Idiots Break Up Trade Union Negotiations

Protesters at Acas headquartersI am astounded by this. UNITE the union were engaged in talks aimed at averting the need for strike action that was going to cost their members considerable amounts of money in lost wages. I don’t know how likely the talks were to reach a settlement, but clearly the union were doing exactly the right thing in talking to management to seek to make the strike unnecessary.

Read what happened for your self, courtesy of BBC:

Dozens of demonstrators from the Socialist Workers Party breached security at the London offices of the conciliation service Acas.

It is not known how much progress was made in the last-ditch talks aimed at averting strikes by cabin crew.

The latest strikes follow a long-running dispute over jobs, pay and working conditions.

The two sides sat around the negotiating table for more five hours on Saturday before the protesters interrupted the meeting.

More than 100 demonstrators gathered outside the building, saying they were there to show solidarity with BA cabin crew.

Banners and shouting

Those who made it to the 23rd floor, where the talks were taking place, came face to face with BA chief executive Willie Walsh and Tony Woodley, joint leader of Unite.

Mr Woodley angrily remonstrated with the protesters telling them to “shut up”.

The talks had to be abandoned amid scenes of chaos and Mr Walsh had to be escorted by police from the building.

The protesters, many holding up Socialist Workers Party banners, stayed in the building until they were ejected by police officers.

Why have the SWP started breaking up trade union negotiations? Words completely fail me. Has the leadership of the SWP been taken over by the Sparticist League?

more here from Phil at AVPS, Harry’s Place and John Gray, who quotes Tony Woodley’s furious reaction.

This is the Sky Report. “Some 100 people broke into the HQ of the conciliation service Acas where talks were ongoing to try and settle the long-running dispute.

But the discussions have now been abandoned after BA chief executive Willie Walsh was forced to leave the venue.

A furious Tony Woodley, joint general secretary of Unite, told Sky News the activists were “idiots” and “lunatics”.

“Negotiations have not broken down, they have been broken up. We have made some progress but there is more to do,” he said.

“This was a complete waste of an early-evening.

“I am so disappointed… that idiots, who think they are helping, but they are outsiders. They are lunatics.”

When asked if talks would continue on Sunday, he added: “I hope so, but Willie Walsh was harangued and left the building quickly, understandably.”

Unite members of BA cabin crew are set for a five-day walk-out from Monday unless an agreement can be reached”.

361 comments on “Idiots Break Up Trade Union Negotiations

  1. #1

    hah, I think you are a bit jaundiced there. this is not the sort of thing that Duncan Hallas or Jim Higgins would ever have countenanced.

    Even in more recent years, I couldn’t see John rees or Lindsey german being this out of touch.

    Breaking up trade union negotiations is appalling

  2. Andy,
    should we be worried about this and should we blame foreigners for our being worried, such as bolshy Greeks for setting a bad example?

  3. well whatever the merits or otherwise of the Right to Work campaign it is now stone cold dead.

    I wouldn’t fancy being a prominent SWP activist in UNITE now!!!!

  4. It comes to a sorry pass when one can say that even Rees and German wouldn’t have sunk so low.
    Once apon a time the party would have had a industrial dept. and a fraction invilved in the dispute who would have stopped this lunacy. Now its idea of class struggle is Plane stupid and other Jocasta and Jeremy toff activisms- “no more Malaga for you jonny Pleb, its Blackpool for the likes of you”

  5. John on said:

    And just to emphasise how utterly idotic and out of touch this organisation is, here’s Richard Seymour’s take on events.

    ‘What I can assert with reasonable confidence is that the protest did not disrupt negotiations, as is alleged by practically every media outlet I have seen, which predictably avoids the substantive issues behind the dispute and the protest. This is because the BA management is not negotiating, and the union leadership is neither in a position to compel them to negotiate, nor is it inclined to. It is effectively drafting terms of surrender.’


  6. “This is because the BA management is not negotiating, and the union leadership is neither in a position to compel them to negotiate, nor is it inclined to. ”

    fucking middle class wank idiot.

    have they any idea how much harder they have just made it for the left in the unions.

  7. #9 Really? We’ve said it was a mistake and counterproductive. What’s cryptic about that? Is it because we didn’t put ‘idiot’ in the title? 🙂

    We’ll have something more comprehensive in a day or two.

  8. Neil

    no, I meant it was literally cryptic, I think you have the wrong link, when i followed it , it went to this

    Kutsunomiya’s Blog
    Just another weblog

    エラー404 – 見つかりませんでした

  9. I have now had a chance to read the full assinine crassness of richard seymours ultra-leftism.

    It is extraordinary.

    It is the most ultra-left, substuitutionist piece of garbage I have ever read by British socialist.

    Our sage guide to the working class writes:

    “The outcome of this strike will not be determined by talks between Unite leaders and BA bosses. Consequently, the allegation being put about on Sky, the BBC, the Daily Mail and elsewhere that negotiations were scuppered by dozens of protesters surrounding Willie Walsh and advising him, rather volubly, that they support the cabin crew, is absurd. If the protests have had any impact on the talks, I suspect, it will have been to reinforce the emerging sense of solidarity between the Unite leadership and the BA bosses. Tony Woodley hurriedly departed the ACAS building after Willie Walsh’s hasty exit, complaining that Walsh had “understandably” felt “harangued” by the protesters – a case of political Stockholm syndrome if ever there was one.”

    So, if the strike won’t be resolved by talks, how will it be resolved? by a revolution?

    And if Tony Woodley is apparently having feelings of solidaroty with Willie walsh (an accusation that actually made my blood boil), then who can be trusted to lead the strike instead, the SWP?

  10. Nadia Chern on said:

    This is politically embarrassing for the whole left. I am simply stunned at the ineptitude on display here. As if all that matters is that the BA workers strike – no, what matters is that they can defend their pay, conditions, jobs and union. If ever there was an illustration of how a student organization without working class influence can get tactics so wrong, this is it.

    It stuns me that the SWP has just given every witch hunter in a union office the reason to drive at what’s left of its organization. Attacking negotiations in progress rather than lobbying the union HQ? Doing so without a huge number of BA workers with you?

  11. Ian Croft on said:

    Surely this ends SWP involvement in the TUSC? The Socialist Party will cut them loose. The whole point of TUSC was to slowly win over Left unions to the idea of getting a new leftwing party. The RMT will not want anything to do with the SWP now.

  12. I do feel sorry for SWP members witchhunted out of UNISON who have now joined UNITE, and now have to face the backlash for this!

  13. #21


    There is a film above you can watch, where SWP members explain in their own words what they did.

    You could also read the BBC and sky reports, and read Lenin’s Tomb.

    the facts are not in dispute. the SWP smashed up negotiations between UNITE and BA.

  14. This is a bizarre stunt. If 200 cabin crew had done it to put pressure on the bureaucrats it would make sense. How it’s supposed to do anything other than get the SWP on telly and make the participants feel like radical situationists is a bit of a mystery.

    It also lends some support to those cynics who suggested that the Right to Work conference, from which this “idea” was launched, was a wholly owned SWP subsiduary.

