30/12/2016 by socialistfight

Image result for Keith Henderson GMB images

All serious rank and file socialists supported Keith Henderson in his battles against  the GMB bureaucracy in the past.

No to all immigration controls: Keith Henderson must apologize for his slurs on Ian Allinson

The allegations on Facebook by Keith Henderson, that Ian Allinson is backed by the establishment or they will be assisting him in any way is despicable, presumable by even mentioning that there is a third party in the election. Up to now there has been an orchestrated campaign to portray the race as one between McCluskey and Coyne with their preference for Coyne very plain. Keith Henderson posted:

“The right wing candidate Gerard Coyne would not stand a chance in a straight fight which is why it is vital for the establishment to have a candidate who will split the left vote.”

“The campaign for Ian Allison will have genuine rank and file activists involved in it, but, there will also be establishment plants involved in it as well.”

The very opposite is the truth. If we don’t have a rank and file candidate clearly fighting for the membership, just as Keith claimed to be doing in the GMB and when all serious rank and file socialists supported him, then Gerard Coyne will hoover up all the membership’s exasperation with McCluskey’s inaction and he might well win.

Image result for Jerry Hicks Unite imagesThe 80, 000 votes for Jerry Hicks in 2013, almost 40% of the vote. In 2o1o he knocked the right winger into a distant third place. 2010 result:

  • Len McCluskey, 101,000 votes (42%)
  • Jerry Hicks, 53,000 votes (22%)
  • Les Bayliss, 47,000 votes (19%)
  • Gail Cartmail, 39,000 votes (16%)

If McCkuskey is reckoned a ‘left’ candidate then the vote in 2010 was 64% left, a direct result of Hicks’ candidacy, a result confirmed by the 2013 election. He did not “split the vote” in 2010 but came close to inflicting a huge blow on the trade union bureaucracy on behalf of  the membership in 2013.

That was the lesson of the three Unite General Election candidacy of Jerry Hicks. On each occasion he exposed the bureaucracy and mobilized the membership and knocked the right wingers into a distant third by clarifying the issues in the campaign for the membership. Ian Allinson is doing so in the election, backed enthusiastically by Jerry Hicks.

This as a very disappointing political collapse by Keith Henderson, backing not only McCluskey but the whole United Left slate. You speak of critical support but here your line is totally uncritical collapse before that bureaucracy. Because as you explain above any criticism of McCluskey is support for the establishment. So, it is the duty of all serious socialists and militants to remain silent on McCluskey’s record and present political orientation?

Since the 2008 crisis broke the trade union and Labour party bureaucracies have sought at every turn to impose wage cuts and redundancies, have collaborated in the destruction of the welfare state with only the most feeble and tokenistic opposition. When the half a million strong TUC demonstration against austerity in March 2011 Len McCluskey, the ‘left’ leader of Unite the union, the biggest in Britain, sent his stewards out with high visibility vests bearing the slogan, “cuts too far, too fast”; in other words, the “austerity lite” programme of Labour leader Ed Miliband that cost us the 2010 election. Now is our chance to reverse that disastrous course, this is why those comrades flooded in to vote for Corbyn in September 2015 and this is why they are flooding in now, swelling its membership to 600,000. And if we are to put the fight against austerity into practice we must vote in this election for Ian Allinson and for those Executive candidates who stand on a clear rank and file slate.

And McCluskey’s current shameful support for immigration controls is  in line with Andy Burnham and Gerard Coyne. So, it’s immigrant now who are to blame and not capitalism and the bosses, is it Keith?

Ian Allinson is the only General Secretary candidate to come out clearly and fearlessly against immigration controls. In his election appeal Ian points out these policies are a direct attack on Corby’s position:

 “Following the Brexit vote Len McCluskey’s backsliding on free movement of workers is not good enough. Workers have sometimes responded to setbacks or defeats by claiming some privileged access to jobs, housing etc. and sought to exclude others – often on the basis of gender, race or nationality. Sometimes this works for some people for a short time, which is why this response can seem tempting. But it is misguided. Our ability to secure decent jobs and housing depends on our unity. As soon as workers slip into trying to protect their interests at the expense of other workers, that unity is undermined and we all lose out. You can’t argue to end free movement of labour without accepting that migration is a problem, and you can’t see migration as a problem and consistently build a united workforce – including the many migrants who live and work here.

As Jeremy Corbyn put it:

It isn’t migrants that drive down wages, it’s exploitative employers and the politicians who deregulate the labour market and rip up trade union rights. It isn’t migrants who put a strain on our NHS, it only keeps going because of the migrant nurses and doctors who come here filling the gaps left by politicians who have failed to invest in training. It isn’t migrants that have caused a housing crisis; it’s a Tory government that has failed to build homes”.

