Features

Why is Len McCluskey paying Carter-Ruck to threaten me?

In some cases, heavy legal tactics are a sign of strength. Not, I fear, in this one

30 May 2015

9:00 AM

30 May 2015

9:00 AM

It is not only Russian oligarchs and multinational corporations who run to the ‘capitalist courts’ — as we used to call them on the left. Have an argument with Len McCluskey and you find that the leader of Unite is prepared to spend his money, or more likely his members’ hard-earned dues, on hiring the libel lawyers of Carter-Ruck at £550 an hour (plus expenses, of course).

Carter-Ruck can charge a little more than the minimum wage because its many wealthy clients know that its lawyers will push as hard as they possibly can to defend clients’ interests, as our spat with McCluskey showed.

Last week I published a brisk blogpost on The Spectator’s site in which I said that the Labour party should recognise that Unite was its enemy. The cliché that Labour and the unions were in a marriage was apt, I said: they fight all the time and don’t have sex. But few marriages survive adultery — and McCluskey’s eyes were always wandering.

Only last year he threatened to sever Unite’s links with Labour if the party’s policies did not comply with his wishes. He would put his union’s money behind a new workers’ party to the left of Labour instead. Perhaps he could take Unite-sponsored MPs with him, I speculated. After all, Unite has attempted at least once to use its influence to place its men and women in parliament; in Falkirk, a Labour party investigation said there was ‘no doubt’ that Unite had recruited party members in an effort to ‘manipulate’ the selection of a parliamentary candidate.

Meanwhile, in Tower Hamlets in the East End of London last month, McCluskey’s sidekick Andrew Murray announced, after an election court had disbarred the mayor Lutfur Rahman for electoral fraud, that Unite was ‘proud’ to support Rahman.


I would like you to take a breath and reflect that the Tower Hamlets episode illustrates to perfection the decadence of parts of the British left. There is a comprehensible left-wing case for a new socialist party. There are times when I might even vote for one — although I am not sure how many others would. But Rahman fought the Labour party in the East End by exploiting racial and religious division, in a manner leftists would rightly denounce if a white Ukip politician were to do the same. Rahman directed public money to Bangladeshis who were likely to vote for him, Judge Richard Mawrey found. He even diverted funds meant for the Alzheimer’s Society. Not content with that, Rahman and his associates bribed Asian TV stations to give him favourable coverage. He persuaded clerics to instruct their poor and credulous followers that it was an Islamic duty to vote for him, and to warn them that if they did not they would be siding with their Islamophobic enemies.

In other words, Rahman engaged in racial profiling, the exploitation of religious superstition for political advantage. He also perpetrated an electoral fraud, which denied the people of the East End their basic right to have their views represented in a fair election. Despite all of the above and more, Unite, Ken Livingstone and much of the left press excused him because Rahman claimed to be an enemy of the status quo.

Don’t be the put-upon wife, I told Labour. Dump the creep before the creep dumps you.

Instead of arguing back, McCluskey instructed his £550-an-hour libel lawyers to condemn our ‘highly defamatory’ portrayal of their client. I had wounded McCluskey. The poor little thing was ‘suffering from hurt and distress’ after the ‘extraordinary and grossly irresponsible’ decision of the editor to publish my piece.

McCluskey wanted an apology. Oh, and money. Not just damages but ‘aggravated damages’ and — lest we forgot — Carter-Ruck’s legal expenses, too. The Spectator’s lawyers told the Carter-Ruckers that their demands were ‘absurd’, and they appear to have gone away. Absurd or not, they can succeed. Whenever I am up against bullies, I congratulate myself on joining the campaign for libel-law reform. Thanks to its fine work, writers can finally express their ‘honest opinion’. Or rather some writers can. I am lucky to work for newspapers, which can afford to fight. Unite’s lawyers have also menaced a political website which offended McCluskey. Such websites cannot think of fighting libel cases and this sort of bullying therefore achieves its purpose of shutting down criticism.

Demands to censor can be a sign of strength. The magnate exercises his power by letting his opponents know that those who cross him will pay. But McCluskey’s threats betray his weakness. Britain’s trade unions are dying. According to the Office for National Statistics, in the 20 years between 1973 and 1992, an average of 7.8 million working days a year were lost because of strike action. In 2013, that figure fell to a mere 444,000 days. The unions have failed to recruit and offer help to the new working poor in the care, hospitality and service industries. Only 14 per cent of private–sector workers are trade union members. The future of those scraping a living in shopping centres and call centres is precarious and non-unionised.

McCluskey could form a new left-wing party, but the Greens have filled that space. Meanwhile, he must answer hard questions from his militants, who want to know why Unite needs a political fund at all. Like the syndicalists of the early 20th century, they want to give up on politics and concentrate on the ‘industrial struggle’. They have a point, and not just because zero-hours contracts and austerity give them much to struggle against. The tens of millions that Unite has given to the Labour party have not brought Labour to power. Indeed, Unite’s influence in making Ed Miliband Labour leader in 2010 ensured its defeat in 2015. McCluskey shows no sign of learning from his mistake, and seems ready to repeat his trick of pulling Labour away from the centre ground.

Behind all the threats and the bombast, his power is the precise opposite of what he believes it to be. All he can do is stop Labour winning.
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Show comments
  • gerronwithit

    Blatter by Friday and McCluskey by Monday! One can only dream.

