nick venedi

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

NEC Election special - Avanti Popolo!

I am going to avoid getting involved with directly supporting any fixed slate. I come from a Self Organised Group background and believe in the freedom of speech and the right to express personal views and opinions. I do not accept that it is scientifically possible, or desirable, for one specific 'ticket' to be able to produce a selection of the best candidates and a mixture of individuals from different backgrounds and opinions on the NEC will serve the broader interests.

The NEC election is a great opportunity for all members to vote and select those who we think, or know, will represent our interests better. So as I said in a previous entry I will be talking about the candidates I know and say what I think about what they have done or what they are capable of doing in my opinion.

Jon Rogers

Jon is already a member of the NEC and has worked hard to keep everyone he represents informed. He produces regular reports and updates and is always helpful to those who want information about what he does and what other NEC members do. In that respect he is truly capable, able and good at the job. His willingness to question and challenge what he sees as injustice makes him a good candidate. He is also pragmatic in his approach to problem solving and is more centre left than his opponents says he is. A good Labour party member who should, in my opinion, be reelected. He is also full of energy and enthusiasm, is kind and generous with giving up his time to help others. He needs to work on his sense of humour and renew his old jokes but that, in itself, is not a problem that should make him difficult to elect. A good all rounder and a charismatic leader one of the very few people I know who is capable of becoming an MP but does not want to! His role on the NEC makes him a natural! He must be returned and those who dislike him on the NEC will do better trying to work with him!

Marsha Jane Thompson

Newish vibrant young and willing to help. She deserves our support and should be given the chance to flourish. She has been unfairly targeted in the past and criticised but has a lot to offer. She makes up for her relative inexperience by showing undiminished enthusiasm and has lots of energy!

Louise Couling

Underestimated by those on the Ultra Left (whatever that means) she is clever and a smooth operator and commands more support than some think. She has also been involved with a number of successful campaigns and initiatives and she is more in control than others imagine her to be. She will no doubt win the NEC seat she currently holds and probably deserves to. She represents a sector of the membership that the left keeps ignoring....

Phoebe Watkins

A fantastic individual who works hard to represent members in her own branch. Her membership of the SWP could go against her but if members want to vote for capable individuals rather than party labels then she should get the support.

Conroy Lawrence

Conroy has shown determination and stamina by standing and winning the deputy Regional Convenor position twice. He should not be underestimated. Saying that I have not seen him come up with many initiatives but that could be because he hasn't been given the opportunity to do so?

Glen Kelly

Again if members were to vote on the basis of someones ability then he would win support. Glen is already a member of the NEC and he is well known.

Mandy Berger

Another interesting contestant and ex Deputy Convenor for London. She has done well at conferences before and could do well in this election. I don't think she is a member of the SWP any more? She needs to spend more time and effort convincing the UL people to understand the origins of SOG and make them work with SOG's!


  1. Well you should be more cocnerned about sorting out the mess in your branch before spending time campaiging for the same people who want to turn lambeth into an ultra left base?

  2. Hello Anon on 16 April

    Thanks for your message. No one is turning Lambeth (or is able to )into an ultra left base or wants to. Lambeth Unison is a vibrant, diverse, democratic Branch able to deal with all apsects of democracy including dealing with a variety of different opinions. Thanks for taking an interest.

  3. I know of Jon Rogers and he is well respected in London so I would endorse him as a candidate and hope others will do the same.

  4. My friend,
    You have ignored the fact that you have in the past been supported by the United Left so your comments will be seen as biased. You left a few people standing out so what kind of a review is this?

  5. The UL people say they support women candidates yet they fail to produce a majority of them on their list? Is this because women are clever enough to know what they are up to? I think they are!

  6. Anon at 19.59

    The United Left and many others have supported me in the past when I stood for election for the position of Finance Convenor but so did a number of independent and free thinkers. I am not a member of the UL and I have stated this previously. I have made comments about people standing that I know.

  7. A few comments on isues to do with the Greek community have been received. I have not published these as I have now moved that area of interest onto another blog (well working with a friend on that) so Greek community issues are now not to appear on here! I have accepted that mixing union stuff with Greek community news don't mix! Thanks for those who pointed this out. Eleftheria will be writing to those who made contact!
    Christos Anesti!

