11/04/2013 by socialistfight
The Socialist Unity blog have posted a shockingly reactionary witch hunt in comments on an article by Jim Kelly attacking Jerry Hicks, the SWP and Chris Ford.  But the attack on Gerry Downing is by far the worst. Sean McGovern denies Brianthedog is Jim Kelly but there really is no doubt that he is. He could try suing the Socialist Fight to protect his anonymity!
Four Goals’ attacks Jim Kelly’s reactionary post, Posted by Four Goals 16 March
31. “Unite is a general workers’ union, where many of our members earn anything from around £25,000 to £60,000+ for senior grades in some sectors” OK, so a small minority of members might earn over £26,000 (and how many of them will be working many hours of overtime or working very unsocial hours to get this sort of money), but far more will be like me- I’m a bus driver working for the UKs largest bus operator and I earn just less than £18000. And when I talk to my workmates about the GS wage they are astounded and shocked- its just wrong and to argue that just because the job involves a lot of responsibility the pay should be enormous, is no different to the argument used by bankers, company directors, etc.
Andy Newman follows up the witchhunt on Jerry Hicks, the SWP and Chris Ford by launching the following vile witchhunt on Gerry Downing 18th March:
61. Brianthedog: The rape scandal SWP and Chris Ford- Don’t forget Gerry Downing’s support. Recently pursued for libel by UNITE official Wayne King (I find that name hard to believe too, what were his parent thinking?), and then I understand recently sacked from his job on the buses for verbally abusing a passenger travelling with a mentally distressed child. It is the fucking A team
Posted by Darren Cahil
65. “Andy Newman: Don’t forget Gerry Downing’s support. Recently pursued for libel by UNITE official Wayne King (I find that name hard to believe too, what were his parent thinking?), and then I understand recently sacked from his job on the buses for verbally abusing a passenger travelling with a mentally distressed child. It is the fucking A team”. Libel? It is an anti-free speech law for the rich! Also, judge and jury on Gerry Downing, kicking people when they’re down, says a lot about you. Instinctively side with the manager/privileged class, says a lot about your class loyalties.
Posted by Brianthedog
65. Calling for a trade unionist to be sacked whilst knowingly spreading all over the place nasty lies (HR at a logistics company unrelated to Downing even reprinted his lies and spread them around the workplace during a dispute in an effort to undermine the members and Mr King) that you know will severely damage their reputation, career and cause grievous upset to them, their family and their union is not the preserve of the rich it’s the preserve of a coward and someone who thinks they are accountable to no one. It’s just the characteristics you do not need for a trade union but no wonder Downing is Hick’s right hand man. Mr Cahill can stay in the cesspit and try and defend this filth but we would rather not.
Posted by Brianthedog
68. Darren Cahil: Libel? It is an anti-free speech law for the rich! Also, judge and jury on Gerry Downing, kicking people when they’re down, says a lot about you. Instinctively side with the manager/privileged class, says a lot about your class loyalties”. What about siding with people with mental illness, or does a working class hero like Downing trump a disabled person from our class? Or calling for a decent working class trade unionist to be sacked on the basis of a complete pack of lies – its f**king vile. I know where my class loyalties are its Mr Cahil who is confused here but he can carry on supporting and defending the deceitful liar that is Downing.
Having condemned Gerry Downing out of hand on Kelly’s urgings Andy is now forced to examine the evidence and he half backtracks:
Posted by Vanya
89. Andy Newman: I don’t think we lack evidence, given that Gerry Downing has effectively conceded the facts of the case in his own press statement. Do you have a link?
Posted by Andy Newman
105. Manzil: doesn’t appear to show this Downing bloke having conceded that he’d been abusive. He quotes himself as “confronting” a passenger. It is a statement of undisputed fact that he was dismissed for being abusive to a passenger; and Mr Downing accepts that he “confronted” that same passenger, and discusses how stressed he was.
Substantially therefore, the facts of the case were not really in dispute; had I been representing Mr Downing, then I would have argued that the situation was outside the normal parameters that a driver is expected to deal with, and that the particular stressful circumstances that he had in his private life should be taken in mitigation; I would argue that it was an unfortunate coincidence of exceptional circumstances that are unlikely to reoccur, and that are not relevant to the driver’s ability to do the job in more normal or reasonably foreseeable circumstances. As such dismissal would be disproportionate.
For what it is worth, I think from Mr Downing’s account the decision to sack him was harsh, given the stressfulness of the situation recounted, and his own personal circumstances at the time. However, it would also seem to be within the reasonable range of responses in such a situation that an employer might lawfully take. There is always the problem for militant shop stewards that if the give management a pretext to sack them, then sacked they will be.
Sean McGovern backtrack fully also having seen Jim Kelly is a liar:
110. If, as I suspect it is, concerns about child protection are an issue in this case, it is not wise for comrades to suggest management were right to discipline GD. Child protection is the responsibility of everyone in relation to their job roles – not just the professionals. Are bus drivers given any training? Are there any company policies which cover potential child protection situations?
Posted by BombasticSpastic
Thanks for putting this piece up. Gerry Downing’s actions and his concern for the child’s wellbeing are laudable – whether or not he read the situation correctly he attempted to do the right thing. Travelling on public transport with children can be a fraught experience in itself. I suspect travelling with a child who has, possibly, severe mental health issues on a London bus must be difficult for all concerned.
Actions of carers of disabled people can be misconstrued. What we see as heavy handedness could indeed be the best way of dealing with a situation. Then again, it could be that the carer is using too much force. These are difficult judgements to make at the best of times, and I would veer away from making them at the distance of space and time that the Internet offers.
Gerry isn’t Mr Popular. But then, in the 15 years or so I’ve known him, he has never put himself forward to win any popularity competitions. But, if we’re going to continue having a pop at him, let’s leave the situation of his dismissal out of the scenario.
The reactionary Jim Kelly is unrepentant even after his lying scam is exposed:
I agree with you Andy that this is what the known liar Downing is insinuating and he should substantiate it or withdraw his statement. Unfortunately this kind of behaviour is a hallmark of Downing. When you peel away the thin veneer of Trotskyism, Anti Good Friday armchair Irish Republicanism and faux trade union militant all you are left with is a very nasty and pathetic man.
“Well to make sure this is not more empty rhetoric from Mr Hicks he has two choices about his right hand man from his grassroots left group. Use his influence to immediately get Mr Downing to make a full and unequivocal apology to Mr King and also substantiate or withdraw his press release that his dismissal is politically motivated or publicly put out a statement distancing himself from Gerry Downing and call on him to resign as secretary of his group.” Jerry Hicks and Gerry Downing we are still waiting and your silence is deafing (sic!).