Smears signal right’s concern that Brown might win as Musicians’ Union election enters final phase

Watson and others mount negative campaign against left’s change candidate

Left candidate to be next MU general secretary Stephen Brown

A campaign of smears by Labour-right figures against Musicians’ Union (MU) general secretary candidate Stephen Brown appears to signal the right’s concern that Brown, the left’s change candidate, threatens to win what could be a tight contest as the election enters its last twelve days.

Musician Louise Braithwaite reported one such attack last week, tweeting that former Labour deputy leader Tom Watson had smeared Brown in the Midlands nomination meeting:

Watson has been chair of UK Music since April 2020 – a position the outgoing MU general secretary apparently put him forward for – shortly before he took a job with gambling giant Paddy Power despite having campaigned for stricter gambling rules as an MP. He did not respond to a request for comment on the allegation that he had smeared Brown – nor about the basis for him joining the Musicians’ Union when he is not known to have worked as a musician. MU insiders say that they have never heard of him attending a meeting before.

Watson’s intervention was spectacularly unsuccessful, with more than eighty percent of Midlands members voting to support Brown.

Skwawkbox understands that a number of the Labour right’s ‘big hitters’ attended nomination meetings around the country to speak against Brown, with many attempting to claim that he would be a divisive or ‘disloyal’ candidate – presumably because he is campaigning on a plan to actually change things within a union that has often sided with the right and has been accused of taking Establishment positions.

The MU, under its current management, sided with Keir Starmer and the Labour right in the recent NEC motion by left-wing members to restore the whip to Jeremy Corbyn. The motion was defeated.

The general secretary role is becoming vacant after the incumbent decided to step down. In early 2020 an attempt by the right to award him a five-year extension to his term without an election was ultimately abandoned, after complaints to the Certification Officer that this would be a breach of the Trade Union and Labour Relations Act, just before the Certification Officer was due to hear the case.

In an article on the MU Members for Change website, member Graham Sibley speaks directly to those engaged in the smears:

Those who would seek to subvert this process will know who they are and I would simply ask them this:

Are your ideas and beliefs so weak that they can only be defended by the undermining of fair process?

Do you fear the possibility of change so much that you would sacrifice the essential principles of what you purport to represent in order to stop it? Do you believe the voices that disagree with you to be so strong that the only way they can be silenced is by whispered untruths and dishonesty?

If so, then your arguments are already lost: not necessarily in the sense of the election but in the sense of the moral authority to represent those who might follow you in the future.

Brown, in contrast to rival candidates – Establishment favourite Naomi Pohl is reportedly not a professional musician and has only worked for pay in a union and not as an activist – has a strong background as a trade unionist stretching back four decades and has promised to put the general secretary’s remuneration package, one of the highest among unions despite the MU’s small size, under review as part of his package to change the union for members. Read his candidate’s statement here and his MU Members for Change article on his plans here.

The MU general secretary vote closes on 7 March. Of the union’s approximately 32,000 members only around 12% usually cast their ballot, so a concerted effort by the left could see Brown win and take a new broom to its structures and policies – and it seems the union and Labour right fear this.

Stephen Brown appeared on Socialist Telly earlier this month to talk about his bid, his plans and how he would implement them. Watch the interview, with an option to activate captions if needed, below:

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  1. Thanks 4 posting this on Just imagine how much more dangerous Watson would have been as LORD Watson⁉️⁉️⁉️

    1. Why would he have been MORE dangerous (than he was when he was deputy leader)?! ?! ?!

      Could you elaborate.

      1. No, thought not!

        PS By the way, as far as I can ascertain, Jeremy DIDN’T do an interview with Iain Dale on LBC a couple of months ago as you recently claimed, AND claimed that he referred to Starmer as a friend. So I take it you were lying through your nasty teeth again, as per usual!

      2. Re Craig Murray’s appeal yesterday against his conviction and his prison sentence, he tweeted the following at 2.22am this morning:

        I have finished writing my account of today’s pretty harrowing court proceedings.
        But am going to sleep on it and check in the morning it gives the court no further excuse to put me in prison. When you read it you will understand why.

