Labour's Iain McNicol Condemns Himself

fixing-llThe role played by Labour’s unpopular General Secretary, Iain McNicol, in the Falkirk scandal was laid bare in this morning’s Times. Emails implicate him in the stitch up as far back as January, yet McNicol has not always been so tolerant of Labour staff bending the rules. At the height of Labour’s internal “Blairites under the bed” paranoia back in 2012, Guido revealed that McNicol had written to all party staff demanding they stay out of selections:

From: Iain_McNicol

Date: 1 June 2012 12:04:13 GMT+01:00

To: All_Staff
Subject: Staff and Internal Elections

Dear All,

Over the past week I have received a number of complaints about staff interfering with internal elections.

Although no rules have been broken, the spirit of the rules has been tested and the timings questionable. With NPF and NEC as well as Police Commissioner elections coming up, there is a lot of attention being given to these key selections.

Recently emails have gone out to members from some people seeking to gain positions in these elections. I must remind staff that helping candidates to contact members whilst they are seeking election unless it is part of your constituency responsibilities is not acceptable.

I came into this job to change the way our party operates. I want to create a party that empowers and respects its staff, but at the same time I want to create a party that is open and transparent. To this end I have asked the chair of the NEC – Michael Cashman and Executive Director for Governance and Party Service, Emilie Oldknow alongside chair of the JTUC, Ray Walker to work on a code of conduct for staff covering internal elections as I do not feel the current staff handbook deals sufficiently with the issue.

I hope that staff based in head office, across the nations and regions and those working in local offices understand the severity of the issue. Upholding our own rules and remaining fair is the role of all our staff and any failure to do so can only undermine our internal democracy which does us no favours.

After such great results in May, of which you all contributed, I hope we can have a summer where we build on these successes that lead to us being a one term opposition. Creating a fair, open and transparent party is a vital step in the right direction.

Yours

Iain

Iain McNicol
General Secretary

The following month McNicol told LabourList:

“…as long as I am General Secretary a fixing culture will not be tolerated and I want to make sure that the party understand its role in internal elections and administrates them fairly, never interfering in them.”

Yet behind the scenes he himself was doing dirty deals with “Lennie”:

“I will personally collect their direct-debit details once we have given them a reason to support the Labour Party. I will do this after the selection process, this is what Lennie [McCluskey] agreed with the Labour Party GS [McNicol]“

So much for that “fair, open and transparent party” he promised. Perhaps a good read of the internal party report would help, or is the fact McNicol is implicated a key reason Labour will not release the document?

Top 10 Q3 Donors

It’s donations day again. The top ten donors in Q3 were:

Unite the Union : £777,740
USDAW: £618,849
Mr John Griffin: £500,000
The Co-operative Group (CWS) Ltd: £389,723
UNISON: £372,603
GMB: £297,698
Mr Michael S Farmer: £250,000
Mr James R Lupton: £250,000
Communication Workers Union (CWU): £186,409
Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust Ltd: Liberal Democrats £167,667

Ed still happy to take Lennie’s dirty dollar. Top tory donor John Griffin is that lovely chap from Addison Lee. The other eye catching figure is Labour is £12.3m in the red, Tories to the £1.8m. Irony.

Wilfully Blind Watson

Tom Watson could hardly have chosen a more unfortunate moment to launch a heart-rending defence of one of his cabal. The Sun has a recording of Watson taking to the stage with comedian Matt Forde to stick up for his close personal friend and staff member Karie Murphy:

20131113-100659.jpg“Bizarrely to me, he decided to report my office manager to the police for potential fraud. And I thought, ‘are you f…’ I nearly swore there, ‘are you joking?’ She’s running for selection, she’s not robbing a bank. I felt I had a duty of care so I spent a couple of weeks really drilling down into the detail, and when I did I realised the allegations against my staff member and another member of the party were total bullshit. Her reputation had been totally destroyed. An injustice was done to those people. It’s amazing how my own leader can be so wrong. But he was. It’s hard for me to say this, but Ed just got it wrong on Falkirk. He was given information, or a report, that was inaccurate and omitted some key facts, and took judgements that really harmed the individuals involved in a grotesque way. I suspect privately he is a little bit embarrassed about it.”

Talking of embarrassment, by coincidence today’s Times has some rather awkward Falkirk emails revealing Labour’s dodgy recruitment deal with Unite, written by one Karie Murphy:

“I will personally collect their direct-debit details once we have given them a reason to support the Labour Party. I will do this after the selection process, this is what Lennie [McCluskey] agreed with the Labour Party GS [McNicol]”

“It’s amazing how he can be so wrong…”

Unite Cancels Christmas

 After claiming only yesterday that Unite the union exists to “help save communities from devastation, put food on workers’ tables, presents under the Christmas tree and hope in people’s lives” it looks like Lennie the “Grinch” McCluskey has stolen Christmas, with Unite announcing a strike hitting card and present deliveries. Their website reports:

“Parcel deliveries in London could be severely hit in the run-up to Christmas, after staff at UPS Parcels voted overwhelmingly to strike in a dispute over unreasonable workloads and alleged bullying. The 120 drivers and loaders, members of Unite, the country’s largest union, who work at the Camden depot – the biggest UPS depot in Europe – have voted by a massive 91 per cent to take strike action.”

