It has been confirmed that Sharon Graham is the new Unite General Secretary, after winning the election with 37.7% of the vote, beating fellow leftist Steve Turner by 5%. Many news outlets are carrying a line that claims Keir Starmer will be “pleased” with this outcome since Graham stated during the campaign that she’s more interested in growing union membership and organising in workplaces than involving herself in “internal Labour Party affairs”
The truth is, however, that she is one of only two candidates who warned that continued ratfuckery (not her words) from Starmer and Evans could result in disaffiliation. We’ve been told that under Starmer and Evans the party’s finances have been ruined. Disaffiliation would cause a severe wound to an already pretty beaten up party.
While it is good news that Graham, a left-winger, took the top job and pushed Centrist candidate and PLP choice Gerard Coyne into a miserable third place word is that turnout was very low. Whether that reflects on the feeling among members around Howard Beckett dropping out in order to avoid a split left vote is anyone’s guess.
What’s absolutely undeniable is that Coyne has been well and truly shown to be Murdoch’s man and very little else. The man the PLP wanted – the man Jess Phillips emailed her constituents in support of – barely scraped 28% of the vote.
So congratulations to Sharon Graham, commiserations to Steve Turner, thanks to Howard Beckett for standing down when he did, and to Gerard Coyne: up yer arse, you scab.