    However I’m not sure that description like “fucking middle class wank idiot” (#14) clarify things much.

  15. Please someone tell me that this wasn’t sanctioned by the SWP leadership. If it was, it’s hard to see how anyone can work with them again. I’m appalled.

  16. Hugo on said:

    I for one was cheered to see the young comrades tell that corporate bullyboy where to go……where need a bit more of this hopefully involving thousands of workers . Many of the cabin crews have been sacked, threatened and intimidated while this dispute has been going on . It was good to see the bosses get a taste of their own medicine.

  17. The SWP has put a statement by Martin Smith on its website defending the action. I think it was a bizarre and embarrassing stunt. At first I wondered whose idea it was but as I spotted at least one Central Committee member on the BBC news I assume it was officially sanctioned.

    It seems utterly substitutionist and pointless and I think any SWP members who go along to BA picket lines will have some explaining to do.

  18. #29

    “29.Please someone tell me that this wasn’t sanctioned by the SWP leadership.”

    There are CC members visible in the news reports.

  19. Martin Smith:

    Socialist Workers Party
    Contact SWP National Secretary Martin Smith – 07904 157779 –

    Hundreds of people protested at ACAS headquarters today where negotiations were taking place between British Airways boss Willie Walsh and Unite the Union. The target of the protest was Willie Walsh, the union-busting and bullying head of BA.

    BA workers are unable to speak out in person, fearing draconian disciplinary measures. At present, 48 BA cabin crew members have been suspended and seven dismissed for voicing their support for BA workers striking to defend their jobs and conditions.

    Willie Walsh, the media and politicians have argued that in a time of recession and economic crisis, workers should accept huge cuts in pay and conditions without resistance. But only resistance can stop ordinary workers from being forced to pay for a crisis brought on by the bosses, the bankers and the politicians for whom profit is far more important than the lives of ordinary workers.

    There will be more protests and strikes if bosses and politicians persist in making ordinary people pay for their crisis. Through strike action and protests we will continue to oppose these attacks on the poorest in society, unlike British Airways who rely on the undemocratic courts to block workers from using their basic right to withdraw their labour.

    This is a fight for every job, every public service, and for the right to resist the massive cuts being planned by the Tory-Lib Dem coalition.

    SWP National Secretary Martin Smith said: “The SWP believes it was right to protest and make a stand against the bully-boy and union-basher Willie Walsh. We don’t believe working class people should pay the price for their economic crisis

  20. Thanks Andy. Yes, I’ve tried to follow what went on, but I still can’t quite find out if the meeting was coming to an end or if the demonstrators did actually end the meeting. In the film, Walsh seems to be standing outside the room on the phone. Then Woodley tells them to shuttup. But they’re in the corridor outside the room, aren’t they?

  21. Alfie on said:

    Infantile behaviour from the ultra-left again. What did the morons who inhabit the SWP expect to gain from this irresponsible and wrecking act? What business it is of the SWP anyway? Who do they they think they are? Closet Trotskyite Richard Seymour who arrogantly describes his bog site as “Lenin’s Tomb cannot justify this crass behaviour with spinning words.
    The only person who is satisfied with tonight’s action is Willie Walsh himself.

  22. Graham Day on said:


    It shows the utter contempt these toytown revolutionaries have for the BA cabin crew – ordinary people who’ve gone on strike (as always) as a last resort. Assuming that they’re like 99.999% of other strikers, they’ll want the whole thing resolved by negotiation… negotiations that have just become harder because of the immature idiocy of these clowns.

  23. David on said:

    I think that there are many BA cabin crew members tonight who are very pleased to see their union hunting bosses getting told very publicly where to get off.

  24. Lynsey on said:

    Please, can we stop wi the bloody students stuff. Students arnae the problem here. Just for the record, a good few of SSY are students and we ALL think this is ridiculous, arrogant, disruptive bullshit.

  25. Michael, according to the news coverage the meeting was paused while the union considered whether to take an offer back to their members, but the question is really what were the SWP hoping to achieve by storming ACAS? As someone has said, if it had been UNITE members who felt they weren’t being represented properly it might at least make sense. There are occasions when it is desirable to pile in and disrupt an event going on, but a union negotiation doesn’t really fit the bill.

  26. anon on said:


    Christ, just what we need – input from a representative of the State Security Party.

  27. Yes, Lynsey is absolutely right, please don’t use ‘student’ as a term of abuse, also ‘infantile’ suggests children are stupid, they are not.
    I have 4 grandkids aged 6,3 and 7 months and none of them are stupid.

  28. anon on said:

    #48 Comrade Rosen

    Stop asking difficult questions.

    The SWP are bad.

    That’s all you need to know.

  29. Michael, I understand your reluctance to take mainstream media reports at face value, but I think it’s fair to say that they prevented any further dialogue from taking place.

  30. Graham Day on said:

    #48, for a man who makes his living with words you are being unbelievably obtuse…

  31. hugo on said:

    number 39….’toytown revolutionaries’ you say…have you been reading the Neil Kinnock handbook about how to support workers in struggle?

  32. #48

    48.‘They broke up the negotiations’ ‘The meeting was paused’ Which was it?

    There is no incompatability.

    negotiations, which were temporarily paused (as happens often during ACAS talks, as one side or the other wants to confer) were disrupted.

  33. Lynsey on said:

    anon, whichever it was, a temporary or permanent stoppage, it’s still a stupid fucking act. Doesn’t matter how long they stopped the negotiations, fact is that they STOPPED last ditch negotiations at all.

    Speaking from a more personal view, my mum was involved in two major strikes as a UNISON branch secretary and I know from living with her that negotiations are a stressful, intense business, particularly something last ditch like this that’s aimed at stopping workers having to go out on strike. For the SWP to do something like this is just so unbelievably arrogant and unthinking that I honestly cannot believe they EVER thought it was a good idea.

  34. I suspect that this idiocy, which is remarkable even by SWP standards, may be the fruits of bully boy Martin Smith’s leadership. It’s just the kind of ill-advised, macho, reckless posturing that Smith would go in for.

    A few questions for any Swappies thinking of defending this act of outright stupidity:

    1. Did the cabin crew workers and union members invite the SWP to even turn up, let alone storm a delicate negotiation session, or was this just yet another ‘sell the paper, build the party’ stunt?

    2. Is this sort of crass and reckless opportunism the new style we can expect from the Swappie leadership from now on?

    3. Will the Swappie leadership, having seen the undoubted damage this act has done to the case of the cabin workers, have the good grace to make some sort of apology and, hopefully, put an end to this kind of stunt?


  35. John on said:

    Michael Rosen, this is nothing more than concern trolling on your part.

    You know what happened, so knock it off.

    The sight of middle class students shouting abuse at a union leader during sensitive negotiations should be a source of shame to all who support BA cabin crew.

    The jobs and terms and conditions of thousands of workers are on the line, and this stunt at this time harms rather than helps.

  36. “Michael, I understand your reluctance to take mainstream media reports at face value, but I think it’s fair to say that they prevented any further dialogue from taking place.”

