comment

‘Left’ writer mauled on social media after insulting unemployed and saying racism etc not ‘workplace organisation’ issue to attack Beckett

Robert Maisey backtracks after furious reaction to Twitter comment

Union rep and ‘occasional contributor’ to Jacobin and Tribune, Robert Maisey decided to attack Howard Beckett – and sparked a furious reaction to his snide comments about the left’s favourite in the Unite leadership contest.

Maisey tweeted a table first published in a Skwawkbox analysis of the social media comments of the four candidates in the Unite general secretary election – but thought it was a good idea to say that issues such as women’s rights, Islamophobia, the Black Lives Matter movement and NHS privatisation have nothing to do with ‘organising in the workplace’:

Maisey compounded his error by adding what many understandably saw as an attack on unemployed people:

The response was swift and withering, with what is shown below just a small selection. Some took issue politely and pointed out Maisey’s false assumption that none of the issues listed were relevant to workplace organisation:

Some pointed out that the items on the list don’t mean others aren’t important – and certainly don’t mean that Beckett is not engaged with them:

Others were slightly less polite:

But Maisey’s disrespect for unemployed people – particularly in a union that has a thriving and committed ‘Community’ section for people not in paid work – triggered perhaps the most furious reaction:

Such was the backlash that, around two and a half hours later, Maisey posted a tweet backtracking – and acknowledging that his earlier tweet could be read as many had:

Many weren’t convinced – and some pointed out how Beckett, the target of Maisey’s attack, had inspired them to join a union:

At the time of writing, Mr Maisey had not deleted any of his tweets that had caused such offence.

The SKWAWKBOX needs your help. The site is provided free of charge but depends on the support of its readers to be viable. If you can afford to without hardship, please click here to arrange a one-off or modest monthly donation via PayPal or here to set up a monthly donation via GoCardless (SKWAWKBOX will contact you to confirm the GoCardless amount). Thanks for your solidarity so SKWAWKBOX can keep bringing you information the Establishment would prefer you not to know about.

If you wish to republish this post for non-commercial use, you are welcome to do so โ€“ see here for more.

43 comments

  1. When they have to resort to lies, they must be worried. To those who think Turner is the man for these times, I would remind you how foolish it is to keep on doing the same thing and expecting a different result. Turner is status quo and just where has that got the Left?

    1. John – Don’t be daft McCluskey is the status-quo and has been for 10 years. Beckett is just a continuation of the same.
      Maybe the fact that Beckett only managed to get two thirds of the nominations that Turner got is an indication that Unite members really do want a change from the last 10 years.

      1. Not true, it’s like having Nye Bevan or Ernest Bevin, the 1st a beacon of socialism and oration to match much like Beckett, the other not as far to the left and capable of capitulation against his better judgement like McCluskey.

      2. steve hilling, spot on. crucially “capitulation against his better judgement like McCluskey”
        What else will Turner capitulate on, give up, etc??? Turner seems like the final nail in our coffin. Predictable and predicted now!!!
        Turner sounds like a damp limp disaster waiting to burst and drown us. ๐Ÿ“’๐ŸŸก๐Ÿ“’๐ŸŸก๐Ÿ“’๐ŸŸก

      3. Have Unite union members been given short shrift for that last 10 years then? And is the union a vehicle for the leader’s views alone? How do you know Beckett is a continuation of McCluskey? Can you pride some proof for your strange assertions?

      4. “Maybe the fact that Beckett only managed to get two thirds of the nominations that Turner got is an indication that Unite members really do want a change from the last 10 years.”

        What kind of change are you talking about? Less political and more wage negotiator?……..passing off things like women’s rights and racism as virtue signalling?
        Given union members are also humans it’s safe to say a good number of them are also Tories who don’t go much on political inclusion. You appear to be saying that Turner is one of those people, along with yourself and your leader of course.

      5. “…Maybe the fact that Beckett …”, or maybe not. Who knows? Let’s wait and see.

