Cruddas helps Kevin Coyne’s Amicus campaign (without supporting it)

Jon Cruddas and Kevin Coyne at Birmingham, 7 February 2009Yesterday Kevin Coyne, self-proclaimed frontrunner in the Unite Amicus general secretary campaign (see previous post for more info) held a rally for his supporters in the centre of Birmingham, which I attended. The most interesting thing from a journalist’s point of view wasn’t the speech Coyne gave – strong though it was in denouncing Derek Simpson as “greedy” and unscrupulous – but in the familiar rubicund-faced,  rumpled-coated figure who arrived after the speech and made his way to the front during the Q&A session.

It wasn’t, was it? I put my glasses on. It was! Dagenham MP Jon Cruddas. By coincidence, he was in town to attend a meeting of anti-far-right activist group Searchlight, and dropped in to talk about the recent wildcat strikes (see below, again) and the threat of the BNP. It was an interesting, witty speech and went down well. Afterwards he took questions from the audience of about 60 people.

He also posed for a photo shaking Coyne’s hand – perhaps soon to appear on the campaign website.

Coyne’s supporters must be delighted. Cruddas hasn’t actually endorsed the Coyne campaign – he told me so today – but an appearance from this well-liked centre-left MP will surely do him good. Laurence Faircloth was attracting support from moderate Labour lefties; now he’s dropped out, there’s less diversity of policies. Coyne’s critics have sought to paint him as too right-wing. If I were him and I wanted to attract the centre-left vote, this is precisely the tactic I’d want to employ.

In my last Unite post, I suggested Labour MPs were considering whether to support Simpson, as Charlie Whelan would like, or someone else. I still think that’s true.

P.S. Cruddas also said he’d be happy to attend other candidates’ rallies if invited. Jerry, I know you support Respect Renewal – but if you’re reading – now’s your chance!


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4 Responses to “Cruddas helps Kevin Coyne’s Amicus campaign (without supporting it)”

  1. voltairespriest Says:

    Little tipski – I don’t think Cruddas’ support (or that of “labour MPs”) will be the clincher. It’s a referendum on Simpson’s record. One can bet too much on the influence of the the beltway – it didn’t do Ken Jackson much good after all 😉

  2. Kissing Babies Says:

    Oh dear, left right left right left right.
    Is it a march?
    No, it’s Coyne on his election campaign.
    What ever next?
    Kissing babies…


    […] Hicks points out that Kevin Coyne’s campaign is talking up the apparent endorsement that centre-left MP Jon Cruddas gave him, by appearing at a Coyne election rally in Birmingham. Jon Cruddas popped in for a question and […]

  4. Ordinary Labour member Says:

    Well, I’m glad that Cruddas appeared there and spoke. I wasn’t there, but from what I’m told they (Coyne and Cruddas) are a lot closer than some of the headbangers in the Hicks camp would pretend. As for calling Coyne a ‘right winger’ – give me strength. It’s Hicks and his chums who’ve managed to bugger up Unite to the point where the executive is in disarray. About the last thing we need is the People’s Front of Judea – or is it the People’s Popular Front of Judea? – running the show.

    I’ve voted for Kevin Coyne, and I’d advise anyone who fancies seeing an end to Derek Simpson’s abuse of office to do the same. And I’ll tell you something else: I’m not the only Unite member who feels that way, and having Jerry Hicks at the helm would be a pretty quick way of kissing Unite’s credibility goodbye PDQ.

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