    Till when? Later tonight? Tomorrow morning? By how much has this demo ‘disrupted’ the negotiations? More than, say, the tea not being served? More than, say, the lifts not working? More than say, someone getting an earache?

  37. Lynsey on said:

    Hello anon person who was there! So youse didnae know he was there for negotiations, despite youse being in a political organisation that is presumably up on the news and knew that last ditch talks were taking place?

    And youse didn’t twig that he was in negotiations even when you got to ACAS HEADQUARTERS?!

    Don’t gies it!

    Maybe ACAS headquarters doesn’t have much security because they don’t expect a bunch of fools to pour in and break up union negotiations!

  38. Were any of you at the Right to Work conference? Did you listen to the Unite and BA workers (NOT SWP members), about Woodley and greek Strikers and Pensioners convention, Labour MPs, Labour left, community campaigners, migrant workers, l, UCU ect – ? Where you outside the Right to Work conference at 5 pm? If not, why do you assume that all of these reports are straightforward?

  39. Clayton on said:

    More culmsy campaigning from the Frank Spencer Party, in an age of political sophistication and spin its been quite refreshing to watch Martin Smith and the toytown trots piss what’s left of their credibility up against the wall.

  40. #55 It was decided to “put the words of the conference into action”? So apart from shouting at Willie Walsh, to which there is no objection in the abstract, there was no plan or idea of what you were doing there? And what did you think he was doing in an ACAS building? Having dinner?

  41. anon on said:

    The SWP are bad.

    Like really bad.

    Diane Abbott is good.

    Has anyone heard from the great leader?

    The king across the water?

    I wonder what he has to say about all this.

    How could he leave us all in this, our hour of need?

  42. Lynsey on said:

    Michael, ACAS provide a vital service and yes, a bunch of people pouring in shouting will of course be a bigger disruption than somebody getting a sore ear or no getting a cup of tea, and I think you know that fine well.

  43. #55 So let us get this straight, you managed to spend a whole day at a conference ostensibly discussing trade unionism, and yet during that whole day you didn’t learn that UNITE and BA were in negotiations.

    What do you think Willy Walsh was doing at ACAS?

    there were SWP cc members there, who presumably know what ACAS is and what they do!

    THE SWP are finished, I just hope someone has the decency to bury the body before it starts to smell.

  44. Michael, stop quibbling. Whether the meeting was in session or on a break, the SWP disrupted the negotiations and brought them to a premature end.

  45. Michael, you are asking a lot of questions but not answering any, as to what purpose this action served and what BA workers might think of it being conducted on “their behalf” by the SWP?

  46. Lynsey on said:

    I’m sorry, but I really have to pick up on this from ‘person who was there’

    “I really do not believe that anyone in there felt that they would be so lucky as to even get to yell at Walsh, let alone spoil his day out and cause him to leave.”

    You didn’t interrupt a day out punting or something, you interrupted vital last ditch labour negotiations!

  47. Paul Levi on said:

    There wasn’t a single BA worker involved. That is the beginning and end of the matter. This was substitutionism writ large. All the other idiocies – perpetrated by one or two known idiots – flowed. My guess is that the SWP leadership wanted a lobby and that the general line they are pushing was taken up by some established members who they no longer have the authority to lead and the result was an idiotic and damaging adventure.

  48. Imatrot on said:

    Love all this anti-SWP crap masquarading as psuedo workerism… Without any knowledge of what actually took place other than reports from those reliably anti-worker, anti-union Sky News and BBC we have Newman rush to condemn another left group in harsh language and his merry little band of keyboard sectarians join the fun tripping over themselves to join the catcalling comdemnation.

    The underlying truth is exposed in the language used ‘idiots’ ‘scabs”toytown revolutionaries’ and that evil amongst evils of psuedo workerists ‘students’. This isn’t a disagreement about tactics but an excuse to poor shit on the SWP. I have questions about the tactics used, especially the way it can be spun by the media, and the way the hyper-ventalating idiots who make up the left blogosphere will froth at the mouth, but I think it would be better engaged constructively, meaning people maybe should suck up their saliva and wipe the froth from their mouths and wait until we have a better idea of what actually happened than automatically siding with the capitalist press.

  49. Michael

    Perhaps you could a poem

    We’re going on a BA hunt!
    We’re going on a BA hunt!

    We’re gonna catch a big one!
    We’re gonna catch a big one!
    I’m not afraid!
    I’m not afraid!
    Are you?
    Are you?
    Not me!
    Not me!

    Here comes the gate of ACAS
    ” ” (Group Echos)
    Now we’re on a BA hunt ” “
    We’re gonna catch a big one ” “
    I’m not afraid ” “
    Are you? ” ” Not me! ” “

  50. Andy, if I may – The facts are in some dispute actually. The only reports you are going on are the media reports. I have heard from people at the conference, non-SWP members included, who assert that the protest was initiated with the support of the whole conference after formal business was concluded, and not just that of the SWP. If reports that it involved around a third of delegates are accurate, then this would support such a claim. I don’t believe, knowing many of the SWP members who were on the protest, that they would simply have decided to act alone in that manner. Nor am I willing to take at face value the claim that they would have done so without at least tacit or implied approval from some of the victimised Bassa workers who spoke at conference – anonymously, so that they couldn’t be sacked by Walsh, who has already figured close to fifty union organisers. And lastly, I would be astonished if the idea of a protest wasn’t at least discussed with someone in Bassa.

    The narrative being presented on the BBC, and therefore on the blogs and on Twitter etc, of the SWP single-handedly going out on a destructive course to smash up union negotiations, is one that completely jars with the way the SWP has been trying to re-orient itself of late, based on a perspective that decisively repudiates grand-standing and ultra-leftism. It doesn’t fit with my own experiences in the party either. And to be frank, I doubt that if you really think it through you will find it to be consistent with your own understanding of the SWP, warts and all. If the narrative turned out to be accurate, which seems highly improbable, I don’t believe that many in the SWP would defend the tactic. And even if it isn’t, there may still be grounds for criticism. But I recommend you apply the brakes before allowing a media that is largely sycophantic toward BA bosses lead you into reaching conclusions, and encouraging certain attitudes, that you may later regret.

  51. Come on; who was actually there? Report back on the make-up of the conference, please, the motions passed, the co-ordinated actions agreed. The Greek strikers’ advice to delegates. Come on…go for it.

  52. Nadia Chern on said:

    John Taylor
    Acas National (Head Office)
    Euston Tower, 286 Euston Road, London NW1 3JJ.

    From the ACAS website (feedback section)….

  53. #73
    From Richard Seymour:

    The facts are in some dispute actually. The only reports you are going on are the media reports. I have heard from people at the conference, non-SWP members included, who assert that the protest was initiated with the support of the whole conference after formal business was concluded, and not just that of the SWP. If reports that it involved around a third of delegates are accurate, then this would support such a claim. I don’t believe, knowing many of the SWP members who were on the protest, that they would simply have decided to act alone in that manner

    From Socialist Worker;

    Once the conference’s business was over some 200 SWP members and supporters marched to Euston Towers, where Willie Walsh was in a meeting at the Acas conciliation service.

    which is it Richard?