      6. McCluskey is the status-quo and has been for 10 years.”

        I suspect your motive for saying that steveh. In 2017 Len McCluskey won with 57,067 votes, but Coyne got 53,544 votes and was an uncomfortably close second place.

        Point is, Len had won more than 10 times the branch nominations than his his right wing rival. However, the General Secretaryship is contested under First Past the Post , and the left vote can easily be split three ways, thereby letting the Establisment interests of Coyne and the Labour right take an easy stroll to victory. This has happened many times before in many trade union elections. It MUST not happen this time, but probably will.

      7. That was a quote from SteveH. A silly or aimed at distraction as usual, not my view goldbach.

    2. john thatcher – ” how foolish it is to keep on doing the same thing and expecting a different result.”

      Answer: Extremely foolish.

      What’s more “foolish” is; the people “expecting a different result” are most definitely NOT fools. They are knowledgable, very experienced, well read and i believe sincere. However, sincerity without conviction and courage is worthless. Plus the repeated failures to change demeans us in the eyes of the public. It helps to maintain the myth that the public do not want Socialism. Wales this year, GE2017 and 2019 proves that those are not true. If the myths were not myths, then Swinson would be PM with Berger, Soubrey, Ummuna, Elman, Watson, Austin etc ALL with unassailable majorities as MPs.

      Unless we stop “doing the same thing”, we are stuck. Sadly, “the many” pay the heaviest price of being eaten by the “flies” some wish to continue “catching with honey”, feeding them even more “honey” and setting them free to erode the wellbeing of all of us.
      โ™ป๏ธ๐Ÿฅ€โ™ป๏ธ๐Ÿฅ€โ™ป๏ธ๐Ÿฅ€

    3. Steve, there is no way it can be better for Unite’s members to be led by a some who is bland, passionless and vague on the 15 issues listed in the graph, all of which are just as important to workers as wages, benefits and conditions- and it goes without saying it can never serve the greater good of the membership to have a leader who defers to Starmer and reduces everything to “it’s enough to just elect something that CALLS ITSELF ‘a Labour Government'”. Starmer is clearly the only candidate who actually has enthusiatic support from anyone.

      A Unite candidate who does nothing but work politely behind the scenes can’t achieve anything that matters. Turner is mundanely qualified for the job, but nobody will even know he’s there if he wins. A leader who doesn’t speak out publicly and passionate is a leader that will be doomed to failure.

      1. Could not put it better kenburch. Polite BEHIND the scenes has been tried and failed. Dump that!!! We need leaders who realise that it is VITAL to speak out publicly to the GENERAL public. We are the insurgents. It is the duty of out leaders to be speaking audibly with the robustness our aims deserve.
        ๐Ÿงฒ๐ŸŒน๐Ÿงฒ๐ŸŒน๐Ÿงฒ๐ŸŒน

      2. Kenburch, the important thing is to win. From behind the scene Turner made possible the election of Corbyn as leader of the Labour Party.
        Turner’s work as the Chair of the People’s Assembly against Austerity educated many in the reality that austerity is a choice rather than a necessity, without this level of awareness, Corbyn wouldn’t have stand a chance at winning in 2015.
        Hence, I disagree with you working quietly behind the scenes can achieve a lot, no that you will heard about it. Have you heard about the victory of electricity workers after 15 weeks battle against Balfour Beatty and others?
        Watch the link below and later dare to tell me that all that matters is rousing speeches.

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rPxiiQ9zuXc&t=3s

        By the way, Kenburch are you a member of Unite or any other trade Union by any chance? Because I could be mistaken but, you don’t sound like one that joins on the picket lines.

    4. When they resort to lies?!?! When was the last time you heard the truth from anyone in power or position?

      In my experience the lying is continuous. The only difference nowadays is the lies are getting more and more preposterous, more blatant and more desperate (something you hit upon yourself).

      The sad thing is many will lap them up, as they always do.