        NB And if you scroll down the tweets you’ll see there are a couple posted by Jeremy Corbyn, and several MORE posted about him (in the first 20/25 tweets or so).

      1. If Tom Watson ad one iota of shame or decency he’d crawl under a stone and stay there. He hasn’t so he is trying to destroy Stephen’s chances in the Gen Sec election but Watson won’t succeed because people know what he is and don’t like it.

    1. “a number of the Labour right’s ‘big hitters’ attended nomination meetings around the country to speak against Brown, with many attempting to claim that he would be a divisive or ‘disloyal’ candidate – presumably because he is campaigning on a plan to actually change things”

      1. Steve H has forgotten that calling a candidate ‘disloyal’ or ‘divisive’ without offering any evidence is wrong and out of place in a Union or a Socialist party. Like all right wingers he has forgotten, if he ever knew, the difference between debate and character assassination. Hence the long campaigns of lies against Jeremy Corbyn and the relish with which they joined in the hate propaganda of the capitalist press.

      2. David Lowton🌟💎🌟💎🌟💎
        Well said!!! Also note Watson’s usual destructive behaviour re gambling. The Right wing work hard to achieve THEIR aims using any methods. As LORD Watson he would have £320 daily tax free to continue undermining us, while being ENABLED to use Parliamentary privilege to assist more like CARL BEECH⚠️⚠️⚠️

    2. Did I miss the bit where it explained what these smears are?

      Don’t know, did you? A smear is a false accusation intended to damage someone’s reputation. If you do n internet search on ‘MU Stephen Brown’, you’ll see lots of them

      The synchronised-MSM often tends to mis-report mis-information as ‘facts’.

      1. qwertboi – Are we to take it from your response that you don’t know what the smears are either?

      2. Stevieh “take it from your response that you don’t know what the smears are either?”.

        It’s about the function of an adjectives in the sentence. ‘Divisive’, ‘disloyal’ and ‘untustworthy’ are pretty desperate smears (but, for the LabourRight, much-used) – esp. when they are used as a value judgement without any supporting facts.

    3. Dont worry Steve H Hall,its just the plan for hijacking the unions in plain sight now rather than stealth before.Not to worry we must all sing from the same hymn sheet “according to your leader or be gagged,excluded or sent to “Coventry” .Your thoughts on your tory government to exclude children from higher education if they are not able to achieve in English and maths is another opening for your leader to play” follow my Tory leader “.
      Not surprising you can’t get a part time job on devils island in your Caribbean bolt hole is it.with your lack of basic maths and English that Toffee has exploited for all to see.

  2. Tom Watson’s smears and the smears of his fellow travellers will probably do Stephen a lot of good.
    During the coup every time Blair or one of the other New Labour dinosaurs spoke against Jeremy his position in the polls improved. Eventually they got the message but Blairs intervention had done the trick with – many people believed that anybody he criticised had to be OK and so Jeremy’s popularity soared.
    Tom Watson is a nasty, greatly disliked individual with zero credibility so there is no reason to believe the same thing won’t happen here and Stephen will be elected Gen Sec.

    1. Also an excellent piece by GM Watch from a few days ago:

      A short history of laboratory leaks and gain-of-function studies

      Two myths have hindered investigations into the origins of the SARS-CoV-2 virus: one, that viruses seldom escape from laboratories; and two, that most pandemics are zoonotic, caused by a natural spillover of a virus from animals to humans.

    1. Watson…..An MP for hire. Flash him the cash and he’ll dance like Fred Astaire. Moseley paid him as did Chinn and Co. What a disgusting piece of Toe Rag he is.

    2. Seems Putin has untied the Syrians hands. Russia won’t help them, but they won’t stop them either.

      Meanwhile in 404, the Russians are going through
      like butter. Look for intelslava on telegram. POW treatment seems to be good so far (Shoigu ordered commanders to respect all surrendering POWs)

      For those who live themselves a good comparison (like what we did to Yugoslavia, Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan etc), I watched a Ukraine tank run over a civilian car in it’s desperation to escape. This was in western Ukraine, nowhere near battle lines. Reminds me of another tank incident in the past🤔

      In other good news, they have managed to turn the water back on for Donbass.

