A blog by Luke Akehurst about politics, elections, and the Labour Party - With subtitles for the Hard of Left. Just for the record: all the views expressed here are entirely personal and do not necessarily represent the positions of any organisations I am a member of.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Junk mail

Many members of the Amicus section of Unite may come to the conclusion that Derek Simpson's bid for re-election as General Secretary isn't going too well after receiving a personally addressed letter from Derek regarding work he claims to have undertaken for their industrial Sector. A customised version has been written for each major sector of the union and is being sent by the union to every Amicus Section member.

The campaign team for Simpson's main rival, Kevin Coyne, has responded saying:

"The purpose of the letter is clear – it is blatant use of union resources to support Derek Simpson’s campaign and it is timed to arrive the week before ballot papers land on members’ doormats. Kevin will be launching a complaint to the Returning Officer, John Gibbins; the Electoral Commissioner, Professor William Brown; and to the Certification Officer on the grounds that the letter breaches the union’s own Rules.

In the meantime we have been inundated with calls and emails from angry reps and members wanting to know how Derek can spend union money in this way.

It is an act of desperation to so publicly and obviously flout the union’s rule book in this way. There must be real panic in Derek’s camp for them to resort to this tactic. The key issue now is turning the vote out for Kevin so that he can stop this sort of abuse of power and build a clean union."


Blogger Ravi Gopaul said...

I got a similar letter, obviously mass produced, sent to me.

I have no problem with Simpson remaining GS of Unite, although I don't think he is all that vocal against some of the worst government policies.

I have to say your man Kevin Coyne seems to have some negative press about him. Apparently he made some disparaging remarks about Derek in The Sun. The comments he made in the "paper" apparently has given the BNP ammunition to bash trade unions.

I've tried to google this article but to no avail, maybe you know more about it and you could post a link?

Will he win? I don't know, my hunch is Derek is likely to win re election.

If the statements about Kevin are true, I can't see me voting for him (even though his platform on his web site is rather left leaning, Luke you do surprise, unless you know different?) and considering the other choice is a member of the SWP, I might just end up voting for Derek instead.

10:20 pm, February 10, 2009

Blogger Matt Sellwood said...

Actually Jerry Hicks is very publicly not a member of the SWP, having left them a couple of years ago.

10:53 pm, February 10, 2009

Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

Has he renounced the Leninist doctrines of the SWP i.e. killing innocent people in the name of communism. Or did he just quit the party without converting to support for parliamentary democracy?

11:29 pm, February 10, 2009

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well said, Luke! I too get lots of junk mail, sent out at Hackney council tax payers' expense, which praises the works of one Julian Pipe. Do you think, when it comes round to the next election for mayor, that you'd support a similar campaign - condemning him for his abuse of position and power?

3:55 am, February 11, 2009

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I heard that Cruddas is supporting Coyne. What's that about?

9:30 am, February 11, 2009

Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

Him being the best candidate?

9:31 am, February 11, 2009

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm sure someone will correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't Hicks a member of the not-SWP Respect?

I would be very wary of supporting any candidate I was not sure was committed to maintaining affiliation to the Labour Party. A debate about how the unions fund the Labour Party is fine, and probably necessary to stop discontent in my view, but having a leader who might try to steer the union in the direction of disaffiliation is a risk not worth taking.

2:11 pm, February 11, 2009

Blogger Jackson Jeffrey Jackson said...

I am pretty sure that non-SWP Respect are not in favour of breaking the link to Labour. Certainly Galloway seems to be going out of his way to court Labour these days...

The fact that Coyne is being supported by the Murdoch press should tell you all you need to know about him.

2:42 pm, February 11, 2009

Anonymous Anonymous said...


if Simpson wins he will remain GS of the former Amicus section, not Unite.

There has been a lot of negative press in both the Sun and the Times but it pays not to put any link up to these sites or the BNP, as doing so may only bring Unite into further disrepute.

Tim F, the other candidate is Paul Reuter who has stated that he will maintain affilation with the Labour Party.

I read that he has 36 years trade union /LP membership see the
blog http://amicusgselection.wordpress.com.

Was KC ever close to Derek Hatton? If so, why did he get a Times editorial endorsement…

8:39 pm, February 11, 2009

Blogger Ravi Gopaul said...

Anon, this is getting interesting! I was not aware there was any link between Hatton and Coyne, I'd like to hear more. By the way you are quite right about Simpson (if he wins) will continue to hold the GS role in Amicus section of Unite, I should have made that clearer!!

What's triggered this election anyway? I read it was some member who used some obsure thatcherite legislation to force an election. Is this true or is this another smokescreen?

Have you made a choice yet as to who is your preferred candidate? I'm still not sure who to vote for, though I am leaning away from Coyne, especially because of his endorsement in The Times. I'm not sure the involment of the Murdoch press will help, in the words of Kevin's election team, "create a clean union".

3:51 pm, February 12, 2009

Blogger Ravi Gopaul said...

I've found this link, which apprently states the former SWP member Jeremey Hicks triggered this election


But considering this is a Pro Simpson page I'm taking it with a pinch of salt while I check the facts/

3:59 pm, February 12, 2009

Anonymous Anonymous said...

It was triggered by Hicks. I know that because he withdrew the complaint after he lodged it, if he really believed in it why did he do that?

A copy of the certification officer’s letter is on Reuter’s blog, http://amicusgselection.wordpress.com and I assume that he downloaded it from the Certification Officer’s site http://www.certoffice.org/pages/index.cfm?pageID=whatsnew.

I have thought long and hard about this but I am going to vote for Paul Reuter because I believe that words are one thing and behavior is another.

8:23 pm, February 12, 2009

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I saw this comment on Kevin's site, it makes you think doesn't it...
keva coombes said:
Am not sure many in their right mind would welcome best wishes
from me and as a now recluse I was very surprised anyone could honestly think of kevin as of the right see Morning Star article
so I felt prompted to say that is an incredible description...

8:34 pm, February 12, 2009

Blogger Tim said...

Thanks for drawing out that this letter has been done to all sections. I had one as a member from the 'third sector'; I have to say I was previously unaware of Derek Simpson taking much interest in this part of the union. I'm still waiting, though, after five years of membership, for someone to tell me what branch I belong to or how I could have had a say in nominations for anything in Amicus!

4:07 pm, February 14, 2009

Blogger John Wiseman said...

As a shop steward in Unite and Branch official, all that I can say is that is I know Kevin as a person, he is decent, but I disagree with his politics, he is a member of a right wing group MSF for Labour which was destroyed recently at the North West Regional Political Conference of Unite. The left now control this committee with the majority of them supporting Derek Simpson. I like many other others in the North West left have been up early in the morning canvassing many sites. Coyne to win, I don't think so! Talk to ordinary members!


9:52 am, February 17, 2009

Blogger Tim said...

John, I admire your loyalty, but wish the 'left' would spend less time using the union as a political platform and more time making sure that it was actually run properly so that ordinary memnbers like me can have a regular, democratic say.

9:55 am, February 17, 2009

Blogger Jackson Jeffrey Jackson said...

You don't think that unions should be involved in politics?

Or you just think the left should stop trying to use the union for a "political platform" and leave it to the right, who will do so otherwise?

10:00 am, February 17, 2009

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tim's right. Too many factions trying to take control of our union. What makes Wiseman think he knows best? It was him who stated,"trust me" and that he knew who had what nominations and Faircloth was well on course to win. Now he is up early in the morning, but not earlier enough I feel, canvassing sites for another candidate. Support the candidate with no narrow political view, Paul Reuter, at least we can then move on and think about winning the Unite election.

2:59 pm, February 17, 2009


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