  54. Nadia Chern on said:

    Sue, were you there? Are you a trade unionist? Do you understand what a union busting operation launched with full connivance of the law courts looks like?

    There are times when ACAS fulfills an important function for the trade union movement. It can help slow the momentum of an employer’s offensive – anyone who has been a union branch secretary or chair knows that there are times for negotiation and times for confrontation BUT they always take it to their members to decide.

    When 2 strike ballots have been outlawed and the union leaders are not fighting, the balance is not in favour of unofficial action.

    This strengthens the BA management hand as we know there is a scab operation prepared and it is intent on destroying the union along with terms and conditions.

  55. jim mclean on said:

    I saw what I saw, dickheads pissing about without a thought for those fighting for their right to maintain meaningful and rewarding employment, no defence for these actions, but it is not new with the SWP, and just as I was beginning to soften, and as for 46# dickhead.

  56. Nadia Chern on said:

    no.80. Nah, just noting that the information is there for anyone with half an ounce of sense. Thanks for asking.

  57. I overwhelmingly find that the biggest idiots in the SWP usually aren’t the students. Of course I think anyone who would be in the SWP is guilty of confusion or very poor judgement and I have come across student SWP members who have done VERY bad, unhelpful, unsocialist things but for example, when we had the anti-SDL demo in Edinburgh I noticed a number of student-SWP members who came on the USEFUL demo (the direct action one that prevented the SDL from leaving the pub), while it tended to be the non-student members (who often hang around the unis like flies trying to influence uni discussion groups) who were arguing for completely the wrong strategy and trying to sabotage the demo.

    I’m not saying that there aren’t idiot students at all, of course there are, but let’s be clear – this isn’t an issue with students. This is an issue with the Socialist Workers Party, who have yet again displayed absolutely astoundingly bad political judgement.

    I notice a number of people saying ‘how can anyone take the SWP seriously now, who will touch them with a bargepole, etc’ – I wonder who would have touched them with a bargepole in any situation where it wasn’t absolutely necessary to work with them after they attempted to destroy the SSP? A fool, for sure

  58. Clayton on said:


    Its just the latest cock up in a long line of crass SWP central committee cock-ups which all the local branch trots are powerless to stop, Martin Smith is the Ian Duncan Smith of leftfield political leadership.

  59. Post 81:

    This wasn’t ‘direct action’, by any means. Proper direct action (I’ve been involved in much of it, by the way) is well planned, the potential consequences are thought out before even going ahead, the people doing it know exactly what they’re doing and have a clear objective, anyone who faces trouble as a result would be supported through any legal or disciplinary action taken against them, and is generally much better enacted.

    This was simply a daft, damaging and thoroughly ridiculous stunt, presumably dreamt up by the dolts on the SWP CC, in order to boost their profile, sell papers and attract new recruits and done without regard to any sensible planning or consideration of the consequences.

  60. Andy, I can tell you what happened at the conference and how that might put quite abit of context on this. I can also tell you about outside the conference and how a group of people, some SWP but most certainly not, went off to ACAS. My issue is the following;

    a. Whatever I say will likely be attacked. I am not defending what happened, but I have noticed how I am continually misread.
    b. My political perspective will piss people off.

    I am tired and don’t want a fight after a really great day. But I do think however valid it is to discuss tactics – and look, a group of young people were inspired by the Greek strikers’ advice, so not a SWP cc co-ordianted thing (whether they claim it to be or not) from what I saw – BA workers were, infact, present today and scared, pissed off with Woodley and told the conference he would sell them out today. And no they weren’t SWP members..

  61. Graham Day on said:


    merry little band of keyboard sectarians

    Mr Pot, can I introduce you to Mr Kettle?

    This isn’t a disagreement about tactics

    Your right, it’s not. It’s a disagreement about a bunch of irresponsible idiots who think that the real lives of real people are just fodder for their own self-important, arrogant sense of “revolutionary purity”.

    The core issue is this: if someone supports the BA cabin crew in their dispute, why would they want to break up the talks intended to resolve it?

  62. willie walsh looks like shay given! on said:


    Yeh Lyndsey, your Mum would know better than to indulge in infantile disruptive behaviour wouldn’t she. Oh no wait…didn’t she lead a pointless demo in the Scottish Parly that got the SSP fined???? Gesture politics…”youse” would know about that.

  63. John on said:


    More sectarian shite. The USEFUL demo, which involved a bunch of bams running daft in the street, while presumably the rally in the The Gardens, which involved a cross section of the community asserting the virtues of multiculturalism, was the USELESS one.

    As for the SSP, don’t even go there.

  64. Sue

    You may be wise to defer discussion, a lot of us are cross about this, and a debate about the tactics could wait until you are less tired.

    Also, it would be a shame for you to be criticised when you were just one of the crowd, and at least brave enough to come here and stick up for the action.

    get some rest


  65. …and the negotiations are now taking place somewhere else or not? The disastrous disruption to the talks will last/has lasted how long? The worst day in the history of demonstrations and the left caused what exactly?

  66. #84. I was at the conference. Yes I am a trade unionist. Yes I understand about negotations and their importance.

  67. Paul Levi on said:

    Not a single BA worker was there. A third, or a half, or a whole if 500 people mobilised by a far left group can and may decide anything. So what? The workers, whose emancipation is supposed to be in their own hands, weren’t there.

    As for the post on the SWP blog about the protest exposing the coming together of the union leadersip and Walsh, words fail. The whole of the left will feel the consequences of this. But we have no obligation to defend idiocy.

  68. Nadia Chern on said:

    Itself to look very dumb indeed. Shame, I used to have some respect for you, Michael.

  69. Andy – I am telling you what I have been told by non-SWP members, which is that the decision to go and protest against Walsh was supported by the whole of the conference, and that it wasn’t just SWP members. The SW report refers to SWP “members and supporters”, it doesn’t say that SWP members were singlehandedly behind the protest, nor does it contain detail as to how the conference organisers arrived at the idea of staging this protest.

    I note that one of the participants above says that s/he had no intention of smashing up negotiations. I have to say this sounds more plausible than the idea that the SWP deliberately set out to disrupt negotiations – contrary to what has been asserted above, this is not our MO.

  70. Andy, thanks. I am not really sticking up for it per se – but it isn’t straightforward I just don’t like the assumptions and tabloid hysteria. I also think there were so many postives that this has been a very good day.

    Woodley said there has been no set back.

  71. #97 “a bunch of bams running daft in the street”.
    John, I never thought you of all people would become a voice of sensibleness.
    Interesting also that the SSY comrades comments are immediately met with derogatory bullshit @96.

  72. The Undertaker on said:

    “THE SWP are finished, I just hope someone has the decency to bury the body before it starts to smell”

    Indeed sir, may I interest you in the plot besides the Respect Party; 25 January 2004 – 6 May 2010, R.I.P.

  73. #104

    I note that one of the participants above says that s/he had no intention of smashing up negotiations. I have to say this sounds more plausible than the idea that the SWP deliberately set out to disrupt negotiations – contrary to what has been asserted above, this is not our MO.