Won’t someone think of the children?

H/T @pickardje.

Unite’s Beef With the TPA

Guido thought he had herd it all, but the Taxpayers Alliance have raised the steaks with their suggestion of saving money on grass-cutting by using cattle and sheep to graze on council land. Clearly a vealy good way to provide the taxpayer with value. Surprise, surprise then that Unite are milking it, coming out with an udderly ridiculous statement trying to butcher the policy:

“The credibility of the Taxpayers’ Alliance has to be seriously questioned when ideas taken from medieval times, such as grazing sheep, are wheeled out in its endless quest for publicity. Has the alliance worked out how much it is going to cost to buy these animals and pay the substantial veterinary bills? The prospect we face is hundreds of these animals freely roaming around municipal parks ignoring health and safety considerations when children are playing – and being a prime target for urban rustlers.”

That’s grazy talk.

Rich’s Monday Morning View

deans480

You can buy the original artwork here.

Will Len Save ‘Simple Stevie’?

So union bod Stevie Deans jumped before he was pushed as the Unite official at Grangemouth after the weekend’s exposure of his dirty tricks and attempts to stitch up the Falkirk selection for Karie Murphy on office hours. A source familiar with the situation chuckles “Len got the local dafty to sort it out and surprise surprise he’s f**ked it all up.” Yet speculation is rife that we have not heard the last of ‘Simple Stevie’ just yet. Will Len sort out his boy, and bring him into the Unite behemoth? Or will the boss wait to see what the expected second tranche of emails in the Sunday Times brings? Sweaty palms all round…

Pilgrims’ Self-Preservation Plot

Taxpayer funded union turkeys are convening to work how to avoid Christmas. Regular readers will remember Carl Roper, the TUC national organiser tasked with spinning for Pilgrims – taxpayer-funded trade union officials. Last summer Carl got into all sorts of bother trying to spin his way out of the huge sums Pilgrims cost the taxpayer. Well now he has invited publicly-employed trade unionists to a meeting on Thursday to plot how they can “respond to the attack on facility time and… look at the legal position of reps in respect of paid time off for union duties and activities”. In other words try to fight the government’s crackdown on them wasting taxpayers’ time and money. Let Guido know how that works out for you…

Non-Union Backed Labour Candidate Stands Aside

A mysterious story coming out of Bristol today, with Labour candidate Josie Channer standing aside after it was revealed she had failed to pay over £2,000 in parking fines. She won the selection by beating off competition from GMB officer Rowena Hayward, described at the time by the furious CWU union as an “excellent union candidate”. Rumours swirl of yet another stitch up…

Red Len’s Baby Momma Slams ‘Attack Dog’ Dugher

No matter how senior a Labour figure you are, you can’t criticise Len McCluskey without the mother of his love child tearing you a new one. Jennie Formby, who inexplicably happens to be Unite’s political director, has given Unite-sponsored Miliband boot-boy Michael Dugher both barrels for having the temerity to question Red Len’s leadership:

“Self-styled ‘humble member’ of our union, Michael Dugher used to work for Amicus before the merger that led to the creation of Unite. A loyal bag carrier to Ken Jackson in the AEEU, Blair’s favourite trade union leader, he has been developing an image as a political fixer in the union movement for decades, perhaps over-inflating his role.

Certainly his career path explains why he now has a tin ear for our movement today. After leaving Amicus, he entered a succession of jobs first working as a special adviser to Stephen Byers, longtime plotter and avowed critic of the Labour/union link. After Byers left office, Dugher ended up working for Defence Secretary, Geoff Hoon, finally ending up as the replacement to Damian McBride as the spin doctor to Prime Minister Gordon Brown.  Michael’s eventual selection in Barnsley was no accident either, supported as it was by the Amicus “union machine”. We don’t remember him raising concerns over his union’s influence in politics at that time… Dugher says that history will judge unions “pretty badly”. If he represents what is now called a rising star in the Party, history will judge all of us badly.”

All together now: “Stand by your man“…

Red Len Sees Red over Ladies

Guido just bumped into an ashen faced Red Len McCluskey in Brighton. The union fat cat is speaking at a fringe event this lunchtime hosted by Unite political director Jennie Formby, coincidentally also the mother of his love-child. When Guido asked him whether this was nepotism he replied angrily:

“That’s unfair. Why don’t you go and make things up the way Guido always does?”

