Following a long campaign to decide the nominations for the Left Unity slate for next year’s PCS national elections the LU Scrutineers Interim Report was published on Sunday 25th November.
The report confirms the result of the ballot for all contested elections, including the Assistant General Secretary and National President. We are pleased that the results show both Janice Godrich and Fran Heathcote have been successful in their attempt to secure the LU nomination for the posts of AGS and President respectively. Alongside Janice and Fran all other nominees, supported by the Socialist View campaign, have also been successful.
This clear result is testimony to the campaign which has been run by Janice and her supporters, and to the difference in strategy put forward via the Socialist View throughout this campaign.
The difference in policy and strategy between those of us supporting Janice, and the supporters of the incumbent Chris Baugh, have become increasingly polarised in recent weeks especially in relation to national pay campaign. The choice between building our union’s capability to improve our organisation in every workplace to win on pay, proposed by Janice and her supporters, versus the strategy, argued for by Chris and his supporters, of disaggregated group ballots linked to other employer based issues, has been a key strand to this campaign. The outcome of this election reflects the positive campaign ran by supporters of Socialist View and indicates wider support for the belief we have in our members ability to win, against the conservative approach of our opponents.
Embarrassing and worrying response
This article was to highlight the importance of PCS Left Unity moving forward in a united manner in the wake of this election.
Unfortunately the statement issued yesterday by the current Left Unity Chair, Marion Lloyd – not addressed to Left Unity members as you might expect legitimate concerns to be raised, but outside of our organisation – does nothing to foster that unity and instead only serves to create further division and suspicion.
The statement claims that “legitimate issues” have been raised by Marion as to why certain votes have been disallowed. The interim report of the two scrutineers, one a member of the Socialist Party, has confirmed they unanimously agreed to disregard a number of votes as they clearly breached the Left Unity election regulations agreed by the LUNC, and which Marion herself was instrumental in drafting. The report also confirms the discounted votes would not “materially affect” the overall result, and yet Marion claims the opposite. It is unfortunate that two areas have had their votes disallowed for failing to follow the election regulations, but to be clear from the feedback we have had from those areas, the outcome of the result would not be affected even if they had complied. This includes the result for the key posts of AGS, National President and LU National Chair.
The third “clerical issue”, which Marion is well aware of, was that one area’s vote wasn’t received by the scrutineers, and yet incredibly she is also calling for these votes to be counted. How can they be?
As a result of Marion’s statement other supporters of Chris Baugh are now openly making accusations about the ballot result, suggesting “dirty tricks” and claiming LU members are being “disenfranchised”.
Comrades should ask themselves whether it would be acceptable to count votes that fail to comply with laid down, and agreed, LU regulations, and whether we should add “votes” not received by the scrutineers? Socialist View are unequivocal in our view that it would be a travesty to do so, and against the real “best traditions of Left Unity democracy”. Rather than this being an attempt to “brush over genuine issues” – as Marion’s statement accuses the Secretary of – this amounts to blatant interference in the democratic process by the chair as she is not happy with the outcome of the ballot.
Left Unity members will be disappointed with this latest development that should be seen by those on the left for what it is; a desperate attempt to cloud the ballot result, by falsely suggesting the election was close, and creating a suspicion of wrongdoing.
Socialist View supporters have every faith that the integrity of both this election, and the scrutineers, is intact and will defend both against any false accusation or recrimination.
This has been a difficult election for members of Left Unity and understandably many were hoping we would move forward once the result was declared.
That declaration will not be until later in the week it now appears. In the meantime we would hope for a calm debate within Left Unity, despite the actions of the LU Chair.
We have for years placed our trust in the independence and integrity of the two current LU scrutineers and never once had reason to question it. We would urge all members of Left Unity, regardless of who you voted for in this election, to not fall for this appalling attempt to create confusion and suspicion.
The election results are definitive and give Janice, Fran and their supporters a clear mandate from LU members. Whatever happens behind the scenes this week, nothing will alter that reality.