      All of this wouldn’t have happened if it wasn’t for America trying to be top dog.

      Stay safe all

      Fuck TWatson!

  3. Tom Watson…could have made a name for himself as he likes to grab the attention of the media.Unfortunately although proceeding further into the Westminster paedophile ring he was warned off by senior figures in the Labour party and his pals in the media.He new some of the figures but decided that retreat and cowerdice were the best options.Toms a coward and if hed been dealt with as a coward he would never have got the chance to be one of the lead players in bringing down the socialist revival and Jeremy Corbyn Toms a natural performer but some of us dont like his act.and he destroyed the Opposition just when the country needed one.

    1. So the Dr Nazificaton of the Dombass region has begun Hopefully the loosers who are always the victims the people will be kept to a minimum and common sense will prevail with the warmongering politicians of all sides ignored.and common sense and humanity steps in.
      The USA needs to take a long hard look at poking the Russian bear and think again.about the aggressive sabre rattling on the Russian doorstep and at Russian allies in the S.China sea..The Three big Superpowers cannot afford a nucluer war to end all wars….Step back Nato and think again America…China is left with little choice but to back Russia…!and nobody on this side of the world wants that…a war.?

      1. Joseph

        I think you are making a mistake here – it is Putin who
        is on the Right Wing ..the current President of the Ukraine is

        This is – partly – a battle between Catholic Christianity and Orthodox Christianity where the former were against the attack on the Demo on Maidan Square by the former President.

        I think Putin is paranoiac and will hopefully be deposed – however
        a Historian friend said that Putin is worse than any of his Soviet predecessors – in that the latter could be voted out by his Govt.whereas he is there for life.

      2. Holby …ldont give a damm what religion they are only that the Nazi Asov regiment have been murdering,pillaging,Raping civillians for decades in the Domass region and not a dickybird from the fascists in kiev or the USA nato forces sat on Russias doorstep..PS ….theres no such thing as left and right anymore its just fascist neo liberal alliance against the people comrade.!…

      3. There are a fair number of right wing Jews you know, HFW. Some of us have encountered them.

      4. @Holby

        Where ever did you get that horsecrap from?!?!

        Ukraine is stuffed with neonazis. I’m not sure how you can be more right wing than that. Apart from the odd zionazi (and yes, they’re floating around Ukraine also).

        Russians are searching for many names to be tried as war criminals, and rightfully so. You are aware of the 42+ people burned alive in a hotel in Odessa?

        This is not about religion. This is about America making the same mistakes as the Cuban missile crisis (you do know that all started due to US nuclear missiles in Europe?).

        Maybe you should watch Putin’s speech in 2008 at the Munich Security conference? Writings been on the wall for years…

      5. Correction.

        It was not a hotel, it was a trade union office building

  4. Joseph
    Will Ukrainian forces fight or are they paper tigers paid to parade by America

    1. @Doug

      Most of the regular army in Ukraine is conscription based. The Right Sektor and Azov battalion may put up a fight, but from what I’ve seen, they’re running.

      Mercs won’t be hanging around as dead ones don’t get paid.

      It is not Afghanistan 2. The Russians will not be copying the west on that one. This will be much more like Desert Storm.

      We won’t stay out, because Russia. And we’ve got leaders who make the charge of the light brigade look like a smart move:/

    1. Doug like all fascists they are cowards and will be quickly be dealt with forensicaly .by the good people in the Republics who are now being protected by the alliance with Russia against western aggression..
      God bless mother Russia for showing pity on their people under the jackboot of fascism……Afganistan 11more like evacuation from saigon when the veitnamese puppet government were removed by the liberation army of the people “..

      1. China and Russia can bring down the financial system in a blink 9f an eye
        They decided never again in 2008, the West is financially and morally bankrupt

      2. Doug, I seem to recall reading many years ago, that a number of countries, including Russia and China were collaborating on developing an alternative system for international financial transactions. This would mean that trade would not have to be conducted in dollars and that US banks would not get a little cut every time Switch was used.
        This was before the invasion of Iraq, and there were rumours that Iraq had been in talks about joining in.

