The last two big elections teach a clear lesson: come between the grassroots and their candidate and lose

Labour leadership election and Unison election both show the grassroots are no longer prepared to be told which ‘left’ candidate they can vote for

The Labour and Unison leadership elections carry a sobering message for the ‘machine left’

The last two big elections for the left – the Labour party leadership and Unison general secretary elections carry a sombre warning for any left hierarchies that assume they can railroad the left grassroots into supporting whichever candidate it suits the ‘machine’ to put forward.

In early 2020, despite warnings from Skwawkbox and others that she couldn’t inspire the movement and a massive outcry from the grassroots, Rebecca Long-Bailey was the only left candidate on offer – and pressure was put on on others that the working-class left could more easily have swung behind.

In early 2021, the same hierarchies decided that Roger McKenzie was their preferred candidate – in spite of an obvious grassroots groundswell for Paul Holmes and warnings, again, from Skwawkbox and others that it could only backfire.

The disaster that is now the Labour party is at least in part the legacy of that misplaced assumption that imposing a candidate would force the left grassroots to toe the line because Long-Bailey wasn’t as bad as Starmer. In the absence of a candidate that inspired them and their trust, much of the left simply didn’t vote – and Keir Starmer’s catastrophe resulted.

In the Unison election, much of the same ‘machine’ backed McKenzie. Popular grassroots candidate Paul Holmes won by far the biggest share of the left vote, but not enough to beat right-winger Christine McAnea.

And now, the Starmer-friendly Establishment, the ‘accommodating’ left and a cadre of ‘fixers’ are coordinating their efforts to prevent the grassroots left having Howard Beckett on the ballot to vote for – some in the hope of keeping Gerard Coyne out, but there are also widespread rumours of help for Coyne to obtain nominations, purely in an attempt to create a situation that would allow Beckett to be forced out.

One Labour activist expressed perfectly what the parts of the left hoping to exclude Beckett are missing:

If they stand Howard down… Len will be accused of a stitch up and the left will be seen as a joke.

Left members won’t bother to vote as they will feel let down and made to do as they are told when they have worked hard on their campaigns and hopes. There comes a time when leaders have to respect the power and ability to think & chose of the members – they have to have confidence in the members.

People will rebel at a stitch up and Coyne will be in 7th heaven.

Warnings from sources in tune with the grassroots were ignored and the result was disaster. It’s time for the lesson to be learned.

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  1. EXACTLY ‼️ And, fail to learn from history? Then prepare to fail again.

    “Craig Murray, HISTORIAN, former ambassador, human rights activist, has produced a stunning account of the revelations in the leaked Labour Party report and of their significance.

    “Murray draws TWO immediate CONCLUSIONS, viz:

    ✅ *Corbyn failed to be sufficiently ruthless in clearing out the quite extraordinarily right wing Blairites that he had inherited as Labour Party HQ staff; and

    ✅ *Corbyn’s tactic of constantly attempting to appease the media on antisemitism was never going to work…” .”

    ✅➕✅ =


  2. And Craig Murray like many on the sensible left is a Remainer! But leaving that aside, what has become clear to many, is that Labour now only has a small ‘grass roots’ otherwise those such as Chris Williamson who truly represents the grass roots would have done much better in the elections. Those who voted Labour in the past through tradition rather than conviction are now more likely to be swing voters rather than grass roots Labour and therefore are more susceptible to being influenced by liars such as Bozo and his acolytes.

    1. Sensible left…

      That alone points out there is nothing sensible about it. No different than NIMBYs.

      Did you ever stop to think of geopolitics? With us now out of Europe, there is a good chance the EU will pivot to Asia, hastening the demise of America. That America is currently siding with the EU shows they know where they have to keep control. America is agreement incapable and only does things for its own good

      Sure, it involves pain for us. But as Perfidious Albion, we deserve it. We’ve certainly made plenty of other suffer in the past.

      Will it happen? Who knows. But considering that America, like us, makes money from literally nothing whilst Germany (like China) has a solid grounding of making things to make money.

      It all depends on the path the EU chooses. If they maintain the status quo of chasing Russia’s resources and keeping China down as the West currently has then maybe leaving was right after all? And if the EU decides trade is more important than imperialism and leaves the American style capitalism behind? Then leaving was also the correct choice as it would never happen with us still involved.

      Let’s see what happens when de-dollarisation really begins to kick in. Dunno about your but my fingers are crossed that we don’t go to war, it’s very likely due to the above.

      1. There is more chance of hell freezing over than the EU pivoting to Asia. The EU is totally committed to NATO and eastern expansion which won’t stop untill nazi Ukraine is given membership. They are tied to America come what may.

    2. The trouble is, once those voters are lost to Labour, they are very difficult to get back, as Scotland has clearly shown to all but the stupid arrogant Right in the LP. They have that live (or perhaps that should be dead!) example to learn from but what do they do, double down on the stupidity. I think the LP will be lucky to survive this latest display of idiocy from them.

      1. john thatcher you and John T in my view are spot on re once voters try voting in a new way, winning them back is an uphill battle.

        However i disagree totally č Jack T and anyone else insulting the electorate because of exercising their choice as they feel fit. It would be perverse for them to respect anyone who fails to respect them.

        john thatcher, i believe what you call “stupid” “stupidity” “idiocy from them” the Right Wing parasitic Tory understudies, is deliberate.

        Many believe those they call the “Right Wing” are stupid” because despite history and our catastrophic failure to learn from it, people STILL believe the Tory understudies share our interests. That’s why people say things like “convert them”, or seem to sit at their kitchen tables trying to work out what Rodney, Evans & co should do to turn around their dismal performance…. as if success for Starmer & co is success for Labour. As if we share the same aims eg just because Rodney Starmer made promises.