  8. Hang on my friend..

    Let me get this right. You obviously think Rogers is great which I might be able to swallow as you work with him? You think Watkins from the swp is fab and feel that Louise Cooling is great! What a coalition of odds and sods? You should take what you do more seriously as you obviously have a position of responsibility and you could influence members way to vote. There is nothing fluffy about the swp and the ul my friend! Time to come out and support the forces of light and reason! You know it makes sense.

  9. Just to state that I have received a few negative comments with links to other sites. My policy is to alays publish material that is critical but contributions that are merely designed to direct a reader to another site (unless important) will not be published.

  10. I would like to know why the UL are standing so few black candidates? Of course they have black candidates for the black seats, but having seen their list I don't think they've got any others. Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong. If I'm not wrong I'd be interested to hear their reasoning and why such ghettoisation is acceptable.

    And what about low-paid workers? I think they are only contesting two of the low-paid seats from what I've read. Haven't they got any more low-paid members?

    And I've spotted two senior disabled lay members activists standing who aren't backed by the UL, but don't recognise any of the UL members as active in UNISON's disability section.

    Finally I think the UL only have one LGBT candidate? Again, happy to be corrected.

    I'm not naming names in these last two groups because of confidentiality issues, but by any satndards overall its a very poor show in terms of being representative.

  11. There was some discussion on John Grays blog as to who was responsible for the English civil war and whether Oliver Cromwell was a tyrant or not. The obvious answer (one that has not been explored so far) is that the United Left had something to do with it and that Oliver was in fact misunderstood as he was trying to create a new SDP type of party that went horribly wrong...

    Mario Cavaradosi

  12. Dear Anon of 20 April at 7.39

    You ask why the UL are not standing more Black candidates and more women also LGBT members. And you also ask why they have not responded to these questions. Well I am afraid to say you are right on that one and they should provide an answer. I criticised them heavily for doing something similar for the London region AGM election. But unless I am wrong I think they have done well with women candidates in the London region? Am I right. But good and fair point and it needs to be answered publicly.

    Nick Venedi

  13. I received a comment from John Gray which I could not publish for technical reasons (It had a link and my editorial policy right now does not allow me to publish links to other blogs) John is asking the same question as anon above which is why did the UL not stand more women and Black members? And John is right on this one. The UL is wrong not to take the opportunity to answer these questions??

    Nick Venedi

  14. Dear Mario Cavaradosi

    Thanks for your comment which has been considered with the seriousness it deserves. I think you will find that the record shows that the UL was not constituted either before or immediately after the English civil war and historians believe that the first movement that could be linked to the UL was sometime near Queen Victorias coronation (not coronation street) Anyway I think that you should continoue your visits to the 'dentist' you never know it might work for you?
    Nick Venedi

  15. Hi Nick

    Just a quick one about the makeup of the slate.

    I can't answer on behalf of the UL (I'm not a member) and the Reclaim the Union slate is broader than the UL.

    While YM is not a SOG, I'm highly involved in the YM structures, at a branch level as a YM Officer, regionally as the Vice Chair of the South East YMF, and I've been elected onto the National YMF.

    I also self-define as disabled, but if you take a look on my website, I am very active in various different parts of the union, mainly in the Surrey County branch and in the South East region - and I can't be active in everything. My priority above the branch at the moment is the South East Young Members and rebuilding it from the bottom up. We've just agreed an ambitious but realistic programme for the next twelve months - if people want to find out more, please contact me.

    But I think a lot of this misses the point. The Reclaim The Union candidates put forward a vision of the union and what we should be doing over the next 12 months. The "Members In UNISON" slate would rather scurry around smearing the UL while avoiding indepth policy discussion, which is a shame, because it's a discussion the union needs to have.



  16. Hello Chris

    Thanks for your comments and good luck.

    Best wishes

  17. I think smear campaigns are poisonous and contrary to unison principles. we want people to work for us in the times ahead rather than indulge in crass and juvenile mud slinging -haven't we outgrown the infant's playground as activists? surely we will vote for people who can be bothered to let us know what they do for us, report back to us and feed our views as representatively as possible to the NEC -and let us know that is what they do.I don't hear much of that happening with the NEC at present -even from the very long established ones such as louise Cooling. my view -which is radical I know in these times of accountability -is let us know what you actually do and I may vote for you but if you simply copy MPs to claim expenses -then go away now. We have enough sties to clean.