Monday, 25 October 2010

Unite 2010 general secretary election: Christmas, machismo, wages and Routledge

Ballot papers will be posted today to Unite's million plus members as the biggest union in Britain and Ireland elects its first solo leader.
The poll closes on November 19 and all the procedural details are on the union's website.
The Workers United welcomes comments from supporters of all the candidates, Unite members, and anyone else with an interest in this election which could shape the direction of the Labour movement under a hostile Conservative-led administration.
Today is a crucial one for the campaigns of the four candidates.
In the early hours of the morning Les Bayliss sent an email to the private addresses of Unite members.
There is a confusing reference to "Mirror readers" in the second paragraph - presumably it is the text from Sunday's newspaper advert which must have cost a fortune.
Bayliss bigs up Ed Miliband - who Unite supported in the Labour leadership election - and says if he is elected: "There will be no more strikes called over Christmas."
Gail Cartmail's blog features a one minute 41 second audio pitch from the candidate.
Today's newest post is a personal message of support from Ann Field, a retired national officer from Unite's graphical, paper and media section.
Field says: "Gail has a steely determination, with the nerve to do the job. And she has no need to disguise any frailties with the artificial macho that is a tedious characteristic of some aspiring trade union leaders.I have worked with Gail on and off over three decades."
Unfortunately for Jerry Hicks his old campaign website still apears above his new campaign website on Google.
Both feature an update, posted yesterday, designed to coincide with the sending out of ballot papers and re-iterating that Hicks is the grassroots candidate who would do the job on an average wage.
As his rivals are all senior figures in Unite already Hicks says: “It’s too late to tell us what you are going to do tomorrow or next month. Why didn’t you all do it when you had the chance?"
The "latest update" on Len McCluskey's website is a statement issued weeks ago after nominations closed.
But there is a link from the front page to a story that refers to the start of balloting - and which reveals that Daily Mirror columnists Paul Routledge and Brian Reade have come out for McCluskey.
Routledge says: "If I had a vote it would go to Len. He has fire in his belly, and a serious political agenda."

Feel free to use the comments box to pitch on behalf of candidates - or to talk generally about the election.


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