“Members don’t want the clock turning back with Coyne, but neither can we keep waiting for effective resistance from McCluskey. I don’t have the resources of the establishment candidates. If you want to see a grass roots socialist challenge, then don’t just sit back and wait. It is always member activity that produces change, and this election is no different. Please get involved. If you want to get involved in the campaign, or want materials or a speaker for a workplace or branch nomination meeting, please enter your details here. You can also email and donate towards the cost of the campaign via  I have run a blog about Unite for a number of years:” and the new campaign web site is

MD. Golam Bhuiyan


Golam Bhuiyan also is standing for the Executive for BAEM seat also on a very clear line opposing immigration controls. Here is his election appeal:

Brothers and Sisters,

This election comes at a defining moment for BAEM working people in this country following the nasty argument “British Jobs For British Workers”-  a slogan promoted to stoke a divisive racism and nationalism.

It is Not the migrants that drive down wages,  it is not the migrants who put a strain on our NHS, it is not the migrants that have caused a housing crisis;  The working class, and Unite members, are from all over the world. We can’t build and maintain unity, and the strength to extend collective bargaining and defend our jobs and pay, if we fudge this question.

It’s the migrant nurses and doctors who come here filling the gaps left by politicians who have failed to invest in training, it’s a Tory government that has failed to build homes, it’s the exploitative employers and the politicians who deregulate the labour market.

I am running this election to put an end to the fudge and come out clearly for free movement of workers, and against any rules that treat workers differently based on their nationality and ethnicity. I’ve been a workplace activist for 15 years at BAA Heathrow Airport and UK Civil Service building up the union. For ten years, I served as Shop Steward and currently I’m the Branch Equality Officer for Unite Civil Service Branch.

Like me, BAEM working class people must not be the “price” for access to the EU single market. This point implies that instead of workers’ freedom to travel and work being vital, they are a necessary evil, whereas the free market is a desirable goal. In reality it is free market neoliberalism, not free movement of workers, which has been destroying our lives in recent decades.

Our best chance of defending our jobs, pensions and services is united resistance.  That means unity of public sector and private sector, young and old, men and women, employed and unemployed, students and pensioners. That means standing up against any attempt to divert anger against scapegoats, be that through nationalism, racism or homophobia.

UNITE needs to be at the heart of a coalition of resistance standing up to the onslaught from employers and the government. We also need change in our own union, and Clearly the members are the union, but the activists (reps, stewards, branch officers etc) are the heart of the union.  Now it’s the time to reclaim back our union for it’s members.

We need change in UNITE’s culture and structures to inspire and involve more people, especially

  • Change from a “can’t do” union to a “can do” union; from a campaigning union to a fighting union; from a centralised top-down union to a bottom-up union; from a union afraid of people doing the wrong thing, to a union determined to act; from a climate of fear to a culture of open debate
  • Officials to be elected by the members, not appointed and to be accountable to members through the appropriate lay member committee
  • Internal politics at the top should no longer be prioritised above effective organising and campaigning on the ground.
  • Resources as close to the members as possible.  Branches, Area Activist Committees, Regional Councils, Sector Committees and Equality Committees all need resources and authority if they are going to be at the heart of involving members in our campaigning and organising.
  • Access to legal advice without slow and bureaucratic procedures

Members decide the Union provides.

We can’t afford more of the same. We deserve better, we need a radical change in direction, and that’s what I’m offering.

I would like your support in securing my nomination for BAEM seat and between Monday 16 January – Friday 17 February 2017, your Branch can endorsed my name. Finally, please cast your vote or ask your BAEM brothers and sisters to vote for me.

With Solidarity


For Branch nominations purpose

Name: Golam Bhuiyan

Email Golam for his other details for nomination purposes:

These slurs on Ian Allinson must to be withdrawn and you must apologize to him for them, Keith Henderson.

Gerry Downing


  1. Keith Henderson says:

    This is the most disgusting and dishonest attack on me, based on an entirely false precedent set by the extreme sectarian Gerry Downing.

    It is very disappointing that comrade Downing has chosen to use his mouthpiece for his fantasy army, the Socialist Fight, to make such a dishonest attack against me.

    I have never supported Len McCluskey in the past, always having supported Jerry Hicks.

    However, I believe this time the only sensible approach in these circumstances is critical support for Len McCluskey and support for the United left slate of candidates in the Unite executive council elections.

    I believe we must ensure that the left keeps control of the executive council of Unite. As it was the Executive Council that over ruled McCluskey in 2015 to support Jeremy Corbyn. Therefore, we must support the United Lefts slate of candidates for the executive council of Unite.

    For anyone to try and argue that there has been no media coverage over Ian Allinson’s candidacy is once again being dishonest. It was on the BBC news, the Guardian newspaper and LabourList etc, a simple Google search proves this. 

