As readers of my previous post will have guessed, I am disappointed that Kevin Coyne did not unseat Derek Simpson as Joint General Secretary of Unite in the result announced on Saturday. Whilst Derek is loyal to the PM and deserves credit for that, I would have preferred a Joint GS who had a more dynamic, open and inclusive leadership style and a sharper political definition (OK I'd really prefer Sir Ken Jackson still to be in post, but recognise that isn't an option - then again I'd like Ernie Bevin to still be running the TGWU). The full result is here: http://www.amicustheunion.org/Default.aspx?page=9439
We shall have to see what happens when the first election for the GS of the whole of Unite takes place, and then you are into territory where frictions/dynamics between and within the TGWU and Amicus officer machines will cut across left-right considerations.
My take on the results:
- Derek's ambiguous political positioning - talking left but, thank goodness, backing Brown politically and the party financially - meant that instead of being the clear left candidate as he was versus Jackson he seems to have lost hard left support to Hicks but picked up some moderate support to offset this.
- Abysmal turnout - under 15% - indicates that a small number of voters will decide how Unite's huge slug of votes - 13% of the whole electoral college - gets cast in any future Labour leadership election.
- People who are serious about becoming the first GS of the whole of Unite need to start building a national media profile - on the TV and in the tabloids, not just the Guardian and Tribune - now - you can't win an OMOV postal ballot just by being a union officer with a good reputation amongst activists.