    So what did you think would happen when you arrived at ACAS (clue there, *negotiations in progress*), and went up to the 23rd floor – uninvited – and then started chanting and disrupting???

    Your faux naivity might be convincing if you were stupid, but we all know you are the cleverest man since galileo.

  74. #97 John –

    Do you understand what sectarianism means? It means putting the interests of your group above the interests of the working class. Your group’s interests like getting some publicity, as opposed to the interests of the working class, who sometimes work on planes.

  75. willie walsh looks like shay given! on said:

    Well Eddie, she did set herself up a bit. People in glass houses and all that.

  76. This misnamed ‘lenin’ guy at #73 is talking bollocks. The SWP took it upon themselves to break up union negotiations. Fact. Then ‘lenin’ says that if this narrative is true (and unless the BBC faked the footage, it is), many in the SWP wouldn’t defend it. But that’s not true, is it? Under your rule book you and all members are compelled to support whatever the SWP does, however stupid.

  77. ITN

    ” Last-ditch talks between British Airways and the Unite union were brought to a halt when a dozen or so protesters stormed the Acas building to confront BA Chief Executive Willie Walsh.

    According to reports some progress had been made during the talks before the Socialist Workers Party demonstrators interrupted proceedings. The latest strikes follow an ongoing dispute over jobs, working conditions and pay.

    Both the union and BA will meet again tomorrow at a secret location to continue the talks. ”

    So, this episode is how big? As big as Andy’s indignation? Bigger?

  78. jim mclean on said:

    But if there was no SWP would we have to invent them and what about the Seasiders, Blackpool Rock On. I adopted them last year on holiday.

  79. Michael, still with the questions. But what did the action achieve apart from publicity for the SWP? The dispute has been in the news all week, they were hardly winning publicity for an ignored strike. Do you think most UNITE members will welcome the action? When I was in the SWP they always warned against substitutionism; what’s changed?

  80. #115


    You clearly are not looking at this from the perspective of a left wing trade union actvist who will have to live with the consequences.

  81. #114, er no Andy, the sunjects from North Britain posted comments on a big issue for the UK left and before you know it they are being denigrated for who their mothers are and for things that happened before they became members of the SSP.

  82. #97

    Is that John Wight? The useful demo was the one that went and successfully found the SDL demo – the one that went for a rally with ‘civic society’ and marched away from the SDL was worse than useless.

    As for sectarianism, Sarah was right – this is a publicity stunt for the SWP at the expense of UNITE. And there is no comparison with what the SSP did at the Scottish Parliament, there were no union negotiations being disrupted there and no negative consequences to a union action. The SWP have gifted Willie Walsh with an excuse to end talks wi UNITE.

  83. #120

    the sunjects from North Britain posted comments on a big issue for the UK left and before you know it they are being denigrated for who their mothers are and for things that happened before they became members of the SSP.

    but wasn’t that denigration from other North Britons?

    i am only teasing by the way.

  84. Paul Levi on said:

    Would Walsh have walked out of talks anyway? Maybe, even probably? Was it a good thing for the left to provide a pretext which simultaneously alienated the union’s negotiators, its left and the workers in dispute? No. Sophistical arguments about how and where and when negotiations might reconvene are beside the point, which is – er war keiner dabei, there were no BA workers on this stunt and not one collective part of them was consulted.

  85. Alfie on said:

    The arrogance of these SWP supporters is beyond belief. Who do they pretend to represent? Certainly not the BA workers. They have succeeded in ruining a meeting that could have resulted in an agreement satisfactory to all sides. There is no possible justification of their irresponsibility no matter how much Seymour tries to waffle out of it.

  86. According to those here who think the demo was misguided, what it did was make the SWP look like crapheads. So it didn’t make anything difficult for hardworking non-sectarians like Andy newman. In fact, it made it easier for them to distinguish between raving substitutionist nutter trots and good solid guys like him. Andy Newman 1 Raving Trot hotheads 0. Result!

    So why the kvetsh? What’s the problem? It’s not as if Andy et al are trying to say, we’re the good trots, they’re the bad trots and our trot patch has been skewered by these bad trots. You’re saying, we’re good Trades Unionists, and they’re not even trades unionists. They’re trot student substitutionists.

  87. #114 Andy N –

    I’m sorry if you thought it was irrelevant to the discussion to bring up the SWP’s previous roles in anti-worker activity but I thought it was pretty relevant – the SWP have been something no one could trust for a long long time and I know it wouldn’t take a misjudgement/cockup/whatever like this to convince you of that but it just surprises me if other people haven’t noticed it before now.

  88. John on said:


    ‘The useful demo was the one that went and successfully found the SDL demo – the one that went for a rally with ‘civic society’ and marched away from the SDL was worse than useless.’

    This is unbelievable. So now pensioners, mothers with young children, disabled people, ethnic minorities – in other words a cross section of the community – are deemed useless by the hard men of the SSY because they chose to attend a rally celebrating multiculturalism instead of running round the streets taking part in a re-run of the Spanish Civil War?

    Adventurism and substitutionism reflects nothing more than degeneration.

    It really is embarrassing to read some of these contributions.

  89. #130 –

    No, John. We’ve already had this argument. We all know that it’s fine for people who aren’t able to be involved in direct action to express their anti-fascism in other ways. Let’s stop pretending anyone has ever claimed otherwise. What is useless is the prominent SWP members who tried to lead people who WERE able to be militant anti-fascists AWAY from the militant direct action which undeniably was the correct course of action, no matter how ageist your revisionism is so that they could try to score political points and be at the head of yet another campaign despite their awful position on it..

    Stop deflecting attention from the absolute humiliation and dead-end politics of your organisation today. We all know that’s the embarrassment here.

    I presume this is John Wight by the way?

  90. Paul Levi on said:

    #104 I infer that the SW report has chosen its words carefully so as not to implicate the whole conference in this idiocy. I don’t think you’ll get much support in the party leadership for putting Mark Serwotka and co in the frame.

    The rather lonely SWP will not want to alienate people in yet another front by claiming to act in their name. Get with the programme.

  91. neprimerimye on said:

    1/ BA cabin crew participated in the Right To Work conference. They are not in a position to take part in actions like that at ACAS due to the victimisation they would suffer. Over fifty have already been victimised.

    2/ Those of us who took part in the action are not, as has been alleged here, middle class students. To my certain knowledge there were RMT, UNITE, CWU and PCS members in that building. Many being low paid workers who had taken part in the workshop dealing with the precariat.

    3/ IF, and it is a big IF, Simpson and Woodley were near to a deal does it include the following? No job losses, no wage reductions, no victimisations, no loss of travel priviliges? If these minimum conditions are not met then it is a SELLOUT.

    4/ There is no need to wait for an invitation to act in solidarity with fellow workers.

    5/ Having worked with the SWP quite closely now for some months it strikes me that this is an organisation that is recovering from the populist disaster that was Respect. Indeed the emphasis at todays conference, of which the SWP is the main backer, was on the need to unite workplace and community based struggles.

    6/ Walsh does not need the excuse of this action to abandon talks. But he is more than happy to use it and allow our movement to be divided by those who believe the lies of the bourgeois media before even bothering to ask those of us who took part in this action what happened.