      2. 40 years of reading Murdoch’s S*n and News of the World takes its toll. Many people of my age support the monarchy, the army, are inherently racist and dislike Megan Markle and BLM and believe Corbyn was a traitor who loved the IRA and terrorists. However, all of them believe in the NHS, hate the marketisation that’s taken place, believe in council housing and only think they should be sold if replaced like for like. They believe education should be free and utilities should be state owned. So, the problem is cultural not political. What we need to counter is 40 years of propaganda….we don’t have to politicise them, they were brought up left wing.

    3. Jack T, Remain or Leave is open to dispute. The enduring plight of failing to learn from history is not.

    4. JackT
      Nice try
      Take the piss out of the democratic process and you lose, believe in nothing and you lose, offer an ersatz version of your enemy and you lose, stand shoulder to shoulder with your enemy on Independence and Brexit and you lose
      I voted Labour Leave and Covid19 has proved me right, neo liberal EU are same pigs with same snouts in the same trough

      1. Doug, what’s taking the piss out of democracy was trying to say that a confirmatory vote was not democratic!

        As for Covid proving you right over Brexit, you can convolute any situation you like to try and prove your point but one of the reasons Johnson came to power is a split in the left over Brexit. If that hadn’t happened it was likely that Corby would have become PM and tens of thousands wouldn’t have died.

  3. I hope that Coyne doesn’t get in the ballot paper at all. If Coyne does get the necessary 172 nominations, egos has to be put aside and for only one left candidate to stand against him.
    A fair way to decide who should stand could be to have an online ballot for all Unite members opened for 72 hours and see which one out of Beckett, Graham and Turner get most of the votes.
    Alternatively, to take into consideration no only the number of nominations but their weight too.
    I don’t support Beckett, but I rather have Beckett standing alone against Coyne and win, than risking splitting the left vote and for Coyne to become the next Unite General Secretary.
    I rather give Beckett a chance to deliver on his ambitious manifesto for the next four years. If Backett disappoints (I believe he will) Then either or both Graham and Turner could stand against him in four years time.
    If Beckett delivers them great, what isn’t to like.
    The priority right now is to stop Coyne..

    1. Do you mean Beckett is a fraud Maria, or do you mean he will not succeed in his efforts to take on the establishment, because they are two entirely different things. To fail through not trying to fight back would surely be the worst outcome of all.

      1. John Thatcher, I believe that Beckett will not succeed in his efforts to take on the establishment. It wold not be the worst outcome, but it wouldn’t be the best either that we can hope for.
        As St Bernard said on the 12thC it is easier to catch flies with honey than with vinegar. Beckett to me represent vinegar while Turner represent honey.
        But I rather give Beckett a try, that allow Coyne to win. However, I believe that the candidate with both more nominations and more weight is Steve Turner. Hence, Beckett should do the decent thing and stand aside. Turner won the nomination of the Unite left caucus too.

  4. Maria – Coyne has already made it onto the ballot paper, so that battle is lost.
    Steve Turner is way out in front and Howard Beckett is currently third with no realistic prospect of overtaking Steve Turner.

    Steve Turner is out in front with more than 420 nominations,
    Sharon Graham is next with almost 300,
    Howard Beckett is so far third with around 270
    Gerard Coyne has surpassed the obligatory 174 with 180.

    At the time these figures were published yesterday there are thought to be around 75 results outstanding, noon today is the deadline..

    It looks like the grassroots have already made their choice and it is Steve Turner

    1. Steve H, this is great news. For a moment the publicity in favour of Beckett let me to believe that Steve Turner have less nominations that Beckett.
      I hope that Beckett’s supporters realise that this game is over and insisting and encouraging Beckett to stand would result in Coyne winning the position of General Secretary.
      I wonder how many of the Beckett’s supporters commenting here are members of Unite?

      1. I agree, from the left’s perspective splitting their vote would be lunacy.

      2. Maria…Steve Turner will be the next general secretary of the unite union and he deserves it.Beckett will hopefully remain in the forefront of a concerted effort to rid the right wing from the Labour party and hopefully be part of the Labour party,if not there are many options available to a talented activist within the Labour ranks.Parliament awaits Beckett and the Labour party desperately need some Irish backbone and rage to clearout the right wing destroyers.

  5. Beckett is the socialist candidate, Turner though a decent working class bloke is a bit soft left and perhaps a bit malleable? Graham worries me with the focus on the workplace only so despite all political policies impacting on members lives with her perhaps once you clock off your on your own? But no workplace is an island! And of course Right Wing Coyne would be a disaster. Beckett should stand whatever and as a socialist he has my vote.

  6. Bazza, Steve Turner is not malleable at all. He is solid left for 40 years, he has walk the line and stay on the line. What make you think that Turner is malleable, that he doesn’t give the fiery speeches of Beckett?
    Turner has been instrumental in pushing forward that austerity is no a necessity but rather a political choice. The same with securing the furlong scheme that has helped thousand of workers through this pandemic. Turner has a well developed programme for building back better.
    Do you believe the Communist Party will back Tuner if he wasn’t a through and through socialist?
    With Turner standing alone against Coyne, Coyne will lose for sure. With Beckett standing alone against Coyne it would be a closer affair.
    I am prepared to vote for Beckett should he be the only one standing against Coyne but, I fear others supporting Graham or Turner would not consider voting for Beckett at all and Coyne could win by default.

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