want to give too much away here but there is another market worthy of pursuit. Semi precious metals. (associated with battery technology). Unite wants to get into this market asafp. Unite needs a heavy weight expert and of course a new general secretary with the ‘vision’ to see the future going forward.
      There you are, I gave it away.

      1. RM
        500,000 members 14 million supporters, councils, unions, social landlords, schools, nationalised industries and on and on
        That’s one hell of a customer base and its also the main reason we left the EU to put neo liberalism out of business
        If we all use the conference centre and invest in other assets we all use, jobs a goodun
        Money velocity, every Socialist pound would be worth £27 in the Socialist economy
        We actually have the best economists in our movement
        It comes back to discipline, coordination and utter ruthlessness to get it done

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