    2. Afghanistan II?
      Don’t think so?
      The question that arises now is “What is the strategy?”
      Set borders of Luhansk and Donetsk in their original position and defend the two republics so they are not incorporated into Ukraine again? Probably.
      Admit them to the Russian Federation? Possibly.
      Create a corridor linking these republics to Crimea? Possibly.
      Annexe Ukraine? The height of improbability.
      Is Putin making a statement to show that the US is largely ineffectual in the current situation?
      The Minsk Agreement has clearly been dead in the water, as far as the Ukrainians are concerned, ever since it was signed.
      Is the current action a statement that Nato must not appear on Russia’s SW flank?
      No doubt we’ll find out as things unfold over the next few days or so.

      1. goldbach
        Work back from what Putin wants a Veto over Ukraine joining Nato

  5. goldbach
    Using the Swift system to threaten countries is hopefully about the thickest thing the Yanks have ever done

    1. A section in this Novara piece where A statement by the Kenyan ambassador to the UN is played .
      Aaron Bastani’s analysis is worth listening to.
      The whole relevant section runs from the 29 minute point to the 43 minute point.

      1. I remarked on the speech by the Kenyan Ambassador
        in a post on another thread . This was in relation to
        a mention of Religion and Ethnicity by myself.

        The whole Novara Medium piece is worth watching
        and the UN speech particularly so ..

  6. goldbach
    Why dont we mind our own business
    Not a single drop of British blood should be spilt on this conflict

  7. So ….The pound has dropped against the doller massively,Oil at 104dollers a barrell and escalating …stocks are falling around the world and somone is about to make a lot of money from all of this whilst uncle sam smiles at rocketing oil price and a rising doller.
    europe will shiver and Britain will catch a cold that could develop into somthing much worse.

    1. Joseph – So Putin will also be enriching himself and his fellow thieves on the backs of the working people in Europe.

      1. Who knows?
        Our own thieves will make sure that they enrich themselves though. They are adept at profiting from crises.

      2. Er like the Western capitalist thieves your mate Mr S supports?
        Which is why left wing democratic socialists fight for diverse working people in EVERY country.
        Poor SH blind to Western Imperialism and Exploitation – a political lightweight Western Centric Attack Poodle?
        Now we are being lectured by the invaders of Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and bombers of Syria.

  8. And I’ve been a round a long time in politics. I joined Labour around 1977 (left 10 secs after Neo-Liberal Lump of Wood was elected Leader) and I remember a time when the West had political heavyweights unlike now.
    Ukraine is not a failure of diplomacy but is because of a complete lack of diplomacy in addressing Russia’s genuine concerns as the political Right on all sides preferred to score political points as they sabre rattled.
    When Gorbachev agreed to end the partition of Germany the US promised that NATO would not go one more inch to the East, in the last 30 years it has gone 800 miles to the East.
    There was never a time when the World needed Left Wing Democratic Socialist Leaders more, we would have talked to Putin, addressed their concerns and found a solution whilst treating them as equals and with respect.
    Now we are being lectured by the Right Wing Imperialists who invaded Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and who bombed Syria plus the US et al who turn a blind eye to Israel atrocities because of their Imperial interests in that region (oil, arms sales, capitalist inward and outward investment).
    Let’s hope Russia sticks to the breakaway regions and we have a quick peace.
    But the tragedy is it could have all been avoided.
    War and violence is horrid but tragically it happens when reason sleeps.

    1. Bazza – who bombed Syria

      According to the Russians they bombed Syria more than anyone else.
      In early January 2017, the Chief of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces Valery Gerasimov said that, overall, the Russian Air Force had carried out 19,160 combat missions and delivered 71,000 strikes on “the infrastructure of terrorists”.

      1. At one time it felt like half the world was bombing Syria.
        If we look at international law, the question should be “Which countries carried out military operations in Syria without the agreement of the Syrian government?”
        To cry “international law” in relation to Russian actions in Ukraine and ignore it in relation to “Western” actions in Serbia, Iraq, Libya and Syria is, at best, a case of being disingenuous. Yet, that is what our government (and “opposition”) does.

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