The devil you know...
THE ELECTION contest for the post of general secretary of the Transport and General Workers Union exposes the complete bankruptcy of the ‘lesser of two evils’ arguments. Just about the entire left has called upon union members to re-elect Bill Morris, the ‘soft left’ candidate, in order to keep out Jack Dromey, who aligns himself with the ‘new Labour’ right.
The two main points used to back up these calls are, firstly, that Dromey was openly in favour of dumping Labour’s meaningless clause four. In fact Morris too wanted to ditch it, but had to abide by his executive’s instructions in voting to keep it at the special party conference. Secondly, Morris wants the Labour Party to commit itself to a minimum wage set at around a pitifully low £4 an hour, but Dromey, it was alleged, was toeing the official wait-and-see line. Now, however, Dromey has called for at least the £4 rate as well.
The only British region of the union not to back Morris was, ironically, the Broad Left-dominated North West. Equally ironically, the ‘leftwing’ Morris has used the region’s backing for Dromey in a red-baiting attack on his opponent. Peter Clee, a leading activist in the region, told me: “Morris, in victimising union officials and refusing to back the members here, has treated us disgracefully. People are saying we should back anyone who stands against him.” For the North West, Dromey is the lesser of two evils!
Peter Clee continued:
“They are a pair of shithouses together. It is a case of the incompetent ‘leftwinger’ against the ‘competent’ rightwinger. I am still undecided. Perhaps we ought to be saying, ‘These are our demands: this is what we should do,’ and only vote for a candidate who supports them.”