Unite leadership contender Ian Allinson attacks rival Coyne as “Blairite hypocrite”

Ian Allinson, the grassroots socialist candidate for Unite General Secretary, said:Ian Allinson

“Coyne opened this election claiming that Unite’s leadership spent too much time on politics. Yet he has plenty to say on behalf of his New Labour backers like Tom Watson who are undermining Jeremy Corbyn. He’s paid for social media ads implying that he wants to overturn Unite’s democratic policy of support for Palestinian freedom in favour of backing the repressive Israeli regime. Coyne wants worse politics, not less politics. He is a Blairite hypocrite.”

Allinson has criticised McCluskey for his failure to publicly back Corbyn since the Copeland by-election defeat and for undermining him on key policy issues such as Trident and workers’ rights to free movement and equal treatment.

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Unite leadership challenger Ian Allinson welcomes McCluskey u-turn on council cuts

Ian Allinson, the grassroots socialist candidate for Unite General Secretary, has welcomed a u-turn by Len McCluskey over opposition to council cuts and called on Gerard Coyne, the right-wing candidate, to follow suit.Ian speaking on microphone on picket

Len McCluskey, the outgoing General Secretary of Unite who is hoping to be re-elected next month, is reported to have told a public rally in Leicester:

“The idea at the moment is that there are huge reserves that Councils have. Particularly in many of the Conservative shires but within Labour Councils as well there are significant amounts of reserves. There is an argument that says that Labour Councils should use those reserves in order to stave off cuts, or certainly the most damaging of cuts, until such time as relief arrives, or until such time as the cavalry arrives over the hill. And we support that.”

Allinson said:

“I welcome this u-turn from Len McCluskey. The Unite leadership’s opposition to this policy last year made campaigning against the huge local authority cuts imposed by the Tory government more difficult.”

“A serious attempt to stop the cuts would require industrial, political and community campaigning. It would mean putting industrial action against the implementation of cuts on the agenda – not just leaving it to a few councils where members have managed to push for this under their own steam. It would mean demanding that Labour councillors work with unions and their communities to campaign against the budget cuts being imposed by the Tory government rather than, in most cases, meekly implementing them. Members in local authorities and involved in local anti-cuts campaigns should work to put this into practice immediately and demand that Unite’s leadership backs them.”

“Members will also want to know what Coyne, the right-wing candidate, has to say. Will he join us in opposing cuts? Or would the be a step too far for his Blairite backers – the people who saddled public services with massive PFI debts to the private sector and who are more concerned with pursuing their own careers and cosying up to business than representing working class people?”

McCluskey’s speech reverses a 2016 policy conference decision he fought for. Allinson argues that this illustrates the top-down culture in Unite, McCluskey’s lack of respect for democracy, and the dangers of operating by maneouvre rather than principle. This unnecessary General Secretary election, arranged for his benefit (for the second time), is another sign of how McCluskey manipulates our union’s democracy to suit himself.

Allinson went on:

“We can have no repeat of the experience of 2013 when McCluskey’s anti-cuts election rhetoric was never delivered. Members need to get active to ensure we develop a serious plan to fight the cuts. We can’t depend on McCluskey, we have to depend on ourselves and each other.”

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Ian Allinson calls on Len McCluskey to urgently clarify his position on Corbyn’s leadership

Ian Allinson calls on Len McCluskey to urgently clarify his position on Corbyn’s leadership

Ian Allinson, the grassroots socialist candidate for Unite General Secretary, has called on Len McCluskey, (incumbent General Secretary) to give an unambiguous statement about his support for Jeremy Corbyn at the earliest possible opportunity.

Photo of Ian Allinson

Since the loss of Labour’s parliamentary seat in Copeland the attacks on Corbyn have continued.

Allinson said:

“Gerard Coyne, the candidate who claims he wants less Westminster power games, lost no time in hypocritically undermining Corbyn, in line with the views of his backers from the Labour right. They conveniently forget that it was New Labour that eroded Labour’s base, lost it Scotland, and turned safe seats like Copeland into marginals. Turning back the clock offers no answers”.

Len McCluskey has not issued a statement on continued backing for Corbyn despite increasing calls for clarity.

Allinson said:

“Len McCluskey needs to end the confusion about how reliable his support for Corbyn is, and whether that will continue if he is re-elected. He is avoiding giving a direct answer to questions on this, even with all the rumours of a ‘soft coup’.”

“My policies challenge some of the powerful vested interests that McCluskey wants support from. On green jobs, trident, nuclear power and freedom of movement my vision for Unite aligns with Corbyn’s values. There are big differences between me and the two establishment candidates. That may be why Len is hedging his bets and avoiding making a clear statement on his support for the Labour leader”.

Allinson argues that the pressure on Corbyn is about much more than leadership:

“Corbyn’s policies challenge the rich and powerful in the interests of the vast majority. Anyone doing this would face hostility from the establishment media and from Labour MPs so out of touch they voted for the Tory Welfare Bill. The answer isn’t to abandon attempts to stand up for working class people. The answer is to build resistance in our workplaces and communities now. And if some Labour MPs see attacking Corbyn as a higher priority than challenging the Trade Union Act then it’s time Unite acted on its conference policy of making MPs stand for democratic reselection”.

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Ian Allinson backs Jeremy Corbyn

Ian Allinson, the grassroots socialist candidate, explains his support for Jeremy Corbyn and why Corbyn supporters in Unite should back him in the General Secretary election.

Corbyn speaking to large crowd from top of fire engine
Photo: Alan Gibbons

It is unusual for an internal union election to be so tied up with the question of who leads the Labour Party.

As soon as this unnecessary election been called we started hearing voices from the Labour right urging people to join Unite to take part in the General Secretary election and undermine Jeremy Corbyn. It is a disgrace if well paid activists on the Labour right, even MPs, are joining Unite Community for this reason. Unite’s Rulebook makes clear “Unite Community Membership shall be open to all not in paid employment as well as those not seeking employment“. Community membership is not intended as a cheap route for people in paid work and who have no genuine interest in Unite’s community organising to interfere in our democracy. It is telling that Labour’s right are much less vocal urging people to join unions to defend their communities, jobs and rights at work.

The Labour right haven’t learned from Labour’s last two election defeats (or the international experience) and still think it’s possible to win elections with identikit politicians and middle of the road (i.e. pro-market, pro-austerity, anti-union and pro-warmongering) policies. They have no answers for the declining living standards, crumbling services and warming planet we face, let alone the international rise of support for fascist and right-wing populist parties. The Labour right have found their champion in Gerard Coyne, who says we mustn’t be “distracted” by party politics and accuses Len McCluskey of playing Westminster power games. In fact Coyne is playing the biggest Westminster power game of all. Pulling Unite’s support away from Corbyn would mean turning the clock back to the days when Labour leaders attacked us rather than backed us.

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