The long awaited UNISON General Secretary Ballot Result has
been announced resulting in a victory for the incumbent, Dave Prentis, with
Roger Bannister in second place and Paul Holmes, the candidate favoured by the
Unison United Left and Unison Socialist Appeal Supporters, in third place.
The results are as
follows (together with the votes from the 2005 GS election):
Jon Rogers (UUL)
While no doubt supporters of Paul Holmes will be
disappointed by the headline figure, a little analysis of the trend between the
two elections brings out a much more encouraging figure.
Prentis’ vote fell by some 39,000 votes, while Bannister’s
rose by a mere 1,200. Paul Holmes vote was 9,800 votes higher than that
achieved by left NEC member Jon Rogers in 2005.
So the net effect was a fall in support for the union
leadership of 21.3% while the Socialist Party candidate Roger Bannister, who has
consistently argued for disaffiliation from the Labour Party, only managed to
increase his vote by 3% after 5 more years of an unpopular Labour Government.
On the other hand, Paul Holmes managed to build on Jon Rogers 2005 campaign and
secured a 53.6% increase in the non sectarian left vote.
This reflects an important development which can be
explained in part by Paul’s personal standing and more importantly his ideas,
many of which we whole heartedly support. It is also extremely significant that
the main swing in this election was towards Paul Holmes as the United Left
Candidate and not towards the narrow sectarian position of the Socialist Party,
which revolves largely around a divisive position of disaffiliation from the
On the other hand, Paul’s result also reflects the weakness
of the UNISON Left, which lacks a fully developed national structure at present
but also needs to arm itself with a clear socialist programme to mobilise the
membership in the coming period. The UNISON United Left has a lot of work to do
to tap the potential that exists within the union to develop a strong
opposition to the Con Dem government and the limited and indecisive outlook of
the UNISON leadership, Paul’s campaign; coming as it does at the beginning of the
beginning of the Tory Government, lays down a marker for the future. UNISON
Socialist Appeal Supporters will play an increasing role in that opposition.
Message of Thanks to all campaign supporters from Paul Holmes
GENERAL SECRETARY ELECTION
live in interesting times. Can I begin by thanking all those who
campaigned for me in the election? It was both an honour and a
privilege to have the support of such fine people.
name individuals because I don’t think that would be egalitarian or in
the spirit of a collective campaign. But those who did campaign for me
were people I am proud to be associated with.
I also thank those
who voted for me. The turnout was 14%. That was the problem. To win we
had to increase the turnout. It was too near the general election.
Things will change enormously over the forthcoming period and the union
will need to be transformed to face the challenge.
It will be
interesting to see how many ”leaders” leave the movement over the
next 12 months and how they are replaced by those who want to fight.
We have no choice but to fight and re-learn the lessons of old.
Tories haven’t changed and neither has the struggle. Some comfortable
Labour MP’s and trade union officials may think that the class struggle
is over but those reared on the playing fields of Eton are returning to
try and put us in our place.
I have thoroughly enjoyed the
election campaign. It was uplifting to meet so many committed
activists, who are a credit to the union. I have been invigorated by
visiting branches who are doing such good work.
My faith and
confidence in socialist ideas has been strengthened during the
campaign. Our members are the ‘lifeblood’ of this union. Our aim should
be to represent members not control them. The gratitude and warmth of
someone you represent is worth ten times as much as material gain or
Once again thanks for your support. To quote the immortal Shelley;
‘Rise like Lions after slumber
In unvanquishable number –
Shake your chains to earth like dew
Which in sleep had fallen on you –
Ye are many – they are few.’
Or to quote the Man from North Gawber;
‘I learnt my socialism on the end of a shovel’.