    • Man on the Clapham Omnibus

      I agree in spirit, but the advantage to the Tory party of McCluskey being associated with Labour is so great I hope he stays for 20 years.

    • Terry Field

      Maybe they can breed a new DNA strain that can be called McBlatskey?

  • Jugurtha

    “Britain’s trade unions are dying. According to the Office for National Statistics, in
    the 20 years between 1973 and 1992, an average of 7.8 million working days a year were lost because of strike action. In 2013, that figure fell to a mere 444000.”

    7.8 million over 20 years is 390000 per year on average…less than the 444000 in 2013. I agree that Britain’s trade unions are dying but the statistic quoted fails to support the assertion.

    • oldoddjobs

      7.8m days per year vs 444,000 days in the year 2013

      • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

        Versus 130 million days in 1926 and 100 million days in 1915, during a major war!

        • starfish

          Yes

          Even then the unions were keener on their members than the nation

          • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

            …..and not a Labour government in sight. Keen on their members ,what like when the Coal owners refused to pay the Bevin Boys?

    • JDD

      You need to read that again..its 7.8 million on average PER year…not averaged over 20 years

      Therefore the figure does back up the decline in Union support

      • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

        It does not back a decline in Union support, it reveals a dramatic fall in strike actions.That is to the credit of modern more co-operative Unions. Of the three major spikes in strikes in that era two were under Heath and Thatcher. Only the 1978 spike was under Labour.
        From 1910 to 1928 we lost on average 20 milliion strike days a year with a much smaller population and no Labour governments. When Labour took power in 1929 the strikes fell of dramatically as they did in 1997 too.

        • Dogsnob

          “…modern more co-operative Unions.”
          As in, the ones who take 11 quid a month off low-paid members to protect their livelihoods, and then collude with the process to flood the country with cheap labour to ‘rub the right’s nose in multiculturalism’…oh and lower the wage rates of British workers.
          This ‘co-operation’? Who is it with?

          • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

            The ones who negotiate pragmatically and do not seek to be disruptive by calling endless strikes, as evidenced by the figures for days lost. How pray do the Unions flood the country with cheap labour?

          • Dogsnob

            Through their exhortations to members, their collusion with successive governments and their acquiescence concerning the open border policy devised and implemented by the Blair government, and carried on by the Tories to this day. Another 600,000 last year alone.

      • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

        Wow, 25% of the workforce on strike for one day a year each. Bank Holidays have more affect.

    • Simon Heifer

      Oh, Jugurtha, you’ve had a complete Barry Crocker there.

    • sorry to reiterate what has already been sate by other comments but:

      7,800,000 days each year (on average)
      444,000 day in 2013.

  • Jugurtha

    “Only 14 per cent of private–sector workers are trade union members. The future of those scraping a living in shopping centres and call centres is precarious and non-unionised.”

    Yes. Job security and a living wage are things of the past for such workers but that’s just one of those things. At least they can be fairly confident that if they were to join a union, it might not improve their material conditions, but it would have policies that were non-trans-exclusionary and favoured the boycott of Israeli goods. And, after all, that’s what the left’s for these days.

    • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

      Only 14% of the private sector have secure employment.

      • Tom

        Could you define secure employment?

        • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

          A low probability that one will lose one’s employed status.

          • MA0

              “A low probability that one will lose one’s employed status.”

            Your definition describes a job market in which new employment is easily found due to a dynamic economy. ‘Job security’ has therefore increased dramatically in the last few years despite all the destructive efforts of the repugnant unions. A job security is much better than this job’s security. Unions seem to be hell-bent on hurting both types of security.

        • Terry Field

          And the ‘public sector’ has protection????? Which excludes and stick but only the carrot of continued payments????? And THAT IS DESIRABLE???????

    • mdj

      Since the election, both the Bank of England and the FRB have published papers admitting the correlation between flat-lining living standards and high levels of immigration over several decades.
      Unions are still in denial over this, to the great detriment of their members and their own power. Union membership in the private sector is futile because there is no means for the workforce to restrict the supply of labour. In the public sector greater monopoly powers apply, which is why Labour policy has steered towards the public sector more and more, alienating many who might have supported them. Check the modern definition of ‘key worker housing’ for a flagrant example of this.
      A left -of- Labour friend gave a talk recently commemorating the defiant stand of dockers in c.1972 against a container terminal that threatened their jobs.
      It seemed unkind in the emotive atmosphere to point out that the very same people had been marching in support of Enoch Powell a short while before, with complete consistency of aim – to protect their jobs.

  • Shorne

    About 25 years ago I was a public sector union branch representative. I went to a meeting seeking help with a problem somebody in my branch had which I thought warranted her being offered a new job description.
    I never got to raise the matter because the whole meeting was taken up with a discussion about how our members were not sufficiently in charge of the means of production (we didn’t make anything), which hotel we should stay in for the national conference and whether or not to support a motion decrying the use of the word ‘scabs’ as being insulting to people suffering from skin diseases (I’m not making this up). I walked out of the meeting and the Union and never regretted it.

