Ian Allinson, the grassroots socialist candidate for Unite General Secretary, said:
“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.
“Coyne would turn the clock back to the days when our union bankrolled New Labour while they kept anti-union legislation, privatised our public services through PFI and spent billions on illegal wars. Blairism undermined Labour’s base. People rejected it at the last two General Elections. In Scotland, where the Labour right remain in charge and continue failing to represent workers’ interests, they have almost completely destroyed their support. Coyne and his Blairite puppet-masters moan about non-existent left wing plots to take over Labour. Meanwhile Mandelson brags about working every single day to remove Corbyn. The Labour right have never stopped plotting.”
“It’s been great for Unite members to have a Labour leader who actually supports them. Anyone breaking from the failed consensus of austerity, privatisation and sucking up to the rich and powerful would face opposition from the establishment – in which I include much of the media and much of the Parliamentary Labour Party – right-wing careerists who are so out of touch that they abstained on the Tories’ Welfare Bill. Unite should be doing more to campaign at grass roots level on issues of concern to members. This can shift the agenda away from the Westminster bubble of Coyne’s backers.”
Allinson argues that Corbyn is at his most popular when speaking from the heart, but that he has been undermined by the incessant plotting of the Labour right. Allinson argues that Unite needs to implement its policy of requiring Labour MPs, like Unite reps, to stand for selection each term rather than almost having a job for life.
“The Labour right seem to prefer a Tory government to a left Labour one and are working hard to prevent that. Labour members have a right to hold MPs like that to account. Unite members have a right to demand they butt out of our General Secretary election, which is about much more than the future of Corbyn.”
According to Allinson the same lack of commitment to democracy is a feature of Coyne’s campaign for Unite leadership too:
“Coyne pretends that McCluskey can decide who to back for Labour leader, or major affiliations. These are matters for our conferences and our Executive, not one person. He shows the same contempt for democracy with many election pledges he simply cannot deliver. Both Coyne and McCluskey have been high up in the union machine for decades. I’m a workplace activist committed to a more bottom-up culture to make Unite a stronger union.”
Notes to editors:
Ian Allinson is a workplace activist at Fujitsu in Manchester who previously served ten years on the union Executive. Ian comfortably secured the nominations to be a candidate in the Unite General Secretary election. The other candidates in the election are Len McCluskey, the current General Secretary, and Gerard Coyne, Regional Secretary for the West Midlands.
Voting takes place 27 March – 19 April.
Ian is available for interview. For more information, call 07985 438 553 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photographs are available at www.ian4unite.org/resources/
Ian has recently been on strike at his workplace. Information about the Fujitsu dispute is here: https://ouruniontest.wordpress.com/fujitsu-national-dispute/.