Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Unison Conference - Brighton 2009

Off once again to the Unison Conference in Brighton. Great venue, the town that is, but there is talk of not going there again - pity. The conference was much the same as last time I went two years ago but some things have changed. The most important difference was that the penny has now dropped with just about all the delegates - New Labour is a boss's party and has completely betrayed its working class supporters - so that is a step forward.

There was a rousing speech by Dave Prentis in which he threatened to withhold funds from Labour. Many have taken this with a pinch of salt but I wonder. Prentis mentioned twice that we have reached a "crossroads" and mocked senior Labour politicians. If the Labour Party can only deliver 16% of the vote why should trade unions support it any longer? I think we are just begining to see the start of a fundamental shift in politics.

As for the rest of the week it was farly dull. As usual the most passionate debate was about Palestine. This time the 'friends of Israel' used a low key devious approach which went - "We support a two state solution but a boycott will hurt the Palestinians" - Yeah of course it will - then why are they asking for it? The usual disingenuous guff we hear from pro-Israelis. Needless to say they rightly lost again and the boycott continues.

I just had to finish by mentioning the Socialist Worker/Socialist Party crew who bombarded the deleagtes with literature, as usual, every time they entered and left the hall. How many years have they been stood outside doing this and where has it got them? - even though there is a crisis in capitalism. When are they going to wake up and realise that dogmatic socialism just doesn't wash with the British people. Social justice yes - Marxism (sadly) no. Why do you think I joined the Green Party?


Anonymous said...

I was at the same conference!

But you know what - for all I got sick of being handed leaflets by the parties you mention, at least they showed a presence. Unlike the Green Party.... who either missed a trick or thought we aren't even worth the bother as trade unionists?

Brighton is simply too expensive - for small Branches, it drains their finances to have send delegates. For the union, it costs a fortune for an inadequate venue. Hence it's been ditched until the council confirm whether the threatened upgrade of the centre will ever happen....so it's blue-rinse Bournemouth next time


Howard Thorp said...

The GP has only 7,500 members - although I believe we have recruited another 1000 since the Euro/local elections. We don't have great resources or money.

I agree that we should have done a better job at the conference and we need to get smarter about union conferences in general.

There is a GP trade union group which you may want to have a look at - http://www.gptu.net/pssess4X/3c/hpage.shtml

Shame about Brighton. I agree its expensive but Bournemouth is so dull. Which branch are you in?

Anonymous said...

I find Bournemouth is as good as the company you keep ie if you're with a boring group, it can be a drag. But there's a good gay scene!

Kent County Branch - just went as a visitor.