    I have not made any slurs against Ian Allinson just raised my genuine concerns and therefore will not apologise for that.

    I stand by all my comments completely and especially this one,

    “The campaign for Ian Allinson will have genuine rank and file activists involved in it, but, there will also be establishment plants involved in it as well. 

    As the right wing candidate Gerard Coyne would not stand a chance in a straight fight which is why it is vital for the establishment to have a candidate who will split the left vote.

    Supporters of Ian Allinson are claiming that the right winger Gerard Coyne has no chance of winning this election for Unite General Secretary and there is no danger that Allinson will split the left vote. 

    This is clearly nonsense.

    Labour First and Progress believe they can beat McCluskey with state and media support.

    Be nice if the left vote was split for them as well.”

    This is not a slur but a genuine concern that I and many others have.

    Also another concern is the fact Ian Allinson doesn’t understand the importance of Labour as the Party of the British working class. This is a grave misjudgement and raises serious concerns as to his suitability to combine politics with industrial struggle. This is very concerning when he is challenging to be the leader of the biggest trade union in Britain.

    The demand to know the position of the so-called rank and file candidate regarding support for Corbyn and the membership of the Labour party should be crucial question to a Marxist. If you are supporting a candidate that pushes the outside of the Labour party argument then you should justify your position??

    I have discovered from reading Allinson’s statement that he won’t be joining the Labour party because it would offer the press more ammunition about entryism, he has said “I have no intention of providing further ammunition to those on the right complaining about entryism to attack the left and Corbyn”

    This is very big of him and of course, it has nothing to do with his beliefs of being outside of the Labour party.

    McCluskey’s flaws and the way Unite continues to operate in a bureaucratic centralist fashion means that we should only give him critical support. However, the nonsense in Allinson’s election document of stating he would rather people joined a political party than the group he is a member off, is duplicitous nonsense.

    Allinson clearly still takes a sectarian approach to the Labour party that hasn’t left him since his days in the SWP.

    The fact I have given critical support of Len McCluskey and the United lefts slate for the NEC elections in unite is being used as a slur against me and is incredibly interpreted as an uncritical collapse before the bureaucracy. 

    A more infantile ultra left position it would appear impossible to adopt in the circumstances. 

    The circumstances being that the only chance that the establishment and the fifth column have of undermining Jeremy Corbyn by taking Len McCluskey out is to split the left vote. 

    But the sublime goes to the ridiculous when once again spurious innuendo and assertion is cast, based on yet another entirely false precedent that I am claiming Ian Allison is cahoots with and is being supported by the establishment.

    The difference between collusion and being used is something Gerry Downing will be all to aware of.

    To claim that I am saying the establishment is supporting Ian Allison is outrageous.

    That they will initiate and orchestrate and support a so called rank and file candidate to split the left vote is clear for all to see.

    The only serious questions are where is the groundswell of support for running a rank and file candidate in this election???

    At what meeting was it decided, who was present and who had and who hadn’t been invited???

    If we had a similar circumstance happen in the GMB where we have a left wing bureaucrat that was Jeremy Corbyn’s biggest supporter among the trade union leaders, then I would not stand in that election and split the left vote and hand the union over to the right-wing. That would help bring down Corbyn paving the way for right wing reaction.

    I wouldn’t take a sectarian or ultra left position to such important issue.

    In no way would I assist the establishment by splitting the left vote. 

    This is a total dishonest slur on my name by the Gerry Downing.


  2. Ian Allinson replies to some criticisms:

    1) Does my non-membership of Labour mean I shouldn’t be supported? I hope I’ve dealt with this here: I’m not sure what people who are criticising me for not joining think I should do? Should I lie in order to gate-crash a party whose rules ban me from joining? Or are we really saying that anyone who doesn’t think socialism can be won through the ballot box should ever be supported for GS? I suspect that Jerry shares my view on the potential for socialism through parliament. If comrades in the Labour Party want people like me to join, perhaps it would be better to change the rules to allow me to join, rather than denounce me for not breaking them? I have absolutely no idea where people gets the idea I would rather people joined a party I’m not in than a group I am in. I’d rather people got involved on the left, and which organisation they should join depends primarily on their politics.
    2) Of course, it would be a setback if the EC swung to the right. I certainly intend to support left candidates in the election, many of whom will be from the UL. This has no relation to an argument on who to support in the GS election.
    3) In terms of support, I guess time will tell. But it’s worth noting that some of the people some claim are supporting McCluskey are not. For example, the construction rank and file postponed a decision on who to back at their last meeting, after a lot of calls to back a rank and file candidate but none being declared at that stage.
    4) I think argument about “splitting the left vote” are a legitimate concern that lots of people share and I will deal with this in detail later.


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