    • Tom M

      Some long time before your experience I was elected shop steward for the EEPTU (the previous incumbent had been fired for stealing diesel). A few days later on the way into work I met everybody coming the other way. “We”re on strike” I was told. “They” were TGWU members. Nobody told me anything about strikes so we, the EEPTU members, continued as normal (albeit the place was at a complete standstill).
      That night about six or seven of the TGWU shop stewards arrived on my doorstep to ask why the EEPTU weren’t on strike (incidently there was absolutely nothing in it for the EEPTU members). Not intimidated but somewhat annoyed I hedged and told them it would be rererred to the next meeting (about three weeks away). All this went on for quite a long time, “scabs” and “blacklegs” being the usual greetings arriving at work. Anyway we had a vote and elected to go on strike.
      Each Monday morning the strike committee had a meeting to which I was now invited. There were letters of geuine hardship from the TGWU strikers and all that weren’t the Committee’s mates got thrown in the bin. Mates received financial help from the committee.
      Following a meeting with ACAS a deal was reached with the employer. The convenor suggested we all assemble in a local pub to celebrate. I was first through the door with hand in pocket and asked what people wanted. The convenor told me to wait, the treasurer was coming he said. He paid for the drinks out of the collected funds.
      We all repaired to a small room. The treasurer had upended the money bag onto the table and was counting it. I was younger then and it took me a moment or two to work out what was going on. I complained. “Don’t worry” the convenor told me “you’ll get your cut too”.
      I left. Never to return.

    • UKSteve

      Fair do’s. I too had an unhappy association with the union – which was pretty crap – in manufacturing industry.

      • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

        I’ve had some pretty crap associations with employers.

        • Caractacus

          Plenty of other employers around.

          • UKSteve

            Shhhh.

          • Fraziel

            Really? Not where i live and not outside the South at the moment and most that are ariound offer sh*t terms and sh*t pay. Where are they all?

        • UKSteve

          Same here, regrettably. The passage of time does nothing to diminish the awfulness of some workplaces; and it’s always the people in them to blame. Many of them could do with a good dose of dole, and all the penurious ghastliness that involves these days, thanks to the Tories.

  • Diggery Whiggery

    Len’s major concern is Len.

  • CharleyFarleyFive

    McCluskey is a gift that just keeps on giving, his association with Labour and Miliband has helped to save this country from some very dark days.

    Long may he continue to remind everyone what the true nature of the left in power is like.

    • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

      So Len should not seek to defend himself against the petty insults and bullyboy tactics of the right as supported by the Spectator.
      Unions are not dying ,they are being killed. Unions do not measure success in the number of strike days. Surely it is a sign of better co-operation and effective negotiation that fewer days are lost.

      • starfish

        Strange how Mr McCluskey is keen to dish it out but runs to plutocratic libel lawyers when he is on the receiving end

        Still he fills the hypocritic socialist stereotype to a ‘T’

        • Ross

          Unless you can read his mind you cannot accurately describe him as a hypocrite.

      • Frank

        You appear to think that the Spectator is a right wing journal. You clearly don’t read the majority of the articles very carefully. As for Len, he is a bully who wants to quash reasonable comment.

        • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

          Rubbish. A weekly British Conservative magazine previously edited by Nigel lawson and Boris Johnson and owned by the Barclay brothers. Tory propoganda machine.

          • MA0

            You misread Frank’s comment. He said “You appear to think that the Spectator is a right wing journal”. You have confused ‘right wing’ with ‘Tory’, an error which shows you live in a distant past. The truth is that the Spectator is a moderate left wing Tory spin machine. It supports the left-wing policies of overwhelming unaccountable state control of everything and large-scale wealth redistribution in the name of the EU.

          • henryGrattan1800

            Jesus wept, the Spectator moderate left wing? who is on the white powder

          • MA0

            The Spectator supports the Tories, and thetefore it supports Tory policies like ring-fencing public spending on the NHS and state schools, a progressive tax system which unduly disincentivises higher earners, and EU membership which is a socialist super-government and welfare state for nations based on enormous and unaccounted redistribution of wealth from the productive and solvent to the Kafkaesque state machinery of countries like Greece. There isn’t much that is right wing about Tory policy.

          • Ross

            It *tolerates* those polices.

          • MA0

            During the election campaign it did everything in its power to ensure we got those policies.

          • Fraziel

            progressive taxation which disincentivises higher earners? Jesus, i didnt think people like you really existed.

          • MA0

            It is uncontroversial that progressive tax systems disincentivise higher earners. In fact it is blindingly obvious. Only a lunatic could deny it. Anybody who finds more of his second hundred thousand than the first confiscated by the state knows very well the disincentive. It is an additional tax on excellence, which must be stamped out for the benefit of the feckless.

          • Fraziel

            Only an idiot would say such a thing. There are many artciles and contributors from the left and contributors who vote labour who appear in the sopectatot. I see some tory propaganda, as i would expevct from a traditionally right leaning magazinr and whats wrong with that?, but i also see lots of objective common sense, something which is beyond you i suspect. I also read New Statesman. When was the last time they allowed an article from anyone on the right or even allowed comments on their articles? They censor in advance by not allowing comment. Pathetic stuff.

      • CharleyFarleyFive

        Utterly bloody clueless and not worthy of a reasoned response.

        • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

          Do explain, or can’t you think for that long?

      • UKSteve

        Unions destroyed themselves – in the 1970’s and 80’s – and only the genetically stupid can’t see this.

      • Jeremy Poynton

        Killed. By suicide.

