Mirror in McCluskey’s Pocket

Daily Mirror readers could be forgiven for knowing little of the bitter battle for control of Britain’s biggest trade union Unite. The paper once had a proud history of covering union politics, yet the contest between Len McCluskey and Gerard Coyne barely makes it into the paper – much to the annoyance of leftie hacks and union tankies alike. Unite’s £400,000 contribution towards McCluskey’s swanky London pad was for some reason not deemed newsworthy…

Canary Wharf insiders believe the problem lies with the management’s desire to keep on receiving oodles of Unite cash signed off by Red Len. One Mirror source said:  

“Unite probably hand over between £50,000 and £100,000 a year in term of various types of sponsorship, helping with the wage bill, advertising etc. It is any wonder they don’t write a bad word about McCluskey or the battle to get rid of him?  It’s a travesty and a betrayal of the readers.”

Ros Wynne-Jones’ weekly “Real Britain” column contains numerous plugs for causes and events championed by Unite. At the bottom of her page each week there is a message to say her musings are “in association with Unite the Union”. Hacks at the paper believe the Unite cash could be enough to fund Wynne-Jones’ salary. The Mirror is one of the few papers left with an industrial correspondent. Along with transport and education, Mark Ellis is supposed to cover the unions, though he seems strangely reticent to write about McCluskey at all – despite his strong Unite links. McCluskey’s union was coincidentally on hand to help fund free booze at the Mirror’s Labour conference knees-up…

The few stories about the Unite leadership battle between McCluskey and Coyne that have made it into the Mirror have included the following gems:

  • On Monday March 6th Kevin Maguire column’s column revealed: “Unite supremo “Red Len” McCluskey is hot favourite to be re-elected leader of the country’s largest trade union after winning huge support
  • On Thursday March 2nd Mirror readers were told: “Len has 82% Unite backing
  • On Tuesday March 7th the paper quoted McCluskey saying he would “work night and day” to fight for Vauxhall staff whose jobs were in danger

Mirror readers and the union members the paper claims to champion will have to look elsewhere if they want more than the odd pro-Len puff piece…




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