nick venedi

Saturday, 14 March 2009

The United Left in London

We are a few days away from the 2009 Regional Council AGM and the United Left in London are preparing for a battle to capture key positions with Malcolm from Croydon standing for Regional Convenor, Mandy going for deputy and Robert for Finance Convenor. All 3 are nice fine people and hold genuine beliefs and are good Trade unionst but I think the UL has failed to make the impact it needs to have made to ensure that they win an election. On the other hand when I stood two years ago under the UL label we came very close to wining and I only lost by 3 votes.
The mistake the UL keeps making is that it does not appear or looks like a very inclusive product and is seen by some, who are involved with regional politics, as an exclusive drinking club. This is of course not true but whether it is true or not the perception needs to be challenged and real evidence produced showing that the reverse is the case. The UL also need to show that they can work with the 'office' and not be seen to be preparing for continuous battle with the regional Secretary a day after they win. I am sure I am right in thinking that elections are lost by the UL because the floating voters vote against the UL rather than in favour of the alternative ticket. So more work needs to be done to convince those who believe in ruling by consent that a UL administration will produce the result that we all want. I know this is to be the case as I was Regional Finance Convenor for 5 years. The UL also made huge errors of judgement when they managed to convince Geoff Martin (who was an excellent Convenor) not to stand in 2006 that was a big mistake a mistake that we are paying for today. The UL also underestimate how clever the current administration are and ignore the fact that Gloria is a vote winner and John Gray has an established following and is seen as someone who is not afraid to speak his mind...
The UL can win if they learn from mistakes made from the past.

Nick Venedi


  1. Hi Nick
    Great post although I don’t agree with everything. I hope you don’t mind but I have posted on this here-

    Keep up the good stuff!

  2. Hello John

    I note your comments with 'interest'. (is that polite enough? lol) I said what I said and I mean it. The UL have made a few mistakes in the past and I hope they won't be repeating them again. They also need to shake off the negative image they have given themselves and recognise the power of the 10 to 20% of the floating voters at Regional Council elections and if they don't understand that they need to win these delegates over then they could be in trouble (again).

    They also need to 'demonstrate' that they can work with the 'office', something that I tried to do when I was Regional Finance Convenor (and was intensively criticised for that by them) They are all nice people and mean well but so was John Major.

    Anyway John I hope the UL can sort themselves out and learn how to 'respect' their 'enemies' (not that I accept we should have enemies within a TU movement). Hoping that the Regional Council on the 19th will be more civilised? Best of luck to everyone ( nice to know am not standing for anythig...)and I am supporting the UL with 'reservations'.

    Keep up the good work on yoour own blog!

  3. I am sure we will see how the voting goes on Thursday. I think that Malcolm Campbell, who I will be supporting as Convenor (and who can win elections in his own branch - unlike his opponent) would find it easy to work with senior officials (upon whose professionalism I am sure he could rely) and could lead an effective team to raise the profile of our Union in Greater London at a critical time for our members.

    My experience of UL comrades is not one of "disrespect" for those with different views (who are not I think "enemies") but rather of consistent support for a lay led democratic union. In working constructively with the office I know that you and Geoff Martin always asserted lay control and I know that this position has slipped a fair bit in recent years.

    The consequences of this have included serious problems for branches in obtaining support when it is most needed and a reduced effectiveness for our Union in Greater London.

    The UL is a broad and democratic rank and file organisation and without doubt UL candidates will once more have the support of branches representing a sizeable majority of the membership in the Region. Whether it will be the candidates of the left or the incumbents who will command a narrow majority of delegates at the Regional Council - we shall see...

  4. And as I said very clearly I am supporting the UL slate with some reservations.

    Malcolm will be an effective Convenor, Mandy has been there before and I worked with her so I know she is hard working and a good person and Robert has the enthusiasm needed to bring in changes. Will not shy away, however, from criticising and still insist that the UL has made a number of crucial mistakes in the past. The 3 top officer positions are (to start with) being contested by an all white local government ticket in a region where 40% of the membership is Black? And I also insist that whoever wins (and I hope its the UL people) they can work with the office. And I will not take anything I said back. There is no them and us there are just alternative approaches to collective problems. My criticism is that the UL 'appears' on the outside to look exclusive (in other words not inclusive) that does not mean that they are but that is the perception? Not to deal with that would be arrogant and ignoring it will cost votes. I know what I mean as I have followed how the UL works closely its an amalgamation (odd one) of Labour people SWP'S and a few others with the SWP being (in my opinion) the most honest component of it (does not mean I agree with most of their policies) and respect to the Socialist party (not part of it) for keeping a consistent line on the whole issues.

    But thanks for putting your response here rather than send emails to my private address or comunicate outside this blog (as a number of others have done) At least you (and Marsha) have done that. Good luck with the election on the 19th I will be there to help!

    Love and peace

  5. Jon Rogers in his comment dated 15th March states that Gloria can't win elections in her own branch whereas Malcolm can? Well Gloria has won elections with decisive majorities against united left candidates whereas Malcolm hasn't? There is spinning and bending the truth but the AGM will decide on the 19th.