      • ButcombeMan

        Len should have been referred to the case of Arkell v Pressdram.

        I refer you.

        • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

          Twit.

          • MrsBTejon

            right back at you!

      • Terry Field

        They are being killed by more and more people wishing to have less and less to do with them. No?????

      • Fraziel

        Dont talk utter sh*te. Petty insults and bully boy tactics? Yeah, by unite. The spectatotrpiece was a reasonable well written article expressing a reasonable point of view that many people share and many do not. Unites response? to try and shut down and censor. Truly the fascist left in action and proof Unite cannot put forward a good argument which is what any self respecting union leader would have done, and i say that as a long standing member of the union PCS.

  • Hototrot

    Lenin McCluskey-he always looks as though they have started the embalming process early.

    • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

      Whereas Cameron looks like he has a condom on his head.

      • oldoddjobs

        How original!

        • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

          Why, thank you. I’m here all week. Remember the waitress and do try the fish.

      • Hototrot

        A Steve Bell fan? Can he draw anything else, or is that his only idea?

        • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

          To be fair Cameron looks like a lot of things, including an overipe tomato and a bewildered toff halfwit, but Condom head is the funniest.

          • Hototrot

            With a First from Oxford and a good looking wealthy wife-what’s not to hate?

          • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

            I don’t hate Cameron. I sort of pity him and stand in incredulity that he is even considered capable of leading the Tory shambles ,let alone our nations. By the way ,Scotland ,Wales and Ulster did not want him.

          • MA0

             

              “Scotland ,Wales and Ulster did not want him.”

            Why didn’t they vote to stop him then?

          • Hototrot

            Cameron, the One Nation[s] Leader, with his wife pictured wearing a bikini on the front page of the Sunday Mail-what’s not to hate even more? You may be pleased to read that I did not purchase said Sunday Mail, but for some reason the front cover did make me think of you and your recent posts. Hi di hi.

          • Fred

            Ulster is not Northern Ireland. Get your facts straight.

          • Terry Field

            SADLY FOR YOU HE LOOKS AND SOUNDS CORRECT, MORE AND MORE COMMANDING, DRIVING A NEW FOREIGN POLICY THAT ACTUALLY WORKS, AND STANDS A CHANCE OF EXTIRPATING THE WORST ASPECTS OF SYNDICALIST SOCIALIST ROT FROM BRITAIN FOR EVERN, AND THAT IS WELL WORTH SHOUTING ABOUT.
            And Ossy is shrinking the Brownian Super-socialist hellhole of a bloated and corrupted State.
            So get stuffed, losers.

  • smileoftdecade

    I used to be a keen supporter of Unions – the ACTT did me a lot of good as a freelancer in getting companies to pay up on invoices.
    Later years I saw Unison in action – chocolate teapots – and as Shorne says, they seemed only interested in their own selfish ends.

    Unions are great in principle – absolutely horrific in practice, in today’s Britain.

    • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

      I left my union 5 years ago bercause they were not radical enough. I have since been on strike twice….something I could never have done in my union.
      Wierdly non unionised individuals have a right to strike if a strike is legally called, but not if they belong to a union that has not so voted. The way around the Tories anti -union bureaucracy is to use the web to mobilise non unionised workers to strike.

      • Damaris Tighe

        More shame you. If you don’t like the T&Cs of your job, find another one.

        • AJH1968

          What planet are these two cretins from; God help us if they have succeeded in procreating.

          • Damaris Tighe

            Planet Sockpuppet I suspect.

          • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

            How does striking make one a cretin, you moron?

          • MA0

              “How does striking make one a cretin…?”

            He didn’t make that inference. It may be the other way round.

          • Caractacus

            Notice how Telemachus is never around so much anymore.

        • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

          What shame? I was protesting a 6 year pay freeze and trebling of pension contributions. I call that standing up for myself.

          • MA0

            A better way to communicate your dissatisfaction would be to withdraw your labour by finding a better job. That would be standing up for yourself. Going on strike is just prolonging a two-way abusive relationship.

  • explain that

    “McCluskey’s sidekick Andrew Murray announced, after an election court had disbarred the mayor Lutfur Rahman for electoral fraud, that Unite was ‘proud’ to support Rahman.”

    You see, it’s not difficult finding, identifying and then rubbishing the enemy. We should be thankful that they are making this such an easy exercise.

    • Dan Grover

      No wonder his tennis has been suffering recently.

  • Damaris Tighe

    Congratulations to Nick & the Spectator for telling McCluskey where he can stick his apology & compensation.

    • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

      Bloody Islington liberals with their sneering at the working classes and their leaders. Cohen supported the Iraq war for goodness sake. The start of 12 years of turmoil and terror that has got so much worse that teflon Tony Blair has given up his sinecure as Middle East ambassador.His judgment is flawed.

      • Frank

        The British working class (whoever they are) deserve better than Len McCluskey.

        • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

          They certainly do not need the sneering twittishnes of Cohen.

          • Caractacus

            Cohen isn’t trying to covertly take control of the British government by paying off MP’s.

      • mattghg

        Cohen was wrong about the Iraq war (which is completely off-topic here), and is right about McCluskey. Simple.

  • Matt Hone

    Last night on YouTube, I watched an old BBC Parliament documentary about the Winter of Discontent and the no confidence vote that put Thatcher in power.