      Question everything. It’s the one thing we are all taught not to do. Why are they attacking the candidate in third place? Is it to rescue Coyne, or because they secretly want Turner to win? Or is simply the Corbyn threat/effect?

  2. Yet another gobshite who thinks starting a comment/sentence with the word ‘So**’s some sort of sophistication, with airs of authority.

    It isn’t. It makes people look twattish.

    …And then he went on to spout that shite. Which proved he’s a twat beyond doubt.

    ** If I had my way, the only sentence that people began with ‘So’ would be a ten-year one. That’ll teach the knobheads.

    1. Whilst not given to the language used, I am in agreement that anyone who starts a sentence with “so” is, in all but exceptional circumstances, in need of a little more education.

      1. It’s generally used by inadequate people who want to sound authoritative, like a school teacher trying to get the attention of the class. “Stop your chattering, children, and listen to ME!”

        As Toffee says, knobheads.

  3. Gratuitous attacks on Beckett are wrong, but it doesn’t justify the attacks on Turner here. To describe Beckett as the “left favourite” is inaccurate.
    How it comes that Turner has almost 200 more nominations that Beckett? Or are you now tarnishing Unite members? What are we: stupid? simpletons? right wingers? Because based on the numbers and weight Beckett is the one with the less support among the left candidates.
    By all means support Beckett as much as you like, but not by painting Beckett as the “true left” and Turner as a right winger. You can carry on believing that Beckett can win the position of GS, but on the number of nominations and the weight of his nominations he isn’t going to.
    So unless you want Gerard Coyne to become Unite next General Secretary, Beckett needs to stand down. Due what he promised to do when he lost the Unite left hustings and support Turner. for General Secretary of Unite.
    As for Turner being “establishment”, really? Perhaps some of you only got engage in politics post 2015 or even later. Those of us that have been around the block for far longer, haven’t see Beckett on the picket lines, we have see plenty of Turner..
    As for carry on doing the same thing? Well carry on filing three left candidates and we know what happened at Unison, don’t we? Please tell me, who is carrying on doing the same thing, expecting a different result? It looks like Beckett’s supporters to me.
    Please do us all a favour (including yourselves) and allow Beckett to stand down with his dignity intact. He gave it a good fight but, it is time to recognise that carrying on standing, he is enabling Gerald Coyne to win and become Unite next General Secretary by taking votes from the factual favourite left candidate: Steve Turner.

    1. Maria: There is no good reason for Turner saying nothing on all those issues- how can you think he will fight for anything remotely like a socialist vision if he is presenting himself as silent, and therefore passionless, on all those issues?

      It can’t be Left to reduce your brief as general secretary to NOTHING but wages and working conditions while keeping silent on everything else?

      Other than yourself, why would any socialist cheer the election of Turner when he would have to be seen as a huge swing to the right and when Keir would celebrate his election?

      Bland, non-outspoken union leaders never accomplish anything for their members.

      1. “Bland, non-outspoken union leaders never accomplish anything for their members.” Which is precisely why governments support them and they temper their politics to suit government. It’s a cosy club but it doesn’t have to be like that.

      2. ๐Ÿ†๐ŸŒน๐Ÿ†๐ŸŒน๐Ÿ†๐ŸŒน

      3. Kenburch, Turner concentrated supporting workers engaged in industrial action, rather than promising things that cannot be delivered. The GS of Unite would be bound to the will of its Executive Committee.
        Beckett as the new kid on the block appeared to believe that the 1 million + Unite members are all radical left. The true is the majority are not and Unite Executive Committee will reflect the membership: the majority of Unite members are left but no as radical left as Beckett.
        As to “bland, non-outspoken union leaders never accomplish anything for their members” simply it isn’t true. They achieve better terms and conditions of employment, standing by their members against racial or sexual discrimination.
        I am sure you haven’t heard about the 15 weeks dispute from electricians at Balfour Beatty and other big contractors but after 15 weeks industrial action they won. This is the kind of silence that you deride as not achieving anything. Say that to the hundreds of electricians that stood up and won.
        Where was Howard Beckett? giving rousing speeches. Has he ever mentioned the Sparks action in his rousing speeches? No that I have hear. Isn’t our safety important? No to Beckett since he never commented on this action or support it. Isn’t saving hundreds of high value jobs important? Perhaps no to Beckett since he never talked about it..
        Where was Stever Turner supporting the workers, without calling attention to himself but supporting them all the way. This is why Turner won the most industrial branch nominations and Beckett the less.
        Watch the video below and take and opportunity to learn

