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by JUDAS ISCARIOT - Early September 2018

Back to battalion headquarters was about 800 yards; at night it would take a runner about two hours to get there. One would hear men who had missed their way and got stuck in the mud calling out for help that often could not be sent to them. It would be useless for only one or two men to go, and practically all the troops were in the front line and, of course, had to stay there. All the time the Boche dropped shells promiscuously about the place. He who had a corpse to stand or sit on was lucky.

It’s that time of year again when most of us pack our bags to catch the sun and leave the woes of work behind for a week or so. But there’s plenty to do in the trenches these days despite the astronomical temperatures we’ve had to put up with over the past two months.

We certainly can hold our heads up high over the pay ballot. Though we didn’t cross the new 50 per cent threshold imposed by the May regime with a 41.6 per cent turn-out 86 per cent of those who voted opted for action. While the union is looking to see what pay action can be taken at a group level the leadership is trying to build a common front with the high-castes to resume the campaign at a national level.

PCS, together with Prospect and the First Division Association, have come together to take legal action against the Government after the Government Legal Department revealed that the Cabinet Office never intended to consult the unions over its pay remit guidance in the first place. This “guidance” limits departments to offering pay increases to 1-1.5 per cent this year, far below that offered to other public sector workers.

The three unions are considering legal action in the form of judicial review because they had not been consulted.  But the government says the unions had no legitimate expectation of consultation.  Or as our great and glorious leader, MARK SERWOTKA, put it: “Not content with reneging on its commitments to engage in consultation on an issue as fundamental as our members’ pay, the government is now adding insult to injury by claiming it never intended to consult in the first place. This shambolic state of affairs cannot go unchallenged and we will now pursue this matter to the High Court”.

The pay campaign has also provided a convenient distraction for the grandees who want to sweep the simmering row between JANICE GODRICH and CHRIS BAUGH, both leading members of the Socialist Party, under the table in the forlorn hope that BOFF will stand down for the good of the Socialist Party.

There’s not much chance of that. JANICE will still be president if LEON BOFF wins so she has everything to gain and nothing to lose by gunning for the AGS post. BOFF, however, can only look forward to a comfortable retirement it he’s defeated next year.

BOFF can count on the continued support of his SOCIALIST PARTY comrades whose paper said: “PCS members in both Left Unity and the wider union at all levels, will be shocked and disappointed that Janice Godrich intends to stand against a fellow Socialist Party member Chris Baugh for PCS Assistant General Secretary (AGS), with the encouragement and support of PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka” soon after we got back from Brighton. But discipline and determination is waning in the ranks of the once mighty MENDICANT TENDENCY.

 North of the border the knives are out in what’s left of the SCOTTISH SOCIALIST PARTY. Last week CONNOR BEATON, who was elected as the SSP secretary at the last conference, dramatically resigned while a former member of the Scottish parliament, FRANCES CURRAN, who still sits on the SSP’s executive council, says her party is in the “worst position” it has ever been in during its 19-year history.

 JANICE, who has been the high-profile president of PCS  for its entire history, has the backing of most of the grandees at Falconcrest and she can count on the support of MARK SERWOTKA  when her campaign starts in earnest.

 LEON BOFF will be standing on his “record” but according to his enemies, who are legion, that counts for less than nothing. The JANICE camp say - with some justification - that BOFF has proved useless in handling national finance; a major role in the AGS brief following the demise of the DGS and National Treasurer posts as part of past cost-cutting exercises. They also impugn his loyalty, pointing to his plan to take the reins from MARK SERWOTKA while  our great and glorious leader was in hospital awaiting his heart-transplant.
 
If it was just a two-horse race, JANICE would clearly trounce BOFF. She has been the public face of the union, together with MAREK, for years while CHRIS’s appeal barely goes beyond the SP rank-and-file. But it’s not now down to them. The INDEPENDENT LEFT has long loathed both of them and they’re itching to join the fray.

Last week TROTSKY’S INDEPENDENT TRADERS confirmed that it will be standing a candidate for the Assistant General Secretary (AGS) election, which will take place next year. This they say “is to allow members a real choice between the status quo (as represented by Janice Godrich and/or Chris Baugh) or radical change in the union.
“Our candidate will stand on a worker’s wage – they will not accept the £90K that is on offer. Incidentally, Godrich has offered to do the same, but it will be interesting how they each define what a 'workers wage is..

Both Janice Godrich and Chris Baugh are content for PCS to remain a typical TUC union. So full time officers (FTOs) are paid wages that many PCS members can only dream of,  there are no elections of FTOs beyond those required by law and there is top down organisation where branches and activists have to ‘go’ to FTOs to get things done. 

“Most conference motions passed remain unactioned and the members are there to do the things that the leadership wants; to be switched on when needed (to vote in the strike ballot) and to be switched off when not (as between the end of the consultative ballot and the beginning of the ballot campaign proper – our only role being to arrange increasingly pointless pay day demos).

“Neither candidate recognise the state that the union is in. Unfortunately failing to reach the legal threshold in the pay strike ballot does not seem to have acted as ‘wake up’ call to either of them.

“In contrast we want all FTOs on wages that are the same of those they serve; all FTOs who represent members to be elected; for PCS to be really a membership lead union; for the union to back members and activists who want to fight, rather than act as a brake; for the union to be open so members are told in detail what the union is doing; for lay officials to lead all negotiations and for democracy to be more than just annual elections and conferences.

We recognise that losing the strike ballot demands a fundamental re-think of how we organise and work. We truly do ‘get it’. Electing our candidate will not be enough but we have the choice; more of the same or a start towards radical change.”

Their two strongest candidates, BEV LAIDLAW and ANNETTE WRIGHT, are well-respected GEC members in DWP and R&C. Whoever is chosen is bound to present a serious challenge to LEON BOFF and JANICE GODRICH. They can’t be accused a splitting the left vote as JANICE has already done it. The IL will jeer at the failure of the other candidates to achieve anything substantial over the years and they will argue that if members want real change and a fighting union the only choice is the INDEPENDENT LEFT. It’s an old tune which frankly has left them marginalised for years at a national level. But a divided  grandee vote could even see IL winning their biggest prize for years at FALCONCREST.

One of the INDEPENDENT LEFT’S more mouthy comrades was LEE ROCK (PFL passim) who was sacked on trumped up charges of “unsatisfactory attendance” in 2013. He eventually won reinstatement in a case that was supported by PCS at the ET and retired two years ago. LEE, like most of his IL pals, embraced the new politics of the LABOUR PARTY which inevitably put him on a collision course with the Blairite bureaucracy that is still fighting a bitter rear-guard action against anyone actively supporting the line of Labour leader, JEREMY CORBYN.

In July ROCK was informed by Labour’s notorious disciplinary body that he may be in breach of the rules for the heinous crime of arguing “in favour of masturbation in the workplaces” on one of those ludicrous discussions that often takes place on Facebook.

The fact that he wasn’t even a member of the Labour Party when this online discussion took place makes it even more absurd. Like tens of thousands of others LEE ROCK only joined Labour in July 2016 in order to support Jeremy Corbyn in the face of yet another coup attempt. That, of course, is why he was targeted in the first place…Wanker.

In other news, the NHS are now renting space in FALCONCREST for £600K a year, so now all PCS members are a drain on valuable NHS resources. Members visiting FALCONCREST may of course use the new NHS resource if they require the services of GUM (Genito-Urinary Medicine). This is the re-imagined name for a Clap Clinic.

The nice thing about being a celebrity is that, if you bore people, they think it's their fault.
Henry Kissinger
American statesman, political scientist and diplomat