Invitation grossly at odds with growing member move for disaffiliation and general secretary’s supposed distancing from party
Keir Starmer has been invited to speak at the Unite union’s later this month, according to union insiders. The invitation is a stark contrast to union general secretary’s supposed distancing from Westminster politics, but in line with other signs of the Unite regime’s accommodation with the right-wing Labour ‘leader’ that have drawn criticism from members and activists – including, most notoriously, Unite’s recent ban on the use of its premises to show the ‘Oh Jeremy Corbyn/The Big Lie’ documentary exposing the misdeeds, racism and rigging of the Labour right.
One senior union insider told Skwawkbox that the invitation to Starmer is:
Hypocrisy beyond belief from the general secretary.
The news is not Sharon Graham’s first controversial moment. Her tenure as general secretary has been marred by allegations – which neither she nor the union have denied – that she attempted to have evidence destroyed in bullying and misogyny complaints about her husband, whom she now employs in her office despite a final warning from the union for his behaviour.
The union’s appalling treatment of Irish union legend Brendan Ogle has led to Ogle taking legal action over Unite’s ‘disgusting’ abuse and bullying following his return from cancer treatment. Ogle did not support Sharon Graham in the union’s general secretary election and the union’s conduct toward him led to protests during Graham’s recent Dublin visit, outrage among Irish politicians and even threats from a whole sector to disaffiliate entirely.
In addition, after her supporters failed in their bid to take control of the Unite executive despite ‘dark money’ spending on advertising, ineglible and racist members being allowed to stand and the alleged use of paid organisers in and following the exec election campaign, her faction has resorted to Starmerite tactics to try to discredit the executive members’ election of a new left-wing union chair and both vice-chairs, as well as the vital Finance and General Purpose Committee.
And quite apart from the political bankruptcy of the Starmer regime, his own personal record also makes Starmer an unfit guest at the conference of a union run by a woman who has made noises about supporting women affected by workplace abuse. Among many instances of cover-ups and abuse, Starmer:
- allowed a right-wing former councillor to stand as a candidate despite being arrested for possession of illegal images of children
- allowed a right-wing council leader to become a Labour parliamentary candidate despite the party’s own lawyer saying he should be investigated over allegations of ‘serious’ sexual assault
- welcomed MP Neil Coyle back into the party despite racist remarks and Coyle being found by Parliament to have sexually harassed at least one person
- allowed a right-wing councillor with unanswered allegations of disgraceful anti-disabled ‘concentration camp’ comments to try to oust left-wing MP Ian Byrne in the safe seat of Liverpool West Derby
- covered up a whistleblower’s allegations of ‘sadistic’ and ‘criminal’ abuse and exploitation of domestic violence victims by a front-bench MP’s staffer who was also his lover
- kept two other MPs in his Shadow Cabinet despite them being investigated for sexual harassment.
SKWAWKBOX needs your help. The site is provided free of charge but depends on the support of its readers to be viable. If you’d like to help it keep revealing the news as it is and not what the Establishment wants you to hear – and 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 doing its job.
If you wish to republish this post for non-commercial use, you are welcome to do so – see here for more.