Our General Secretary is Mark Serwotka, who is a prominent voice against the cuts. I don't object to that, after all, it is the public sector unions whose membership is most at risk from the Government's spending cuts. I tend to disagree with his rather simplistic view of the world, and his incredibly naive view that not only is there a tax gap of £120 billion per year, but that it can be closed in full - frankly, if tax avoidance could be clamped down on to that extent, many of those affected would relocate offshore.
However, he is entitled to that stance. What I find particularly difficult is being a member of an organisation that believes that the Government is evil and eats babies. Evidence of that arrived on my desk yesterday in the form of the papers for the Revenue & Customs Group Executive Elections.
The slogan emblazoned across the bottom of the manifesto booklet says "Election 2011 - It's up to you who runs our union". Up to a point, perhaps. There are effectively two slates and the occasional independent, offering very little scope to vote for individual candidates on their merits.
The biggest, and clearly most organised slate is the Left Unity list. Describing themselves as democratic socialists, they tend to offer manifestos which are of the 'cut and paste' variety. Given that, as a liberal, I prefer candidates who talk about the issues rather than doing as I'm told, they start with a huge disadvantage in terms of attracting my votes. Indeed, the idea that they are representative of the actual membership is almost entirely absurd.
Most of the rest of the candidates indicate their independence, yet urge me to vote for a list of others. However, their manifestos tend to be different from each other, talking about their record, and their frustration and anger at the activities of senior management. Given that I have my doubts about how the Department is led, that helps.
I fear, however, that the result is going to disappoint, as an analysis of the vacancies, and the number of Left Unity candidates might indicate;
- Group President (one vacancy, one Left Unity candidate out of two)
- Group Vice Presidents (two vacancies, two Left Unity candidates out of three)
- Assistant Group Secretaries (ten vacancies, nine Left Unity candidates out of fifteen)
- Group Executive Committee (twenty-one vacancies, twenty-one Left Unity candidates out of thirty-eight)
Besides, it would pay for about 3,500 A4 leaflets for Stowupland ward...