Always happy to correct the record if he has written something incorrect, Guido enquired just what he had “made up”.

He was greeted by silence from the usually vocal Len…

Pickles Pilgrim Reforms Will Save £400,000-a-Year

Militant PCS union getting off from their court battle with Eric Pickles hit DCLG in the pocket to the tune of £90,000. Good news then that the department’s union reforms are saving that figure several times over. New stats show cutting back on trade union facility time will save £400,000-a-year of taxpayers’ money. They have already cut back on the bonkers £245,644-a-year the department was spending under the Prime Mentalist in 2008/9, though £40,000-a-year is still far too high. An encouraging start but still a long way to go…

UPDATE: DCLG get in touch to stress that PCS now owe them money rather than the other way round.

GMB Millions Move Forced Ed’s Weak Hand

GMB Red Ed Ballot Paper

Within days of the GMB canceling their million pound direct debit to the Labour Party, Ed exonerates the unions from undemocratically stitching up MP selections. Brutal power politics at its most raw. Union member witnesses mysteriously withdrew their allegations that they were signed up to the Falkirk Labour Party without their knowledge, Karie Murphy withdraws her candidature and everything is swept under the carpet in time for TUC conference. Ed has bottled it…

The GMB made him leader, they pay the bills, they pull his strings on policy and they have now pulled his leash. Ed’s attempt to stand up to the unions has left him looking weaker…

Karie Murphy Withdraws From Falkirk Selection

Karie Murphy has released a statement where she claims

Throughout the controversy surrounding what we consider to be the revitalisation work in Falkirk both Stevie Deans and myself have maintained that we have done nothing wrong, and that our union Unite has done nothing wrong. … our objective of getting ordinary members actively involved in a vibrant local party has been forgotten in the media coverage. … I have met with senior colleagues from both Unite and the Labour Party and have agreed that reconciliation and unity are paramount. It is therefore, with great sadness that I must withdraw my name from any consideration to be the Labour Party candidate for Falkirk…

She and Steve Deans have been “exonerated” by Labour and had their party membership restored. Wonder if Eric Joyce fancies another crack…

UPDATE:  Statement from the Labour Party:

The Labour Party began an internal process to examine the controversy surrounding the selection of a parliamentary candidate for Falkirk. At each step Labour’s general secretary and NEC have acted quickly to protect the interest of the party.Since Labour began its internal process key evidence has been withdrawn and further evidence provided by individuals concerned. Karie Murphy and Steve Deans, who were suspended, will now be reinstated as they have not been guilty of any wrongdoing. No organisation or individual has been found to have breached the rules as they stood at the time.The general secretary has determined that given these circumstances Labour should move to select its candidate for Falkirk West.These steps will enable Labour in Falkirk without further delay to choose a candidate and prepare for the general election.

Evidence has been withdrawn? Wonder who put the heavies on…

LISTEN: Rachel Reeves’ Donation Porky

Sarah Montague didn’t pick Rachel Reeves up on the massive fib she told on the Today programme this morning. Reeves claimed that “most of the money that the Labour Party receives comes from small donations and members”.

[gigya src=”https://s3.amazonaws.com/boos.audioboo.fm/swf/fullsize_player.swf” flashvars=”mp3=https%3A%2F%2Faudioboo.fm%2Fboos%2F1581958-rachel-reeves-lies.mp3%3Fsource%3Dwordpress&mp3Author=WikiGuido&mp3LinkURL=https%3A%2F%2Faudioboo.fm%2Fboos%2F1581958-rachel-reeves-lies&mp3Time=10.54am+04+Sep+2013&mp3Title=Rachel+Reeves+Lies” width=”480″ height=”160″ allowFullScreen=”true” wmode=”transparent”]

Let’s take a look at the actual Electoral Commission figures:

So that’s just £354,692 from individuals in the last quarter. £2,414,412 from unions. Guido thought Reeves was meant to be good with numbers?

Pickles Refuses to Back Down as PCS Get Off on Technicality

Union fat cat Mark Serwotka’s plan to legal DCLG into submission over ending the automatic collection of union subs from civil servants’ salaries, the so-called check-off system, has worked. The PCS has got off on a technicality, meaning the taxpayer has to stump up £90,000. Pickles’s spokesperson says:

“This is a ruling on a technical point of employment law, based on a staff handbook drawn up under the Labour Government. We have already saved taxpayers’ money by abolishing full-time trade union ‘pilgrims’ and cutting back so-called ‘facility time’ to private sector levels. It remains Ministers’ intention to abolish check-off, which is an outdated and unnecessary practice given to trade unions, and epitomises a cosy and unhealthy relationship between the unions and the state.”