    I am lucky that I have never seen the kind of issues this country faced in the 1970s, where the government of the day was helpless against the unions.

    McCluskey would love to take us back to those days, but the electorate was pretty clear in its verdict earlier this month.

    • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

      Sorry ,I was unaware the issue at the recent Election was to go back to the 1970’s .If I had I would have voted for it. One of the greatest ,most equal and enjoyable times to be alive.

      • Dion Trotsky

        Yeah but there was nothing on the telly

        • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

          The 70’s were not a time for sitting watching telly. People were still community minded and not selfish ,small minded bigots.

          • Kascade Jewellery

            The 70’s industrial sites were nothing but union bullying centres, my father walked away from the unions after many years as a union rep. He refused to call his workforce in Cornwall our becouse some idiot in Manchester said he should.

          • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

            ….and who was it bullying the unions in these centres?

          • MA0

            No, what is bizarre is that the unions hadn’t the foresight to see that their behaviour was going to destroy their industries, and so their power, even though it had happened in many other industries, like the docks. You really have to be quite thick to support the Marxist struggle, when everywhere you look across the globe you see it destroy the poor.

      • starfish

        “One of the greatest ,most equal and enjoyable times to be alive”

        Now I know you are some sort of lefty parody

        I grew up in the 70s, it was far from great equal or enjoyable

        Still the union thuggery and blackmail converted my Dad from a union man (he’d been one all his working life to that point) into a Thatcherite

        • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

          Sad twit.

          • MA0

            …and rubbish piled head-high in the streets. I did my homework by candlelight. Everybody useful was leaving. Like Cuba, we are still paying the consequences of that brain-drain. You would have been one of the last to leave.

          • Fred

            Yes and we had the healthiest diet during the war. Doesn’t mean we want to go back there.

      • The Masked Marvel

        Of course you were unaware. Your lot said it was about going back to the ’30s, remember?

        You yearn for power outages and three-day work weeks and food shortages just because everyone (well, most people) were suffering equally? Thank you for honestly revealing the Communist mindset. You can no longer claim we’re wrong when we say that’s how you people think.

        • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

          What? My lot simply won in Brighton.

          • The Masked Marvel

            Ah. Even worse. You do want to take the country back to the ’30s. Under Stalin.

          • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

            Do you suggest I want to move the country 2,000 miles to the east or do you wish 1930’s Britain was ruled by Stalin?

          • The Masked Marvel

            Don’t pretend you don’t know who wants what.

      • MA0

        I recall that some were more equal than others.

  • Dan Grover

    And a swift round of applause to Fraser.

    • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

      Ah, like his namesake Lord Nelson ….” I see no bullying”.

  • Maureen Fisher

    Dear Nick, I remember going to a Labour Party conference back in the eighties where the TGWU as they were known then were literally troughing at a table laden with luxury food and wine in the five star hotel where they were accommodated.

    • chesters

      Ditto Maureen, my ex was a full time Unison officer, plenty of troughing going on there too over the last 20 years. Very comfortable salaries, preferential sick pay and annual leave, generous pensions, endless meetings and conferences in the best hotels….. and they seemed more interested in championing oppressed gays and lesbians or collecting for the brethren in a third world country, than defending the rights of the lower paid in the UK.
      I don’t think I’m being overly cynical. The waste of money was shocking.

      • Maureen Fisher

        Indeed and equally true of full time Labour Party officials.

      • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

        The 165,000 bankers working on Wall Street get bonuses that are double the entire pay of the 14 million living on minimum wage. One banker at Barclays was paid £170 million for 4 years work. Where is the real waste?

        • MrsBTejon

          the bankers work hard and don’t go on strike.

        • Fred

          Maybe you should re-train.

    • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

      …….and?

  • Alec

    ==> Why is Len McCluskey paying Carter-Ruck to threaten me?”

    Because he’s a dick?

    ~alec

    • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

      A dick with dignity, an excellent sense of fair play and the balls to stand up to the Islington toff idiots that control our sorry excuse for a media.

      • Alec

        No, a dick who is a dick is who is a dick serving nothing but himself and other dicks.

        Oh, look, something about toffs. Like Dennis Skinner? You dick.

        ~alec

        • I thought he was paying them to do whatever they are doing as Nick Cohen is an Ace Turd rather than a dick, butthen again now you come to mention it he is a dick as well.

          Well said petal.

  • stedman_dantes

    But Rahman fought the Labour party in the East End by exploiting racial and religious division, in a manner leftists would rightly denounce if a white Ukip politician were to do the same

    I don’t see any need to bring Ukip into this when we all know that a white Ukip politician would never dream of favouring one section of the electorate with bribes and contracts while ignoring the rest. It just wouldn’t happen.
    Say what you like about Ukip but they can’t and wouldn’t ever try to compete in the corruption stakes with the likes of Rahman and his far left enablers.

    • George Harris

      Yeah, I thought the Ukip reference was a little gratuitous – but then I guess it’s important to reassure certain sections of the ‘offended brigade’ what side you’re really on. It’s just a shame that to be self-critical is such a taboo on the Left, that writers need to constantly validate their critique with trite, reputation-bolstering references to Ukip, etc.

  • Jaria1

    I find it hard to understand that McLusky leaves sufficient time to attend to his duties looking after the needs of his members

  • richardvine

    Last year some idiot accused me of libel. I engaged Carter Ruck who sent him one letter and we never heard from him again. CR are actually very cheap because they get results very quickly.