    7/ It is Simpson and Woodley who are the sectarians when they spurn the solidarity of fellow workers in favour of cosying up to Walsh and begging for a sellout deal. We need to unite in struggle around the minimum demands I outlined in my point 3 above not beg for crumbs from an enemy out to break the union.

  92. Off to me bed in a moment. When I am less tired I can report on the conference ending. But remember: we are all going to need lots of energy for what is coming. For sure, blast off at the bad, old SWP (who did not, I repeat, call this one), but when it comes to it shaping the many actions needed – left trade unions activisits, campaigners, political parties etc etc should not be divided. I am truly sorry more of you were not there today, then you could have seen the diversity present. My own union spoke and we have national day of action on June 21st to defend education (UCU). I hope you will support it in one way or another. Other unions are supporting it – and the Right to Work conference – invited and agreed, motion passed.

    The action called (which was not about disrupting negotations at all!) was about Right to Work, not the SWP.

    Lastly, if any of you are offended or infuriated by Right to Work, or feel it cannot work, why not argue those points and/or establish and co-ordinate a different response to the onslaught of cuts and privatisation?

    Sleep well.

  93. #130, no John, for the week leading up to the SDL demo the SSP website carried equal space to the Scotland United demo and to the Edinburgh Anti Fascist mobilisation, specifically citing the differing age groups of the SSP membership as reasons why members and supporters should decide which event they would attend.
    My 70 year old mother and many other comrades, including Colin Fox, took part in the Scotland United gathering, 150 or so SSP comrades, members and supporters, overwhelmingly SSY, joined 300 or so other anti fascist activists in pinning down the fascists in Jenny Ha’s and subsequently sending them packing.
    What I don’t understand John is why you pick this thread to attack the opinions of the SSY comrades.

  94. 1) Silly stunt by SWP members in post RTW conference escapade gets embarrassingly out of hand.
    2) Socialist Unity blog has hysterical reaction ‘oooo the swp are finished’ gnash gnash.
    3) Yawn. Its the British left again, in all its infantile and senile disorders.

  95. Richard Searle on said:

    There’s valid case that can be put for some kind of event, stunt, happening outside these talks. That A. strengthens the union, B. put more pressure of the management, C. Raise the issue and the politics of the struggle to a wider audience.

    Any number of creative ideas, dare I say even European style events, were possible, ranging from street theatre, silent protests. 2 hundred could have turned up in fancy as bleeding Volcanos, who knows.

    But when you’re doing something like this, hello ! you need a media strategy, cos’ its the world we live in.

    So what we’ve got, and I accept that this may have been a spur of the moment thing, is something that comes across as perpetrated by Class War’s Reserve B team.

    If you can’t pull something off, don’t do it, that’s called good sense and tactics.
    Nothing wrong with that but to charge ahead regardless. It reminds me of something from Monty Python, ‘morales low, time for a futile gesture’.

    This ticks none of the right boxes, its an own goal, that doesn’t benefit the movement.

    Brillant ! what’s next ?

  96. Anonymous on said:

    Yeh Eddie, Andi, et al,
    all this SSP bashing should stop at once so that we can focus on the real enemy…the SWP, what a bunch of ****s!

  97. Paul Levi on said:

    People are simply kidding themselves if they think that because a couple of BA workers addressed a conference that the far left organisers of the conference are entitled to engage in an I’ll thoughtout stunt that damages the movement.

    Sure, no hue and cry and witchhunting rhetoric. But these crass politics do damage and need to be challenged. Ask anyone on the Greek left when one part of the upsurge engaged in its default unaccountable behaviour and three bank workers ended up dead, gifting the bosses, government and right in the movement a pretext to throw it off balance – as well as ending the lives of three people the movement was meant to be liberating. There are consequences for such idiocy. They will become greater as the stakes get higher.

  98. Right okay obviously that was just having a joke there, but to be serious again, today the SWP have led the left in trade unions and generally into unfair disrepute. There needs to be a serious discussion about the coming period in which in is already going to be hard enough for workers to gain fair deals in disputes and there is going to be a an across the board attack on workers rights and services. And within that discussion there must be a condemnation of the unthinking and attention-seeking attitude of the SWP to situations like this. This can’t be allowed to worsen. It’s not on.

  99. Imatrot on said:

    I think that it may have been mistaken to actually go up to the room where Walsh was and let BA and the media use that as a pretext for breaking off the talks. However, I don’t think it was a bad idea to march down to protest outside the building. Socialist Worker are reporting that people did go up but left after a while to continue the protest outside. Can people who were there actually tell us how long people stayed inside the building?

    When we have the facts about what actually happened then we can have a sensible debate. However, even though I think it was a mistake to actually go upstairs I don’t think it is really as bad as everyone is making out, this isn’t substitutionism or whatnot it was an action that got a bit out of hand. It is a minor mistake not the death knell of the SWP.

  100. Richard Searle on said:

    I should qualify, we did get street theatre only performed by Coco the Clown and Laurel and Hardy.

    My point is about tactical ineptitude.

    Defend the tactic of what happened and how it takes us forward ?

  101. The main question we should be addressing is the BA attempts to drive a wedge between BASSA and the Unite leaders Woodley and Simpson. What’s going on? Will Woodley and Simpson let BA succeed in this foul plan? The Murdoch press is full of witchunting stories about suspended BASSA activists. These victimisations are one of the sticking points in the negotiations, apparently. But bickering about this silly ultra-ultra-left SWP stunt is more fun for us lefty trainspotters! And since when was Jim Denham our mate, eh?

  102. Nancy St Atra on said:

    #140 – if John Wight can find work as an apparel demonstration worker it’s not for us to criticise him, or that line of work. VI Lenin and many other great revolutionaries of the past resorted to such work in their early days and there’s no shame in it if it keeps the wolf from the door.

  103. Dave on said:

    personally i wished someone would have given walsh a couple of black eyes during the encounter so he looked as ugly on the outside as he is on the inside the union busting boss bast*rd….. i’m amazed how much scorn is being directed at the protestors and how little is directed at the union busting boss

  104. @ Sue – do we know each other 🙂

    @ Andy Newman – as much as I respect your often excellent articles on here, I think you’ve got it wrong to so quickly brand the protesters as ‘idiots’ without finding out all the facts first.

    This isn’t in the spirit of ‘Socialist Unity’, as much as people feel SWP tactics may also undermine that. There is clearly more to all this than we will ever know simply by relying on the BBC and corporate media.

    How were the talks actually ‘disrupted’ I wonder? I’m sure they will continue…

    It is clear the intention of the demonstrators wasn’t to actually “disrupt” the talks or stop then from taking place, but to embarrass Mr Walsh and draw media attention to the situation, which clearly worked.

    Does Tony Woodley and UNITE’s management really ‘support the workers? I’m not so sure myself.

    The B.A workers who have supported me as a T.U.S.C (Trade Unionist & Socialist Coalition) candidate at the General Election have nearly all been victimised, bullied, threatened and humiliated by British Airways during this dispute.

