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ROUND AND ABOUT
by Judas Iscariot - June 2000

The knives are out with a vengeance now as the MODERATI and ME FIRST square up over the question of the general-secretaryship in what is becoming the biggest turf-war seen in the new union so far. The ballot forms are ready for the referendum including the separate ballot on A195 which could precipitate a general secretary election.

BARRY'S response has been a predictable lurch to his lawyers arguing that his contract will be breached and so on. This might work - though it's clear that UNDY has also been taking expert advice - but if it does ME FIRST may well be tempted to carry out their threat to sack him. He can go bleating to a Tribunal about unfair dismissal and may well win the £250,000 compensation some reckon the case could cost. But no tribunal can re-instate a sacked employee and some of the ME FIRST clan think that this would be a price worth paying to see the back of the GREAT SCOT.

Whether this would prevent BARRY from standing for the post again is doubtful but it would seriously weaken his campaign. But an insight into the thinking of the highest echelons of ME FIRST was given by JAMES UNDY writing in the e-mail unofficial rank-and-file chat group "altpcs". UNDY is taking LEFT UNITY supremo ALAN RUNSWICK to task for bragging about how LU extorted some concessions out of ME FIRST on the NEC in exchange for their five votes on the key referenda issues.

UNDY says: "Dear All, I was disappointed by the triumphalist (and inaccurate) tone of Alan Runswick's message to this newsgroup and his report of the first NEC on Left Unity's Website. If you want to work with like-minded people around a common agenda that's really not the way to go about it. Just for the record, the way the NEC meeting panned out Peter Donnellan decided to put A195 to the vote separately so JGS Reamsbottom could have no complaint about his personal position (as he sees it) being wrapped up with other issues. Once A195 had been given the green light by the NEC Membership First could quite easily have voted against putting A71 to the vote and to put a No recommendation on A192. We didn't because, flawed we believe they are, we are sympathetic to their underlying aims. The importance of this argument is not bruised egos. It's how activists across the political spectrum win the struggle to take control of this Union from the National Moderate Group, their backers and their place people. Let's just remember what happened in this year's NEC election. Branch limitations plus Carol Popplewell's independent candidacy landed Left Unity with three seats in the Admin and Allied grades. Membership First's organisation in the Executive Grades largely held the Mods at bay. But however deplorable/potentially illegal the Mods tactics, by and large they worked. PCS' members are a conservative lot, and the last thing we need in the weeks and months to come is for Barry et al to be able to paint the ballot on A195 and the General Secretary election that follows as driven by the hard left. If the mass of the members believe that, this is a fight we will lose. It is because of this we launched at Conference the non-factional Campaign for a General Secretary Election (chaired by Les Priestley, co-ordinator Bob Bowman). MF have our views as to who should run - it would be, in my opinion, grossly irresponsible to take on the Mods machine without having first checked you have a potential candidate with the courage to stand and the credibility to win. But we want to work with the LU members on the NEC (and the three independents, whose views - and votes! - we value as much) to ensure that whoever becomes the activists' candidate of choice carries a mandate to reform this Union and break out of the factional silos that all but destroyed CPSA. To that end, let's all recognise what a hard task we have ahead of us, stop trying to score points and work together with courtesy and sensitivity."

RUNSWICK gave a spirited reply far too long and boring to reprint but the curious can get all the texts by joining the altpcs e-group (the easiest way being to click on the link on the LEFT UNITY Website - the address is on our "Post Conference Roundup" page. Or for the idle among you, click to send a blank email to altpcs-subscribe@egroups.com

ME FIRST are being unusually modest at the moment and seem to have forgotten that at the last night of Blackpool Conference we all got our "LANNING 2000" badges and promises - so far unfulfilled - of T-shirts to come. But they can always hope that LEFT UNITY see it their way. If the Trots were to stand down Lanning would get a landslide. That is a very unlikely scenario. LEFT UNITY meets shortly and they will almost certainly plump for a candidate of their own. Theoretically they could even win in a three-horse contest - though few would put their money on it - and they certainly will gain recruits and much needed publicity in the campaign. The almost eclipsed UNITY group, mauled in the elections by their rivals on the left and right, is also due to meet soon. UNITY'S younger element, which in their context means anyone under 50, is arguing for some sort of merger with LU. This will be opposed by the Unity full-time cabal, who wants the cosy relationship they believe they will have when UNDY'S men take over. As for the Moderati, they hope BARRY'S legal tactics of stall and stall will win the day. If not we are going to see the mother of all contests this year. __________________________________________________________

Reamsbottom obtained his injunction last Friday (15/06/00) against PCS. Thought you'd like to know. Barrabas.