      4. You exceed yourself Maria. ” Gratuitous attacks” indeed.
        “Where was Howard Beckett? giving rousing speeches. Has he ever mentioned the Sparks action in his rousing speeches? ”
        I’m certain all contenders have acted in support of the membership when called upon. Why bring up this one instance as if it reflects badly on Beckett? Turner appears to have had it covered. Beckett has his own battles and success stories like this one: https://www-birminghammail-co-uk.cdn.ampproject.org/v/s/www.birminghammail.co.uk/news/midlands-news/after-humiliating-birmingham-council-bin-20391091.amp?amp_js_v=a6&amp_gsa=1&usqp=mq331AQHKAFQArABIA%3D%3D#aoh=16234230843552&referrer=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.google.com&amp_tf=From%20%251%24s&ampshare=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.birminghammail.co.uk%2Fnews%2Fmidlands-news%2Fafter-humiliating-birmingham-council-bin-20391091

    2. I think the times we live in demand a campaigning articulate Gen Sec Maria. As I said the other day, Turner would be a safe pair of hands, in safer times. However, these are not safe times are they, and we need a different approach. Turner is not on the Right, but he is Labour establishment soft left, and like McCluskey will support bad “unity” positions at critical times, like with Labour MPs needing to face an automatic reselection vote. Not getting that through was a bloody disaster, all done in the name of unity, we can’t afford any more of that. I will go so far as to say, if automatic reselection isn’t won at the next conference it is all over for the Left in the LP, and that is before we see what skulduggery the Right get up to.

      1. Thank you john thatcher for your brilliant post above. Battered wives, husbands and partners enable the behaviour of the brutes. Despite all overwhelming evidence, they do as McCluskey did eg automatic re selection. I heard him say, i’m urging people to keep calm. We can sort this out. “unify” etc etc etc. McCluskey and John McDonnell repeated those limp words ON the MSM after the Whip was withdrawn from Jeremy.

        We must dump the grossly irresponsible and ridiculous hope “to catch flies with honey”.

        The obvious questions are: 1๏ธโƒฃ How many flies were caught in the last five yearsโ”
        2๏ธโƒฃ In over one hundred years of the Labour party, how many flies have the “Left” caughtโ”
        3๏ธโƒฃ What exactly has been done with those flies with TONS of honeyโ” 4๏ธโƒฃ What is our state now desirable OR undesirableโ”
        5๏ธโƒฃ Ask Chris Williamson, George Galloway, Ken Livingstone, Wordsworth, Walker and i hear over two thousand suspended and expelled members … ask them how much “honey” they gotโ”

        6๏ธโƒฃ What has anyone learnt, who suggests we dish out EVEN more honey EVEN nowโ”
        โ”โ“โ”โ“โ”โ“

  4. Going by the logic that Tqurner has the most nominations so is therefore the favourite; that others should stand down because they think that coyne is the danger (despite the least nominations) doesn’t make sense to me.

    If coyne and Beckett combined can’t reach Turner’s total, why should Beckett stand down when he has 130+ more nominations than coyne – 2/3 more than coyne’s current total

    We hear of wee stevie complaining that McCluskey was only elected by 6% – or what have you – of the membership. He harps on about how coyne will get the gig because the left is split.

    Well I seem to remember that Corbyn didn’t get that many nominations. The least of all the candidates in 2015.

    And pissed it first time….Because the membership wanted a socialist leader. Not because the right was split.

