Mandela’s contested legacy Mike Phipps collates some of the less mainstream assessments of the leader of South Africa’s liberation struggle. [continue...]
Mandela’s economic legacy By Michael Roberts The death of Nelson Mandela reminds us of the great victory that the black masses of South Africa achieved over the vicious, cruel and regressive apartheid system first encouraged by British imperialism and then adopted by a reactionary and racist white South African ruling class to preserve the privileges of a tiny few. Mandela spent 27 years in prison and the people he represented fought a long and hard battle to overthrow a grotesque regime, backed by the major imperialist powers, including the US, for decades. [continue...]
Police called after rebel councillor refuses to leave ‘shameful’ Town Hall meeting [continue...]
No more Blacklisting.
Make the culprits Own Up! Pay Up! Clean Up! [continue...]
New Statement for a Fighting Policy against all Local Government Cuts By Councillors against the Cuts [continue...]
Help to Buy – a “mortgage debt escalator”? By Martin Wicks Like all the other coalition government housing policies Help to Buy is already a resounding success. It must be, the government says so. In a press release it boasts that HTB “puts a new generation of home owners on the housing ladder”. Well, not exactly a generation, but 2,384 applications. According to the government the average lending taken out by these people is “around £155,000 for houses worth £163,000.” They face an average monthly payment of £900 and, apparently have an average annual household income of £45,000. [continue...]
Overwhelming support for public ownership The British people are not stupid. They know that neoliberal, neoclassical ‘free market’ economics does not work, even if they don’t use those terms. In a survey by YouGov, the leading public opinion pollsters in the UK, more than two-thirds of those asked wanted the railways, the energy companies and the postal service renationalised. [continue...]
Unite can’t be left to resist Cameron’s smear campaign alone Seumas Milne in the Guardian, Wednesday 13 November 2013 [continue...]
John McDonnell defends Keith Henderson against dismissal as officer of the GMB John McDonnell has written to Ed Miliband to express his concerns of the possible involvement of Mr Miliband’s office that has led to the discriminatory treatment that Keith Henderson has received by his former employer the GMB Union. He has also written to Paul Kenny repeating his offer of mediation. [continue...]
UNITE and Falkirk Labour Party: the facts
In July this year Unite was subjected to a major campaign of criticism regarding allegations of misconduct in the affairs of Falkirk Constituency Labour Party – in essence that the union had tried to manipulate the selection procedure for a Labour candidate for the constituency outside the Party’s rules. The union was enjoined by a range of political and media voices to take these allegations seriously and investigate them.
The core of the allegations, which have now resurfaced in a distorted form in the media, were contained in an internal Labour Party report into Falkirk. Unite has not received a copy of this “Falkirk report” to this day, although a senior Unite official was allowed to read a copy at Labour Party headquarters in July. This report included serious allegations against Unite itself, against Stevie Deans (Chair of Falkirk CLP and also of Unite Scotland) and against Karie Murphy, the candidate Unite was supporting for the Labour nomination. This report could in no sense be considered a final investigation, since it was no more than a list of allegations, some submitted by a rival candidate for the Labour nomination, Ms Linda Gow. Those preparing the report had spoken neither to Mr Deans, nor to Ms Murphy nor to any representative of the union. Therefore on grounds of natural justice alone, and without considering further the adequacy or otherwise of the report, it could not be considered a final investigation into what had occurred in Falkirk. It was, at most, a “case for the prosecution”, without the defence being called.
Since the report was also handed to Police Scotland, it was natural for Unite to engage solicitors in Scotland, to represent the interests of the union . Bridge Litigation of Glasgow was so engaged, and on July 22 were emailed a list of potential witnesses who may have been prepared to provide statements relating to the allegations contained in the original “Falkirk Report”. This list included four members of the Kane family.
It is important to understand that the members of the Kane family are not, and never have been, members of Unite. They were not recruited to the Labour Party by Unite, and the union did not pay their first years’ subscription (as it had done legitimately for those Unite members it had recruited to the Party, under the rules as they stood). Indeed, this allegation was not even made in the “Falkirk report”. Unite has had no contact with the Kanes throughout, although they are part of Mr Deans’ family.
At the time of this investigation solicitors had been retained by Mr Deans, supported by Unite. Mr Deans was contemplating legal action on a number of grounds and this was a matter that had, of course, also been referred to the police. On 30th July Donnelly Kinder solicitors sent to Mr Deans a statement that looked to clarify the position of the Kane family in regard to their Labour Party membership and an amended statement was sent by them to him the next day. This was not a matter of the Kanes “withdrawing their evidence”. That phrase appeared in the Labour Party statement issued on September 6th 2013, it was not used by Unite. The Kanes were instead clarifying, or supplementing, the material in the “Falkirk report”. The statement drawn up by Donnelly Kinder was sent to Mr Deans, for onward transmission to the Kanes, his relatives, as at this stage solicitors acting for Mr Deans had not made direct contact with the Kanes. However, on further consideration, and having taken further advice, this statement was never used, or given to the Kanes. It was felt that instead Bridge Litigation, a firm from the Scottish jurisdiction and familiar with the taking of formal precognitions (the taking of which is standard procedure in Scotland), should make contact with all potential witnesses including the Kanes.
The reference to a statement in an email leaked by Ineos to the Sunday Times (27/10/13) is out of context - it is a reference to a confidential exchange between a solicitors firm (Donnelly Kinder) and a client (Mr Deans) and has given rise to confusion. It is a reference to a statement that was never used and never forwarded to the Kanes or to the Labour Party and can therefore have had no influence on proceedings whatsoever. The reference in the Sunday Times to a Unite official having drafted the (unused) statement, is also incorrect.
In fact, qualified solicitors from Bridge Litigation attended on the Kane family at their home and took statements from them clarifying their Party membership situation on August 1 2013. Affidavits were then drafted by Bridge Litigation for members of the Kane family. On August 23 Kevin Douglas, Solicitor and Notary Public of Gair & Gibson, solicitors of Falkirk, attended the Kanes at their home, when these affidavits were notarised, Mrs Lorraine Kane making a handwritten amendment to her affidavit in relation to a particular point.
On September 2 Bridge Litigation emailed the Labour Party copies of the affidavits from the Kane family, and the Labour Party acknowledged receipt the same day. This is the only statement submitted by Mrs Kane to the best of Unite’s knowledge, additional to the statement included in the initial “Falkirk report”. Unite was not involved in the drafting of the Kanes’ affidavits. All preparation and drafting was carried out by solicitors who in turn, as would be expected, retained entirely independent solicitors for such affidavits to be notarised.
A similar procedure was adopted in relation to statements taken from some of the other individuals named in The Sunday Times (3/11/13). In addition, Unite itself verified that all of its members who it did recruit to the Labour Party under the then-extant Union Join scheme had indeed willingly consented to join the Labour Party. In view of all this new or clarified evidence, it was evident that the allegations asserted in the original “Falkirk report” could no longer hold water. The Party then issued the statement on September 6, which made it clear that Unite, Mr Deans and Ms Murphy had done nothing wrong and had broken no rules. Police Scotland had much earlier found no basis for any criminal investigation in the matter.
The material published in the newspapers in the last ten days, and in the Sunday Times in particular, adds absolutely nothing to the material the Labour Party already had to hand when it made that decision in early September. Indeed, it is nothing but a rehash of the much older allegations contained in the original “Falkirk report”, committed to paper before any of those accused had been provided with an opportunity to challenge or rebut the charges laid against them. It is doubtless for that reason that the Sunday Times declined to publish Unite’s refutation of the allegations printed on November 3, allegations entirely drawn from a partial version of the original “Falkirk report”, since it would have made it clear that the sensational “new evidence” was nothing of the sort. This recklessly misleading media coverage has generated considerable confusion, which this statement will hopefully contribute to clarifying.
The Labour Party is therefore entirely correct to say that, once it had independently established that Mrs Kane remained content with her affidavit of September 2, no new evidence has been produced which would justify a fresh investigation.
On this flawed and flimsy basis, a tremendous media witch-hunt has been launched against Unite. This is testimony only to the extent to which sections of the press and broadcast media are much more capable of grasping the agenda of Lynton Crosby than they are of inquiring into elementary facts. The public is ill-served by this sort of journalism.
November 5 2013 [continue...]
Swedish Free Schools – a failed model By Jonathan Clyne in Sweden In 1995, just after the so called ‘free schools’ were introduced in Sweden, my eldest son started school. We had heard and read much good about Montesorri pedagogy, so when a new school opened nearby that was going to follow Maria Montesorri’s methods, we enrolled him. We had our misgivings. These schools were privately run, but government financed. But we thought we should not be ‘ideologically blinkered’ at the expense of our son. [continue...]
Co-op Bank: a tragedy By Mick Brooks The co-operative movement, together with the Labour Party and the trade unions, is the third wing of our labour movement. Co-op Bank customers learned with dismay in October 2013 that the Bank has just fallen into the hands of predatory hedge funds. 10,000 Co-op Bank workers tremble for their jobs. The Bank’s ethical policy, such a striking and pleasant contrast to the rapacious greed and social irresponsibility of the commercial banks’ lending, is likely to be torn up. [continue...]
Why is Labour silent on this viciously anti-migrant bill? On the day the Home Secretary announced she was abandoning the Government’s racist “Go home” vans - trialed in Brent this summer to a huge public outcry - the Labour frontbench decided to sit on their hands in the vote on the second reading of the new Immigration Bill. [continue...]
INEOS: Grangemouth threatened with closure By Mick Brooks Last week boss Jim Ratcliffe ordered Grangemouth oil refinery to be closed. He did so despite Unite calling off their threat of strike action due to take place on Sunday 20th October. This is a lockout of nearly 1,400 workers which could soon bring large parts of Britain to a standstill, with millions of jobs potentially under threat. Grangemouth supplies Scotland and Northern England with petrol and diesel, is in a supply chain with a myriad of subcontractors and is a key link in bringing North Sea oil onshore through the Forties pipeline. Ratcliffe seems determined to take on the union. On October 23rd he made a shock decision announcing the permanent closure of the plant. [continue...]
Keith Henderson and the GMB. Earlier in October we published material about the dispute between Keith and the GMB leading to his dismissal from a full-time position with the Union and the resulting Employment Tribunal decision. Here Keith puts his case in a letter to LRC members: [continue...]
act | atos | bbc | bma | british gas | build a socialist tendency | build anti-cut tendencies in labour | build socialist currents in the labour party | by-election | cambridge | capitalism | care home crisis | carerwatch | class | coalition government | conference | council houses | council housing | councils | croydon