Thursday, September 14, 2006

Awkward Squad on the TUC general council

Time was when all major newspapers would devote a story each year on the outcome of the ballot for the smaller unions section of the TUC general council, just as a means of taking trade unionism's pulse. These days, none of them bother. In its own small and symbolic way, that fact underlines just how emasculated the British labour movement has become.

So I'm pleased to give readers the following exclusive, even if it is only exclusive in the sense that nobody else can be arsed to run with it. Those elected in 2006 (union name in brackets) and relevant card votes are as follows:

Jonathan Baume (FDA) 397,000; Brian Caton (POA) 603,000; Bob Crow (RMT) 335,000; Jeremy Dear (NUJ) 370,000; Gerry Doherty (TSSA) 517,000; Michael Leahy (Community) 404,000; Judy McKnight (NAPO) 530,000; Ged Nichols (Accord) 407,000; Brian Orrell (NUMAST) 401,000; Tim Poil (NGSU) 358,000; Matt Wrack (FBU) 237,000.

Whatever criticisms activists may have of these guys as individuals, the outcome is indisputably good news for the far left. Dear and Wrack are former members of the Militant Tendency. Crow used to be in the Socialist Labour Party. Caton has recently made anti-capitalist remarks in a Trotskyist newspaper.

Meanwhile, have pity on Janine of Jblog, who was charged with supervising the vote:

'I have spent today held captive by a ballot box. I was appointed as a scrutineer for the General Council election, which entails sitting next to a box all morning, counting votes for about an hour-and-a-half, then being banned from Congress floor and penned in by bodyguards for four hours to prevent you telling anyone the result.'

Four hours under bodyguard? Sounds a bit excessive if you ask me.

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