    And that was repeated two years later.

    If unite want a socialist leader they have a clear choice. Beckett or Turner. (Supposedly)

    Yes, Turner may well have more nominations, but they don’t necessarily translate into votes.

    And yes, Turner is supposedly socialist, but I’ve yet to hear, read or see anything to convince me he’s the right fella…And he’s the choice of many a centrist.

    Just allow the election run its course without telling any of them they should stand down. I believe it’s an FPTP system so If they DO end up electing coyne then that union is no more socialist than the moon.

    1. Thanks Toffee for your most EXCELLENT unimpeachable logic!!!

      Shows the benefit of a TRUE collective effort. Many minds make light work!!! I did not consider the arithmetic you gift us.

      What’s laughable too is despite a longer campaign period than General, local and by-elections, over two months, some are badgering HB to stand down so early in the race. Nominations are vulnerable to the machinations. Think Bernie Sanders badgered to stand aside TWICE to Clinton then Biden who just enabled and protected the recent slaughter of the Palestinians. Predictable and predicted.

      We only need join the dots connecting Watson, Hodge, Mandelson and the other reprobates with shady dodgy doings. When will people stop expecting milk from “flies” like Watson? When will people stop wasting their “honey”? If flies are “caught”, why not dispose of them in the interest of basic hygiene eg stop contamination and disease spread?

      Surely knowledgable people should join the dots. Tom Watson ๐Ÿ”˜ Carl Beech. Mandelson ๐Ÿ”˜ Oleg Deripaska ๐Ÿ”˜ George Osborne. Margaret Hodge and too many dots ๐Ÿ”˜๐Ÿ”˜๐Ÿ”˜๐Ÿ”˜๐Ÿ”˜๐Ÿ”˜ …… 666.
      Why waste so much time, energy, “love”, “honey” catching “flies” like those only to feed them more honey? Is that some weird twelfth century self-sabotaging fetish?
      ๐Ÿ”Šโ˜ข๏ธ๐Ÿ”Šโ˜ข๏ธ๐Ÿ”Šโ˜ข๏ธ

      1. To invigorate and protect the “Left”, Howard Beckett is the only choice. Turner and the other one should stand down if they realise that. If they don’t realise that, then they have no interest in defending True Labour. They are of use only to the Blue & Red Tory parasites.
        ๐Ÿ๐Ÿšฉ๐Ÿ๐Ÿšฉ๐Ÿ๐Ÿšฉ

  5. The Toffee (597)
    ๐Ÿ‘Ž NO
    One candidate only, dont care which one
    Its comparable to those who call for a new party, 14 million people are prepared to vote Labour,140,000 might vote for the Tooting Popular Front
    Same goes for those outside the tent pissing in, your not serious about a Socialist Government in this country
    RaV

    1. As an “outsider” in relation to this election, I am struck by the following:
      1. Elections such as this, where a group wish to choose someone to represent their interests, are ideally suited to a STV system. This would allow the person whom the majority were happiest to go along with to be elected. It’s a very different situation from a GE.
      2. The comment about “not serious about a Socialist Government” appears to relate to parliamentary elections. If that’s the case then I would simply point out that, in all but a handful of constituencies, the only socialist candidates are from what the pundits call fringe parties.
      3. From what I’ve read, My Coyne behaved in a disreputable way at a previous GS election. Surely there should have been regulations in place which debarred him from subsequent candidature.
      4. I had never heard of Robert Maisey, for which I am very grateful, but he does seem to be more suited to LBC than to Tribune.

  6. One candidate only, dont care which one

    What do you mean, ‘one candidate only’?

  7. The thread under this Twitter comment is worth reading to see what left members think: https://twitter.com/raphaeldogg/status/1403113440177164288?s=19
    If Beckett wins he will start Unite TV, imo a vehicle to politicise workers again and a much needed counter to MSM and the forthcoming GB news. Meanwhile, from the other contenders…….nothing. As someone said, they’re more like regional officials with staunch local following but lacking the bigger picture.