    They are also the very people who care MOST about the survival of the long-term company. Some of them have been flying the flag for decades and hope to keep on doing so, even if they have to make a lot of compromises.

    British Airways are not the only baddies in all this. The workers also express huge dissatisfaction, and are constantly making accusations of corruption and political bureaucracy, collusion and malpractice within UNITE the Union. This too cannot be ignored.

    Fact is – several hundred members of the public (with no agenda for personal gain) stormed a meeting to scream that they DO support the workers, and screamed it very loudly without fear of the personal repercussions.

    That speaks volumes when you consider how many BA staff, Union Reps, Lawyers and Security guards have been gagged and can’t say a word…

    These protesters are are willing to take the full brunt of criticism despite the media blurring and inaccurate reporting.

    Regardless of the outcome of the negations, whoever we care to point the finger at, blame the workers or the unions if you like, blame the shareholders or the politicians if that helps, but the bottom line is – the whole situation is a complete mess. It will not end well for anyone involved, whatever happens.

    Thousands of ordinary working people are going to find themselves worse off – because of one undeniable factor: GREED fuelled by Capitalism.

  105. History tells us things on said:

    ‘There needs to be a serious discussion about the coming period in which in is already going to be hard enough for workers to gain fair deals in disputes and there is going to be a an across the board attack on workers rights and services.’

    er, good points, but for millions of claimants, disabled people, single parents, the assaults have been going on for years and there looks likely to be little opposition from the LP new putataive leaders

    then again the left has done nothing either.

  106. Paul Levi on said:

    #146 I tend to agree that it was something ill thought through, aimed at demonstrating the militancy of the SWP at the end of a conference thus keeping the distinctive mettle of the revolutionaries in a united front, and that it then got out of hand.

    When you look at a couple of the front line figures in the action it’s pretty obvious to anyone with experience of them why it got out of hand. They are aggressive and crude. But the SWP continues to promote them. The rest of us are not obliged to go along with it, and we won’t. And if the SWP is going to defend every single action by people who have demonstrated time and again their sacrifice of analysis and tactics on the altar of the moralistic action-faction, then its standing will be further diminished too.

    As for the comments earlier by the SWP blogger that this behaviour can’t have happened because the SWP has been spurning ultra left garndstanding. Well, perhaps this might show him the scale of the problem.

  107. History tells us things on said:

    ‘Woodley later described the activists as “lunatics” and “idiots” who were not members of Unite. He had described the meeting earlier as an opportunity to avert 15 days of strikes that will cost the airline “up to £100m”.

    “Negotiations have not broken down, they have been broken up. We have made some progress, but there is more to do,” he said. “This was a complete waste of an early-evening. I am so disappointed… those idiots think they are helping, but they are outsiders. They are lunatics.”


    who is telling the Truth?, Woodley or SWP members/fellow travellers, no great fan of Union Buraucrats, but I know which one i believe: Seymours Stalinist rapd rewriting of his views on the Refinery Dispute when the party line came through come to mind.

  108. What is the ‘dress code of the SSY’ John? The bottom line is you have postured on this site about confronting zionism, racism etc but when the Scottish wing of folk who pogromed Muslims in Luton, Stoke etc try to organise a demo in two Scottish cities Scotland United marched away from them.

    We didn’t chase the streets aimlessly – we knew where they were and found them. There is a role for demos involving pensioners, families and those who are unable for a variety of reasons to confront the SDL, but both demos tried to undermine any direct confrontation of the SDL by those who could and were willing. Thats the political issue you have ignored in your juvenile comment – btw anyone who uses the term ‘lexicon’ instead of chat has no grounds for talking about being in touch wi ordinary folk.

  109. Omar on said:

    VI Lenin was a model? Any pictures?

    “3/ IF, and it is a big IF, Simpson and Woodley were near to a deal does it include the following? No job losses, no wage reductions, no victimisations, no loss of travel priviliges? If these minimum conditions are not met then it is a SELLOUT.”
    Even so, I assume the union members would be voting on whatever deal was struck (correct me if I’m wrong) so it’s unlikely a sellout would stop strike action, would it?

  110. Imatrot on said:

    So from the report of Shinjuka and other reports, the meeting was already adjourned, hence Walsh being in the corridor, and the protesters stayed for about half an hour, so if anything at all the meeting was delayed for half an hour at most, assuming that Walsh was on the verge of returning to the meeting. Why couldn’t they have continued the meeting then, you would have thought if they were really so close to an agreement that both sides agreed on then they would have.

    So yes, it was a bit of a tactical mistake to go upstairs and give BA an excuse to close negotiations , but they didn’t really break up the negotiations, there was ample opportunity to restart them when the protesters had left the building. So all this hubris about smashing up the negotiations is just that hubris, and worse swallowing the capitalist medias nonsense uncritically… but hey if there’s one thing we hate more than the Romans its the People’s Front of Judea.

  111. Imatrot on said:

    and in an ode to Newman’s CPGB turn and to stay on the Roman theme… and Carthage must be destroyed!!

  112. Paul Levi on said:

    #161 Do you understand nothing? The bosses don’t need an excuse. So why give them one and make their job easier? The ultra leftism in this is that you show no concern about the head on confrontation with the union leadership that you just had. But it was a confrontation without a single person who is about to go on strike on your side. This isn’t a bit if a tactical error. It is a serious and damaging mistake.

    Don’t you understand how important it us to show that it us the bosses, not the workers or their union, who are walking away from a resolution? By giving Walsh and the anti-union media a pretext, you’ve helped them. And you did so with no accountability to the workforce concerned.

  113. History tells us things on said:

    Actually I think i would have been up for this

    when I was 18!

  114. Colin on said:

    This is the way forward.

    Next time Bob Crow and the RMT team are negotiating with TfL, I want to see Martin Smith and his Home Counties student flash mob try to invade the building in the name of the working class.

    The SWP make Student Grant look like Jimmy Airlie.

  115. Imatrot on said:

    #163 why do you assume that no BA worker supported the protest, from the sounds of it the BA workers at the RTW conference agreed to the idea of marching down to the building where the negotiations take place. I am not saying that going upstairs was right, in fact I have said I think it was a mistake. Just as I would not presume to speak for BA workers, neither should you. I will wait to hear what they have to say themselves rather than what you assume they will say.

  116. jim mclean on said:

    AAAAH Jimmy Airlie, a working class hero, unless you were a woman Ford Worker.

  117. Andi Rossetter on said:


    glad you agree with us.

    hiding your identity how very brave of you.

  118. Graham Day on said:

    @imatrot, You state that I “prove your point”, and then go on to ignore mine. And the dispute itself.

    If you want the BA cabin crew members to win the dispute, then why on earth would you disrupt the negotiations?

    Frankly, you prove my point that the real lives of real workers are just fodder for your utopian faux-revolutionary rhetoric.

  119. jim mclean on said:

    168# sometimes the level of personal attack on this site makes it wise to be anon, and I havent read the guys post.