  • Robert Feneron

    McCluskey is paying anyone – the members of Unite will be footing the bill. Barons like McCluskey regard “their” Unions as their own personal property, using them to pursue their own political agendas (see PCS in particular) – another reason why they are in terminal decline.

    • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

      So Bankers and FTSE bosses don’t view their compnaies as their personal property. They certainly reward themselves as if it is their personal input that adds value.

      • Robert Feneron

        Have you never heard of the expression “two rights don’t make a wrong”? A classic leftie tactic – let’s change the subject, because I can’t think of a real reply.

      • starfish

        No they don’t – they belong to their shareholders

        You really are a box-ticking lefty aren’t you?

        • Malcolm Stevas

          S/he is a Private Eye caricature, related probably to Dave Spart.

          • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

            It is funny how the EU referendum has to be rephrased as so many voters are unaware that the UK is even in the EU. Thatcher did a thorough job dumbing down our schools,but a better job indoctrinating oafs like Malcy.

          • Caractacus

            Notice how Telemachus has disappeared after his utter humiliation of election day?

          • eclair

            A troll by any other name……..

  • No Man’s Land

    Excellent article. There’s a reason why the likes of Len doesn’t want to modernize, is because the current structure made both him and his apparatchiks. There’s definitely a role for unions in the modern private sector especially around call centres, supermarket warehouses and care homes where workers are often exploited. They’d also probably enjoy popular support because I think the customer service of these industries would also improve.

    Len of course doesn’t get this, because the last real job he had was working on the docks of Liverpool in the 1960s. Since then he’s been a full time union man and political intriguer and Militant sympathizer.

  • Terence Hale

    Hi,
    “Why is Len McCluskey paying Carter-Ruck to threaten me?” If Mr. McCluskey was smart he would buy stocks and shares in the companies he class as adversaries so to address them at general meetings to put his point.

  • scampy

    Yes but who are the donkeys supporting this fat semi literate ugly drunk?

  • Otto von Bismarck

    ‘But few marriages survive adultery — and McCluskey’s eyes were always wandering’.

    Bit of a low blow! Great piece anyhow.

  • …”There is a comprehensible left-wing case for a new socialist party. There are times when I might even vote for one — although I am not sure how many others would. ” …and from comment belo9w …””Only 14 per cent of private–sector workers are trade union members. The future of those scraping a living in shopping centres and call centres is precarious and non-unionised.” ” …

    UNITE wants to start a worker’s party, but this cannot succeed, as the kind of worker that is increasing is not one who can fit into trade union membership, as zero hour contracted, temporary, part time, casual, too low waged to such an extent that is below the LOWER EARNINGS LEVEL to get automatic National Insurance credits, and therefore not in the welfare state nor the state pension system.

    They are called the Precariat.

    The proleterait is now called the salariat – the ones who fit neatly into trade unions as permanent, secure, full time jobs with good terms and conditions, works pensins and holiday rights.

    The salariat are in decline, especially from privatisation of public services, that mean lay offs, early retirement, wage cuts and reduced terms and conditions.

    Asked by me directed to Mr Len McClusky several times now is if UNITE would support a new party that misses not one potential voter entirely ignored by Labour, who now have no reason to exist. You may as well vote Tory.

    – Poor pensioners within the Precariat.

    – the Precariat of all ages that cannot be within a trade union as too precarious a working life.
    SEE WHO THE PRECARIAT ARE:
    http://alwyasnew.blogspot.co.uk/2015/05/workers-made-poor-by-design-in-uk.html

    – New pensioners from next year getting vastly reduced or nil state pension for life from the flat rate state pension (at least over 55 per cent of those with state pension pay out dates on and from 6 April 2016).

    https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/state-pension-at-60-now

    – Poor within the disabled / chronic sick in or out of work, losing benefit, sanctioned or suffering long delays in getting benefit.

    – The lowest waged / unemployed / disabled hit by the Bedroom Tax and loss of council tax support.

    – The lowest waged being socially cleansed out of London’s and the total loss of social housing in huge swathes of London.

    Forcing these displaced Londoners into unemployment, and forcing them to live in areas far to the north of London like Birmingham, Balck Country or Stoke-on-Trent, where there is little work, then put on workfare, so taking both social housing and low waged jobs from the locals.

    – Lowest waged council workers suffering wage cuts of up to £6000 a year, which is about the same as women lose by the raised retirement age, being as the state pension is payable if remain in work or not.

    http://alwyasnew.blogspot.co.uk/2015/05/the-tories-endanger-economy-swans-would.html

    http://alwyasnew.blogspot.co.uk/2015/05/who-are-voter-base-for-swans-new-party.html

    UNITE invited to help make this party a reality:
    http://www.theswansnewparty.org.uk

    I can write it up as I’m half Greek and a long time fan of SYRIZA.

    But young feet are need to give legs to the Swans new party to walk into reality.

    No The Swans new party are not the socialists of England, who lose all their deposits as were too communist too soon and too fast.

    The Swans new party do not see the enemy as the rich.

    But the aristocratic mindset of public school educated political class, that are the direct cause of starvation from babes in wombs to grannies, that can only get worse.