  8. All areas of political policy affect diverse members lives so with Maisey is it once you clock off you can feck off, you are on your own? Sounds like being counter to the traditional trade union values of solidarity. The workplace is crucial but no workplace is an island. Vote Beckett.

  9. Social injustice is a predominantly a ‘class’ issue as opposed to a racial or gender issue. The aristocracy & the bourgeoisie do very well out of any social; economic; legal or political system in any ‘Western Capitalist’ country. regardless. Issues of representation & social justice for ‘the deplorables’ are constantly ignored in education; politics & MSM to be rendered invisible; forgotten & left behind. The liberal ‘wokes’ (aka the Left) need to wake up & address issues of real poverty & equality of opportunity in a country where ‘opportunity’ is dependant on the public school you attended. To become a Labour MP you must first become a solicitor. Equality? Who knows what that means?

    1. Steve Richards
      Equality of opportunity is not beyond us, regulation and legislation covers that
      A safety net below which no one falls is the pre requisite and encourages risk taking for those without a trust fund
      What we are chewing to death on here is how we all feel, personally don’t give a fuck, only interested in what works and how much it costs
      To me its a jigsaw

    2. I have to disagree. Forget ‘woke’, it’s a trap, the world’s been weaponised. The left has always supported minority rights and the attempt by the right media to split the left on ‘woke liberal’ Vs cultural conservative lines is unworthy. Fidel Castro said his greatest regret was how they treated gay people in the early days. Gay people still wouldn’t have been accepted if it wasn’t for political activism by them and those who supported them. The same is true for women’s rights. Racism is still a huge problem and must be eradicated and trans people need our support from the likes of Julie Birchill who use every opportunity to hate them.
      It is a fact that some people have more to struggle against than the rest of us and we can either choose to help them because it’s the right thing to do or not. If we choose not to it is because we don’t want them to be treated with the same respect we are.

  10. My first union rep politicised me. He was an old Communist and he opened my eyes and taught me lessons in life. Those days are gone but good union officials who confine themselves to wage bargaining are the same as poor teachers who let generations down. That is why governments support them and why we should ask for more.

  11. NHS privatisation is gathering momentum. There are more than 5 million people on NHS waiting list. NHS dentistry is near non existent for many. Howard Beckett will fight for the NHS, he is prepared to use industrial action. Vote Howard.

  12. EQUALITY. Just another meaningless word that everybody likes to use but……….Equality, I spoke their word..

    1. ….. as if a wedding vow.
      I am, to say the least, uncomfortable with the term “equality of opportunity”. The implication is that privilege is perfectly acceptable as long as everyone gets a lottery ticket. Surely what we want to do is to get rid of the lottery and create a society where there are no losers.
      Aaaargh! I’ve just reminded myself of that obnoxious fellow, Trump.

  13. Privilege is expected by the bourgeois ‘wokes’.for exactly the same reason the Suffragettes demanded equality with the males of their own class & not equality for all, especially not working class males., Equality of opportunity is all anyone should ever ask but doors are slammed shut & never opened for ‘the deplorables’ albeit in USA nor Britain. No coincidence that wages have remained stagnant for generations (especially manual labour) in Western Economies, but privilege remains a feature in the Labour Party for select groups, as Poverty is a recognisable feature in contemporary society…………..Aaaaargh! I’ve just reminded myself of Hilary Clinton.

  14. Oh dear, another member of the cult of new Labour claims to be a left person but isn’t! Gobs off on social media trying to again desperately make out Beckett isn’t popular and talking about important issues don’t matter like WTF!!!

    Sorry I don’t trust people that tell me their socialists then toe the right-wing cults line that’s NOT sodding socialist or left FFS!

    I don’t trust Turner the so-called preferred ‘left candidate’ he has been silent on way too many important issues to be trusted and has ducked too many debates he is another sodding Starmer and will be a disaster for this country if elected!

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: