Yesterday Unite sent me the official notification that I have passed the 50 nominations required to be a candidate in the General Secretary election. I know of many more branches and workplace that have nominated me but whose nominations have not yet been received and accepted. If you haven’t yet submitted your nomination (online is best for branches, workplaces have to do it by post) please do so right away.
This whole election was arranged to benefit one candidate who wanted to cling on to office. It was called unexpectedly. The nomination period was halved. Despite stepping down so that Gail Cartmail is Acting General Secretary during the election, Len McCluskey continues to be promoted by Unite through press releases, statements and events. Running a campaign on a shoe-string I have faced two wealthy opponents with powerful backers. Yet members have decided that there will be a real contest. This election will not be reduced to a choice between more of the same with McCluskey, or turning the clock back politically and industrially with Coyne. Instead, members will be able to debate how to make our union stronger and more effective.
If we are to shake up Unite, this can only be done collectively. If you agree with what I’m standing for, get involved. If you haven’t already done so, please register using this form so that the campaign team can put you in touch with others in your sector or region. The campaign will be holding an organising meeting for supporters (not a public meeting) on Saturday 25th February in London where we can discuss how the campaign has gone so far and plan our next steps. If you’re a supporter – please come along.
The next phase of the campaign will be on a far bigger scale than nominations. We will need more leaflets, more events and more visits to workplaces. All this will require money. I’ve used most of my year’s annual leave on the campaign already. As a grassroots member I’m in no position to fund the campaign myself. If I can raise the money I hope to get unpaid leave to take the campaign round the UK and Ireland. Individuals can donate. You could take a collection in your workplace or branch. Branches which have nominated me can also donate.
Members have already sent a shockwave through Unite by getting me on the ballot paper. This wasn’t supposed to happen, but it has. Who knows what else is possible…