  • The Masked Marvel

    Why is Len McCluskey paying Carter-Ruck to threaten me?

    Because it wouldn’t look good if he tried to silence Jim Murphy?

    We knew the Left would begin to voraciously eat their own after such a stunning election defeat, but one assumed it would start differently.

  • MikeF

    “Rahman fought the Labour party in the East End by exploiting racial and religious division, in a manner leftists would rightly denounce if a white Ukip politician were to do the same.”
    No they would denounce it hypocritically because much of the left routinely exploits – or to be more precise invents and fosters – racial and religious division to its own advantage. Labour’s construction of ethnic voting blocs – the reason for its refusal to act to stop mass sexual abuse in Rotherham – is a case in point. Rahman, of course, is simply a product of that policy who has gone rogue. Also a ‘white, UKIP politician’ would not ‘do the same’ – why do you need to spout that canard when talking about the left?

  • Jingleballix

    Cohen is undoubtedly a principled chap.

    McCluskey is just a thug……..a wealthy, posing undemocratic thug.

    A few years ago, I was staying in the Dukes Hotel in St James. I returned at about 10.45p.m. and went to its superb bar for a night-cap. On a nearby table, were sat three very self-assured and well-heeled blue-collar chaps……the two older ones were regaling the younger one with ‘union war stories’….for 45 mins I was all ears, and formed the impression that the unions war simply demagogues.

    Was McCluskey in the party that night? I don’t know, but I bet he knows the men that were.

  • mrsjosephinehydehartley

    Surely a union leader has a certain job to do. A journalist at work has a certain job to do also..haven’t they?..but does the job of a journalist normally entail slagging off somebody else’s job seemingly just for the fun of it?

    • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

      It does when they are paid by the Barclay brothers’.

  • CortexUK

    Because he’s a fascist.

    And as Churchill warned, the next fascists will call themselves “anti-fascist”.

    • grimm

      Did Churchill give that warning? If so, where? Can you provide a reference to the quote please.

      • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

        He barely knows which way up to sit on a toilet, so references are beyond his pay grade.

  • ant

    Hilarious that Carter-Ruck has actually taken Unite’s money. Knowing this is classic case of ‘fair comment’ and totally without merit, they must have seen dear old Len, and his idiot members’ cash, coming.

  • Patrick Roy

    Union leaders are big business, big scum.

    • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

      You sir are a total ass.

      • Patrick Roy

        Oh, I know it might seem that way for now…. But face facts. It’s over.

  • Suleiman

    Bashing McCluskey is not the main lesson from the story, and not the main point on which to concentrate.

    The main point is this evil called “the libel laws” or “defamation laws”. We should not see it as a matter of Right and Left, not even of being anti-establishment. For your attention : we have here McCluskey threatening legal action, while just before the elections the tiny socialist blog “Political Scrapbook” has requested financial support from its readers because it had been threatened by Conservative Central Office / Grant Shapps in exactly same way : solicitors’ letters on their behalf threatening suing this tiny blog for libel.

    The libel laws are a cancer in the body of the nation. We cannot even say that it is only the establishment trying to oppress us simple citizens. Too many of the same “simple citizens” think in exactly this same damaging fashion : you said something unpleasant about me, I’ll take you to court. This tendency of people to rush to feel insulted must be blocked first of all by a change in the law. Without a change in the law, if we just wait to educate people that they should learn to take on the chin insults and accusations, we shall wait forever, and we shall remain in the current situation that people cannot raise important public issues, and come out with important accusations against specific people (important in that they are touching upon our British public corruption), only because of the libel law.

    I believe that we shall always have the need to some kind of court to arbitrate claims which allege that untruths were said or written against someone. I therefore do not accept the suggestion that the concept of libel or defamation will be abolished and that no one will be able to sue in court for libel/defamation. What I suggest is : Maximum penalty in libel cases will be put on £1.-, a symbolic sum, (or if you want, just a bit higher, never more than £1,000.-, but I personally prefer the one sum of £1.- and that’s it). There will be no awards of costs, and people will be urged to represent themselves or through a friend. We should have “small claims courts” for libel.

    One thing for sure : the reform or revision of those draconian libel laws which we have now is a political act, and should not be left to lawyers, but should be done by others, for example – by politicians. Lawyers have a massive vested interest in continuation of the current situation, which for them is an easy gold mine. To leave it to lawyers will be as stupid and as insincere as handing suggesting and formulating reforms of our corrupt Employment Tribunals into the hands of Employment Judges and Employment Solicitors (not that everyone of these is corrupt, but plenty benefit from the appalling situation in the Employment Tribunals as it is).

  • FrankS2

    discus

  • mctruck

    “The Spectator’s lawyers told the Carter-Ruckers that their demands were ‘absurd’”

    Disgraceful. A perfect opportunity to deploy Arkell vs. Pressdram, thrown away.
    They should be ashamed of themselves.

  • sevenpillars

    If the Conservatives wanted to plant a mole within the Labour movement to keep Labour unelectable and far left they could hardly do any better than McClusky. His union’s influence on the party is pure poison; from cheating in Falkirk, placing undue pressure on leadership candidates and from owning MPs through their membership or sponsorship of Unite. Support for Rahman shows how the left have no scruples, morals or principles and are moral relativists – whether something is wrong depends on whose doing it rather than the act itself e.g. If the BNP do it, it’s bad, but Rahman then it’s O.K. Repuslive!! Keep it up Len!

  • Muttley

    Sorry old boy, but we all get threatened with the law if we tell the truth these days. Largely thanks to lefties like you.

  • Hippograd

    In other words, Rahman engaged in racial profiling, the exploitation of religious superstition for political advantage. He also perpetrated an electoral fraud, which denied the people of the East End their basic right to have their views represented in a fair election.

    Well, Nick, you warned us this would happen if we allowed mass immigration from a country as corrupt as Bangladesh. The situation for the gay community in the East End has deteriorated very badly too. It’s not liberal to import fraud-friendly sexist homophobes by the million, as you so rightly pointed out, before going us to advise us to follow Israel’s policies on mass immigration:

    Israel’s response to blacks, Muslims and other enrichers

    If it’s good for a progressive, female-friendly democracy like Israel it’s good for the UK — as you’ve so often pointed out.

  • Terry Field

    Union leaders preside over a dying social, economic and political structure.
    To corporations their worth is as part of the HR department but unpaid.
    To society, they are sectarian representatives, and many are thought of as being led by people who remind them of Capone and other mobsters.
    As for the Labour Party and its syndicalist history, the great majority of the population has nothing to do with either entity, generally have no gain from, and thus no interest in, either entity, and thus move more and more to the view that they are like the C of E; quaint, a touch absurd, definitely from ‘the past’, and offering nothing, or worse than nothing,
    Mc Whoeverheis has worked hard to convince the broad mass of the intelligent population that he and his ‘onion’ are comedic and to be avoided; including at the ballot box. In this he has been a great success.
    So bye bye.
    History books will provide you with a footnote, that will yellow with time, and soon disappear entirely.
    I hear Bilimand has booked a final resting place in the wall at Red Square next to ‘Len’, who is still’ In.’
    I expect Mc whoeverheis has his eye on the next bier along.
    The representatives of the Befnulgreenunbow Local Soviet and other centres of crypto-socialist activity will then troop past them in a few years time to build up an appetite for a refreshing bowl of borscht.
    Fun Fun Fun.

  • Obviously it is mere speculation, if not a guess, but you have asked the question ” why is Len McCluskey paying Carter Ruck to threaten me?”
    I would suggest that is because you are an Ace Turd.

  • scampy

    A fat semi literate drunk leading a large trade union?
    What would the late great Jimmy Reid think of this obnoxious clown?

    • Not everyone thinks Nick Cohen is an obnoxious clown. But Len McCluckey probably does. Semi literate? Yes I guess so. But I didn’t realise Nick ran a Trade Union. I suppose unpleasant Union bashing is okay as compared with anti-semitism. I think both to be most unpleasant.

      People who waffle on about the rule of law, agree with the spankers in the Conservative Party and slag off people who disagree with them can hardly accuse another citizen who turns the tables on him of hypocrisy.

      Unedifying I have to say.

  • henryGrattan1800

    Nick, so your lawyers work for free? why are you so scared to run to your lawyers? its only a letter not a court judgement

  • Abie Vee

    In Falkirk the Police found nothing illegal.

    It’s no coincidence that the establishment’s attacks upon the Unions led to zero-hours contracts, a million public service jobs lost to cut-price cowboys, a fall in unfair dismissal cases, stagnating living standards and a minimum wage short-term contact culture.

    Meanwhile average CEO salary packages are worth 300 times that of their employees.

    You seem to think that corporate lobbying is acceptable, but on the other hand it isn’t right for Unions to sponsor MP’s (which I might point out they have always done).

    Instead of flouncing around shouting “foul” you’d be better employed addressing the real villains behind our sinister kleptocracy. I sense another David Arronovitch in the making here.

  • Chamber Pot

    I’m always very suspicious about attacks on union leaders but nowadays I actually don’t understand what they stand for – selfishness I suppose ?

    Once upon a time they actually would do more than just cosset their members and feather their own nests, and would have prevented the imposition of zero-hour contracts, the off-shoring British jobs to India, and the mass immigration undermining the work prospects millions of very disadvantaged Britons and their children.

    McCluskey seems to have got things a*se about face, having said that, it may explain why he himself is no oil painting…….in which case the idea that one could be sued for ‘ highly defamatory portrayal ‘ is fanciful in the extreme.

  • Sten vs Bren

    “The future of those scraping a living in shopping centres and call centres is precarious and non-unionised”

    Not necessarily. They may form new unions.

  • beyondthewhinge

    I’ll confess that I keep hoping McCluskey will make good on his threats to jump ship to the SNP.

  • Anna De Paola

    What is it with the Union representatives ruining the prospects of Socialist party? Seems to be a global phenomenon. Same thing going on in Finland with Antti Rinne pulling the SDP under with with him. Also mercilessly persecuting his rival, young Jutta Urpilainen whom many have perceived as a rising star, keeping her away from importants posts that werely widely considered her due. Lord knows, in any other country that calls itself democratic, a leader of a party that lost so big in the elections as the SDP did — colossally, historically that is — would have already resigned! But not Rinne, he sits like a nasty kind of mold. Soon there will be no party for him left to lead. A dangerous situation, as we have a great shift to the right with three right winger parties in government and each more extreme than the other. Already they are propositioning fierce cuts and breaches to the contstitution.

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