Serwotka’s claim that DCLG is wasting taxpayers’ money is risible given the reforms aimed to save taxpayers’ money in the first place. The department has a point when it rolls out the £250,000-a-year it is already saving by cutting back on union facility time. DCLG will still push to abolish check-off. Pickles is hardly going to give up that easily…

Unite Threaten Labour Conference Boycott

Unite’s NEC will debate a motion to boycott the Labour Party conference over the ongoing row over their attempts to stitch up the Falkirk selection. Unite in Scotland are urging:

“This committee also calls upon the NEC [national executive council] to consider the most appropriate means of advancing the case of Unite and its activists in relation to the Falkirk selection issue at the 2013 Labour Party conference in Brighton.  Should the suspension of Stephen Deans regional chair and Karie Murphy regional political committee delegate still be in place, the position of the Scottish delegation to the conference will be one of non-attendance in support of Stephen and Karie.””

Without prepublication of that report, there is likely to be fireworks at some point – where better than in the booze fuelled conference bubble. Or will publication only make it worse?

Via Paul Hutcheons

Gove Borrows Union Bashing Speech From Himself

Guido has been at Michael Gove’s speech laying into the unions this morning. All good stuff comparing Miliband to Kinnock and the unions to the Militant Tendency.

“The contrast with Neil Kinnock, who originally faced down the Militant Tendency over entryism, is striking and not at all flattering to Ed Miliband. While Kinnock moved bravely and remorselessly to eradicate Militant’s influence and Militant-sponsored MPs from Labour, Miliband has done nothing to stop the takeover of his own party. The sad truth is that charming, intelligent, eloquent, thoughtful, generous and chivalrous as Ed Miliband may be, in this critical test of leadership he has been uncertain, irresolute, weak. To the question of who governs Labour, his answer would appear to be, increasingly, the unions.”

One thing struck Guido more than anything else however, it almost felt like he had heard this speech before. For a reason. Worth taking a look at Gove’s speech making a very similar comparison back in March 2010.

“This is just the tip of iceberg of a new Militant Tendency in the next generation of Labour MPs. Labour’s re-unionisation has put them in bed with the past at a time when it is crucial that this country wakes up to the future. The last thing we need a political system where genuine participation in democracy is out-muscled by union power.”

And there’s more. Here is Gove today on Tony Blair:

“Tony Blair once argued that the Labour Party should not be the political arm of the trade union movement but the political movement of the British nation as a whole. That’s what One Nation politics means.”

Here is Gove on Tony Blair three years ago:

“Tony Blair wanted the Labour Party to be the political arm not of the trade union movement but of the British people as a whole. But now Labour has become once more the party of division – them and us, partisans and enemies, strikers and bosses.”

Today Gove talked of a “cadre” of Unite candidates:

“Unite wasn’t going to leave anything to chance. It would – like left wing entryist organisations – create its own cadre – or vanguard – of loyal activists.”

Three years ago?

“A new cadre of politicians have been installed, parachuted into fighting parliamentary seats on the strength of their links with the big unions, those who increasingly wield muscle within Labour.”

Points well made of course, then again he’s had plenty of practice.

Elsewhere, Gove brought his speech to a conclusion by asking “what would Tony Blair do?” Cue the first question being on intervention on Syria. Gove praised Hague again and again, insisting “I don’t know, I’m not on the national security council. My brief is education and generally domestic matters.” Encouraging words though on Pilgrims to finish up: “we shouldn’t have taxpayer subsidising union activity when that activity is often not in the public interest”. Something surely everyone can agree on…

Unite Indoctrinate Your Children With Socialist Propaganda

Imagine the terrifying image of Red Len McCluskey pouring his poison into your children’s ears as they sit defenceless in the classroom. With Unite’s creepy propaganda campaign targeting school kids, this is a reality. ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’, a website emblazoned with the Unite logo, has launched a series of videos aimed at teaching children how to organise public protests, make placards and fight against corporations and the evils of privatisation through the power of trade unions.

Weirdly the videos even attempt to use subliminal messaging, the fictional town featured is called Tethergo, an anagram of ‘together’. The plan is for the videos to be shown in PSHE lessons and by union speakers visiting schools. Coincidentally Labour want to lower the voting age to 16…

Falkirk Latest: Certification Officer Warns Unite

The Certification Officer – the body that overseas Trade Unions in the UK – has written to Unite the Union to make “it clear to Unite that his enquiries are intended to enable to him to ascertain whether he should use any of powers” in response to the Falkirk selection stitch up.  […] Read the rest

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Tory MP Nick Boles says what everyone thinks…

“There is a timidity and lack of ambition about Mrs May’s Government which means it constantly disappoints. Time to raise your game, Prime Minister.”

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