Guest Blog by Austin Harney, PCS member
IT IS CLEAR THAT LYNN HENDERSON, THE ASSISTANT GENERAL SECRETARY CANDIDATE, APPEALS TO LABOUR PARTY MEMBERS, VOTERS AND MANY OTHER MEMBERS OPPOSED TO AUSTERITY IN PCS!
As we are, all, aware, Lynn Henderson is organising a strong and vibrant campaign in standing for Assistant General Secretary of PCS! Not only is she well known in Scotland and Northern Ireland, but she has been a very close long serving comrade of Katy Clark, who was the most Socialist MP in Scotland. John McDonnell and the whole of the Labour Representation Committee (LRC) have been, solidly, behind this former MP. At her last general election in 2015, Katy lost her seat to the SNP but it was at a time when the Labour Party in Scotland was under a Blairite leadership and lost credibility with all Scottish voters. At this general election of 2015, the LRC canvassed for Katy, non-stop. A number of the LRC members gave up their time to canvass for her all the way from London and the South coast of England. Katy Clark has been a guest speaker at many LRC Conferences. Today, the Scottish Labour Party is beginning to make recoveries under a new policy by its leader, Jeremy Corbyn.
This post raises important issues as Lynn Henderson has her own election website. Lynn is promising to re-build and recruit more members into PCS in every workplace as our Trade Union continues to stagnate and decline. If we refer to the section on pay in Lynn Henderson's website, you will see a photograph of her standing shoulder to shoulder with Katy Clark. Today, we have a far larger Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn's leadership that could be described as the largest party in Western Europe. It is, also, the only political party promising to abolish delegated pay bargaining in the Civil Service, increase our pay above inflation and restore our traditional pension rights! Surely, PCS should be building further links with the Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn when we need to rebuild our trade union.
As a PCS Left Unity member, I will be asked to support the Left Unity candidate, Chris Baugh. But, today, I am attending the Labour Representation Committee Conference and will have to look all my other comrades in the eye. Independent Left members of the LRC will be supporting John Maloney who is a Labour Party member and will have nothing to feel guilty about. For years the LRC have told me to campaign for PCS to affiliate to the Labour Party of which I could not promise before Jeremy Corbyn was elected as leader. During that time, even, Len McLuskey, publicly, told me in front of LRC comrades to fight for PCS to affiliate in the Labour Party. Discussion of affiliation is well beyond the remit of this post. But we need to pressurise all Labour MPs to honour their party policy in fighting for all PCS members.
Later on in the afternoon, I will be attending the Labour Party Autism/Neurodiversity Launch Meeting. John McDonnell will be a guest speaker at both these events. This meeting will also be important to me. Not only did PCS fight for me to be reinstated when I was, unfairly, dismissed but the Labour Party is the only political party to endorse Autism/Neurodiversity in its manifesto for the first time in history during the 2017 general election.
During this Branch AGM season, PCS members will have important decisions to make and with a current Tory government committed to more austerity, our future hangs in the balance.