The Sunday Times poaches my work (and still gets it wrong)

The story on Unite’s general secretary election I did for Tribune last week continues to generate ripples (see below).

Not only have people within Unite been commenting on it, but Sunday Times political editor Jonathan Oliver followed it up in an article in yesterday’s paper.

In fact, so keen was Mr Oliver on my work that he lifted an entire quote from it – Rob Williams saying “The link with Labour is an absolute millstone round the neck of the union” he said. “It’s got us nowhere.” – without attribution. That’s not very nice is it. Oh, and the subs decided to make this the pull quote – the one pulled from the text and reprinted in a bigger type size, which is quite flattering really, or would be if they’d said where it came from.

Unfortunately, not even my reporting could save Mr Oliver from getting his story wrong. In the article, he names Jerry Hicks as “the frontrunner” in the contest. But on Saturday, Hicks failed to get the nomination of the United Left faction of Unite (admittedly after his supporters were, apparently, barred from entering the hustings meeting in Manchester). The remaining members elected Len McCluskey. With a big profile and a nomination in his pocket, McCluskey is the closest thing to a frontrunner Unite has. (More on this later)

This story seems to have fallen apart the day before it appeared on newsstands. Oh well, you can’t get it right every time.

P.S. I did email Mr Oliver about this, but no response as yet.

Update: There’s some intense debate going on at Socialist Unity as to whether it was right to exclude Hicks’ supporters or not. I haven’t got to the bottom of this yet (but my piece in Tribune this week hopefully will).

Update 2: Oliver has responded and takes my point. All is forgiven.


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