Starmer’s hopes of an easy ride after union election were always misplaced, despite attempt to brush off right-winger’s crushing defeat – and Evans’s confirmation at conference hangs in balance
Keir Starmer has been hoping that his the confirmation of his sidekick, acting general secretary David Evans, at this month’s annual conference in Brighton would be a rubber-stamp job – and the Labour right has been busy doing its utmost to rig and gerrymander the member delegate count at the party’s ‘sovereign’ event to make sure that it is.
However, the unions hold half of the vote at Labour’s conference and the giant Unite union’s block vote carries considerable weight – and Unite’s executive has just voted not to endorse Evans.
Starmer and co had claimed – against the evidence – to be pleased at Sharon Graham’s win in the Unite general secretary election, but Skwawkbox and others warned them that this would not mean the easy ride they pretended to think it would be.
With the smaller CWU, FBU and Bakers’ unions likely to follow suit – especially after Starmer and Evans foolishly went after Bakers’ president Ian Hodson – and the success of the party member delegate rigging unprovable until the votes begin, Starmer’s and Evans’s supporters will be chewing their fingernails.
So far, the Labour right has ignored the party rulebook, simply referring to Evans as the general secretary – but no general secretary is permanent until confirmed in the role at conference. The Bakers’ union has deliberately timed its vote to disaffiliate from Labour over the Hodson attack until after the general secretary confirmation vote.
Left members who have been harried, purged, persecuted and racially discriminated against by the right-dominated party machine will be rubbing their hands at the discomfort and apprehension Starmer and his minions will be feeling. With the ‘Labour Link’ elections of fellow giant union Unison not due to finish until well after conference, Starmer may be able to count on Unison’s votes until then despite the newly left-run Unison exec.
But if that vote goes against the right and Unison starts appointing left members to Labour’s own national executive, an Evans ouster might be only the start of a torrid time for Labour’s vapid ‘leader’. So don’t bet against a ‘reason’ being found to postpone conference even at this late date, to give Evan’s a gallows reprieve.
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