Poles apart as Unite election voting begins

The battle lines are drawn as ballots start dropping on the doormats of some 1.5 million Unite members this week.

The three with the biggest stacks of nominations, Les Bayliss, Len McCluskey and Jerry Hicks, have spent the past weeks on a fortress strategy. Not triangulating, not reaching out to each other’s supporters, but digging in, reinforcing and restating their positions.

Thus Les Bayliss took a pot shot at his boss Tony Woodley this month, saying that watching him conducting the British Airways dispute was “like looking at an episode of Life on Mars”.

Thus Tony Woodley hit back last week, calling Bayliss’ remarks about the BA dispute “nothing short of scandalous”.

But it was ever thus. Last year, in an interview with lobby correspondent Ian Hernon of the Liverpool Echo, McCluskey said that he’d supported the Militant Tendency [while not joining them] and “on the chief issues they were right.”

While on his website, Les Bayliss says that his “favourite book of all time is Left Wing Communism & Infantile Disorder [sic] by Lenin”, a coded message to students of left-wing politics that he has no time for Trotskyists, Militant supporters and the like.

McCluskey is ever portraying himself as the young-at-heart insurgent, Bayliss as the head-screwed-on moderate.

Meanwhile, Jerry Hicks attacks both of them as guilty of breaking election rules (I first broke the news of Hicks calling for Bayliss’ head on this website, below) and reiterates that he is the rank and file candidate. Bayliss, McCluskey and Gail Cartmail are in “jobs for life”, he says; whereas Hicks hasn’t even got a job to lose.

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8 Responses to “Poles apart as Unite election voting begins”

  1. Gail suporter Says:

    I have to assume that you haven’t mentioned Gail Cartmail in this blog because she is above the rather unpleasant fray in which the men are participating, rather than the fact that she is the only woman standing. Because that would be sexism wouldn’t it?

  2. Sorry to say Says:

    Keep on assuming as it doesn’t matter anyway, and by the way, supporter has two “p”s. Sexism, that sounds desperate…

  3. Gail supporter Says:

    It does indeed and an oversight on my part. Apologies. If it’s not sexism, what is it?

  4. René Lavanchy Says:

    Funny, thought that was Gail’s name in the last paragraph. Oh well.

  5. McLuskey Supporter Says:

    Rene and Jerry, how sweet…

  6. A night in the Thistle Hotel Says:

    Rene sexist…don’t be daft…! What is daft is if an article or election is not going your way you throw the “it must be sexist” comment into the mix. Gail may be a capable person, but that’s not because she is a women, it would be because she is Gail…Her campaign has been poorly run from the start and the content and lay out of her election address reflects that. Her man with a van comment wasn’t helpful either and only time will tell if her actions have assisted the “Lenicks” machine

  7. Another night in the TH Says:

    Was Les Bayliss right with his view on how the BA dispute has been handled? I have just read this, see link below.

    http://www.canadianbusiness.com/markets/headline_news/article.jsp?content=b5020631

  8. What is Len McCluskey to do now? « René Lavanchy’s Blog Says:

    […] general secertary Tony Burke. No doubt they would say that they back the new leader, but will the bitterness of the election campaign – and the long, hidden battle for the future of Unite that preceded it – be forgotten […]

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