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oct wordle

by Judas Iscariot - OCTOBER 2019

When you turn an election into a three-ring circus, there’s always a chance that the dancing bear will win.

Nancy Isenberg - American historian

Yes, it’s election time again and I don’t mean the general election that may be called in the very near future to resolve the Brexit crisis but the more parochial struggle to decide who is going to lead our great and glorious union for the next five years. The pundits think the outcome will be another victory for MARK SERWOTKA but there’s no such thing as a certainty in a union poll. A flaccid or complacent support base, a volatile membership or even a change in the weather can make the difference in a closely contested race – that’s why most unions’ general secretaries like to be elected unopposed.

All sorts of upsets can happen. Look at MARGARET HODGE, the 75-year old Blairite Labour MP for Barking who allegedly called JEREMY CORBYN a “fucking anti-Semite”. She is naturally loathed by the Corbynistas. But she’s now facing deselection after being stabbed in the back by right-wingers in her own constituency who think it’s time for her to make way for a younger candidate.

SERWOTKA has led PCS for nearly 20 years. He’s relying on his personal prestige, boosted by the fact that was 2018 - 2019 President of the TUC, a prominent but largely honorary position, to see off challenges from the two dissident wings of the left in our union. Though MAREK once relied on LUNITY to sweep in the votes he is, technically, an independent. He’s backed by the LEFT UNITY grandees who broke away from the SOCIALIST PARTY to set up a union-based faction called ‘SOCIALIST VIEW’ last year. He can also rely on the PCS DEMOCRATS, the SOCIALIST WANKERS and the COMMISSARS for support – though it has to be said that those three factions count for very little these days and their activists in PCS can be counted on fingers alone without having to remove socks to count toes.

His opponents come from the ranks of the SOCIALIST PARTY, the former MENDICANTS that have led the BIG TENT in PCS since its inception until the big bust-up last year when former President JANICE GODRICH broke ranks to challenge CHRIS BAUGH for the AGS post for which she won the LUNITY nomination, beating BOFF.

For personal reasons, Janice was not able to stand in the national election for AGS (see below).

The SP are fielding MARION LLOYD, another veteran from CPSA days, who is standing as an "Independent" (having been beaten by Marek in the LUnity hustings) as “socialist woman” on a 'no personal gain' platform vowing to "stay on my current wage and not take the general secretary salary” if she wins. We hope she's not trying to weaponise the word 'woman' because all of the candidates are socialists and 2 out of 3 for election identify as women.

The third candidate is BEV LAIDLAW, a long-standing member of the INDEPENDENT LEFT whose leader JOHN MOLONEY stunned the grandees last year by beating BOFF (and SERWOTKA’S chosen candidate, LYNN HENDERSON) in the AGS race.

A common claim is “not to take the salary for the job”. This was originally started by SERWOTKA and BOFF before they were first elected a couple of decades back. The full-timers’ union, the GMB and its predecessor union insist that the rate for the job is taken and it is up to the incumbent to donate the requisite portion of their salary back to PCS.

SERWOTKA and BOFF initially donated small amounts back, but this rapidly dwindled to zero. By contrast, new AGS MORONEY is publishing his wage slip and donations and only taking the EO wage. As this is IL policy, it’s difficult to see how BEV would not do likewise if elected. Remember, they also get their expenses paid and are not required to stay in cockroach infested B&B's when out and about on Union business!

Whether MARION would follow BOFF’s example once elected is a moot point as they are both in the heavily-tithed SP. MAREK is making no such promises as he has his South Wales palace, bought with members subs to run. Actually, we helped him buy a 3 bed semi in a cheap area just outside London when first elected and even bought the curtains for him. With his new found wealth (ie not donating money back to the Union as per his election pledge) he bought a 4 bedroomed detached house in leafy Coulsdon, Surrey (expensive area – stockbroker belt) and he's now sold that and moved back to his homeland in South Wales – where the money could buy several villages, including their foodbanks.

This will possibly be the only UK election in which Brexit doesn’t feature. SERWOTKA is a Remainer like BEV LAIDLAW while MARION LLOYD is a Brexiteer.

All three candidates come from the TROTSKYIST milieu that once held sway in CPSA but none of them talk much about it these days. All the candidates publicly back Labour. MAREK and BEV would like PCS to affiliate to Labour. MARION opposes largely on the grounds that led to the break between the old MILITANT TENDENCY and Labour in the early 1990s when the MILIs were purged.

Nominations close on 14th October. Every candidate needs 15 branch nominations to get on the ballot paper. Easy-peasy for SERWOTKA. Not a problem for BEV but MARION might have a fight on her hands.

The ousting of LEON BOFF dealt a massive blow to the Socialist Party and they didn’t want to risk another in running him again. BOFFY is still on the PCS payroll at his AGS salary of 78K and he’s still a senior full-time officer under the terms of a contract known only to the chosen few in the PCS bureaucracy. I don’t detect that he’s been given a mop and bucket yet, but time will tell.

MARION needs a credible vote to pave the way for a further BOFF challenge when SERWOTKA moves on, as rumour has it, to either the House of Commons or the Welsh Assembly. It’s doubtful she will get it, being a latecomer to the feast and a loser in the LUNITY election to choose a candidate. Then again, SERWOTKA lost the LUNITY election to choose a candidate to HUGH LANNING 20 years ago, then stood as an independent. As soon as his candidacy was announced, PFL proclaimed “Serwotka Wins!” and he did. We make no such claim for LLOYD.

The INDEPENDENT LEFT is playing a slightly different game. They didn’t field MORONEY as he was already in one top job which he would have to vacate in the unlikely but not impossible event of a SERWOTKA defeat. They hope that BEV will build on the goodwill that MORONEY has built up since he took up post in July.

SERWOTKA stands for continuity, but is continuity the way forward?. MARION is standing on her union record, and is standing as a “socialist woman” (sic - see above) and BEV is calling for transparency at Falconcrest, the reform of the vastly overpaid PCS bureaucracy and a robust campaign to restore national pay bargaining across the civil service.

You pays your money and takes your choice. My money’s still on MAREK. But I’ve got an each-way on BEV in case, and just got very short odds 11/10. Might have a win punt on Bev.
Hedging your bets should not be confused with hedge funding.

Meanwhile JANICE GODRICH is contemplating abstinence following the court case that ended her political career on the cusp of her greatest victory.

On the 5th July the Scottish Daily Record reported:

and on 7th August:

Sadly, Scotland and in particular Glasgow, is renowned for its drinking culture and the promotion of drink related antics (cf Rab C Nesbitt). Scottish courts therefore tend to be more understanding when it comes to drink-related violence than for miscreants south of the border who might anticipate a custodial sentence …

Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons.  
1 Timothy 4:1 ESV