  120. Imatrot on said:

    #169- Read on McDuff, you will note that I think it was a mistake to go upstairs to where the negotiations were taking place but to think that this was motivated by a desire to smash up the negotiations is stupid and swallowing the media spin hook, line and sinker. Can you point out some of my utopian faux-revolutionary rhetoric please or are you just conversing with your imagination? The point you proved is that your argument boils down to insults e.g ‘idiotic’ and my new favourite ‘faux-revolutionary rhetoric’

  121. Andi Rossetter on said:

    there are people running around making very serious allegations about the SSP and hiding behind anon, (or assumed names), then apearing under thier own name to be reasonable and calling for left unity.

    i post comments under my own name as i assume you do.

    some people are at it and need to be called out for the troublemakers they are.

  122. Paul Levi on said:

    Not one BA worker was involved on the protest, that much is agreed. There is no significant BA workers’ rank and file group. That much is also agreed. A couple of BA strikers who have come in to the orbit of a far left group attended its conference and may well have thought their friends were proposing something useful. If that’s the way you judge tactics then the WRP have been getting right for a very long time. Grow up. Or to be precise, Martin Smith and Charlie Kimber should grow up.

  123. Mhairi McAlpine on said:

    I really dont know what to make of this or of the subsequent defending of it.

    I cant see any positives either in terms of actual content of negotiation or media coverage in disrupting the negotiations.

    There seem to me to be 3 possibilities

    1 Ill advised spin-off
    It was a spin off action from the demo outside which got out of hand and lost its sense of purpose and focus; once done it had to be defended. In which case where were the stewards and sensible people that you need on demos to provide some sense of leadership and also where were the people who sussed that something had gone badly wrong and they needed to be careful how it was presented to the media

    2. It was a decision of the SWP to pressurise Walsh in the negotiations
    Now, I am no great friend of the SWP, but I would never have thought them this politically crass. If this is the case, I would guess the inner turmoil has probably left them rudderless with lots of rhetoric and slogans, but no actual analysis. It would seem that collective brain cell that issued the party line has given up the ghost.

    3. It was a decision of the SWP to pressurise Woodley by scuppering negotiations
    This is probably the most ultra left one, but they may have thought that they were close to reaching agreement but wanted to continue the dispute. This is beyond shameful, now maybe the union was giving away concessions, but its for the cabin crew to vote on and agree. Ultimately if workers settle for something which is a sell out, then its usually because they perceive that there isn’t the support out there for them to continue with action. This demo may have robbed them of both the support they need to continue and the possibility of an agreement that they would be content with.

    I dont know which one it is but I cant think of *any* good reasons for this. Just when you think the SWP cant get any worse they always surprise you.

  124. And here’s tonight’s news: Some negotiations that were having a breather have taken a breather. Some negotiations that were going to resume are going to resume. An almost certain sellout that was going to take place will take place. A lot of people who think the SWP is crap, who keep saying the SWP is crap, who’ve never stopped saying that the SWP is crap, offer as a brand new point of view that they (yes, it’s us again folks) think that the SWP is crap.

  125. dennis on said:

    Comment number #86 the voice of reason, I think.
    Still, at least it’s provided a diversion from endless discussion on the bright new socialist dawn that is Diane Abbott’s bid for the Labour leadership.

  126. You lot sound like a bunch of Daily Mail readers banging on about the Red Menace. Keep bleating what the Tory media tells you to bleat. I’m sure that will save the BA workers. Any of you who are delusional enough to believe that Walsh is going to compromise or that Woodley will make him before Monday really don’t have enough political insight to scrape together between you to form an analysis. It’s a disgrace that you lot characterise this protest as an SWP one when the RTWC backed it. But why spoil a chance to join the right wing media in attacking the SWP again?

  127. Mhairi McAlpine on said:

    The SWP is crap. On that issue I think that the whole of the non-SWP left can agree, its really not a contentious statement.

    The problem with this is that they have gone beyond scuppering the efforts of other left wing activists by splitting and scheming within the movement to directly undermining trade union negotiations in a major dispute and appear to be taking pride in the fact.

    Negotiations are a subtle and tricky business – they aren’t helped by having wankers outside shouting in. Strikes are a source of division, support for them is undermined by any suggestion that the workers are unprepared to accept concessions to resolve them.

    You seem to be suggesting that this demo hasn’t had any effect, well maybes you’re right. Lets hope so and hope that anyone contemplating taking any action in the future does things that are both likely to be helpful and effective.

  128. jim mclean on said:

    173# Ok, hadn’t followed the link as I stated, but sometimes if you express an opinion on this site that is against the mainthink of a political organisation the replies degenerate into personal attacks. I support the SSP and its fight against social exclusion, I stood as a council candidate for the party getting 53 votes out of an electorate of 10,000 on a 50% turnout, this was in a working class area, and as a working class area in scotland it is Labour to the core, but the moment I question the national question I am blown out of the water by senior members of the SSP. I fear left nationalism as much as right nationalism and some members of the SSP are just as guilty as throwing the shite as others, and under pseudonyms.

  129. brian simpson on said:

    guys, think we’re missing the most important question here, how many papers did we sell? have we had an upsurge in membership requests tonight? GENERAL STRIKE NOW! GREECE SHOWS THE WAY! SMASH BOURGEOUISE UNION LEADERSHIP!

  130. re 86 – Andy et al would love to be able to simultaneously inflate and crush the SWP. On the one hand they’ve just done a terrible, union-destroying, working class smashing , evil thing of immense, cosmic proportions. On the other hand, they are now utterly discredited, ruined, in tatters, shreds, crushed measly little bunch of middle class tossers.

    In fact, all that’s happened was there was a bit of a ruckus, a few people got angry, some negotiations took a breather (Woodley had to have time to try and sell Walsh’s offer to the cabin crew reps anyway) and they’re all going to meet up tomorrow morning.

    It’s also given some people the chance to use the word ‘substitutionism’. This is very exciting. It sits in the leftists’ cupboard un-used and un-loved for months on end, and then up it pops, gets nicely polished and then hurled about with a resounding cheer. Hoorayyyyyyy ‘substitutionists’…that’ll larn yer. I think it’s a crude translation of a Russian word anyway, isn’t it? ‘Tsvostism’, I think. Or have I muddled that with another leftist abuse-word? Perhaps. Oh well, I’ve got a cupboard full of them at home and they jump about swapping places just to confuse me.

  131. Paul Levi on said:

    #178 my you’ve moved a long way, mike. It used to be socialism from below and the creativity of workers. Now it’s defending The Party.

    #179 It’s Socialist Worker that says the protest was by SWP members and supporters after the conference. Why doesvit say that and not say that the conference agreed on the protest? This was a big mistake. It will get worse the more it is nit addressed and corrected,

  132. 177 – yes Michael, the reaction here is all a bit overblown. But are you (or anyone else) going to actually defend this ridiculous ‘tactic’ of storming the negotiations with a bunch of predominantly raw and excitable students (led by some very experienced comrades)?! When I was a raw 20 year old recruit to the SWP they educated us against ultra-leftism and substitutionalism. We even had little ‘education for socialists’ pamphlets on these misdemeanors against Marxism, with a few examples of these errors and questions for discussion. One of the examples of ultra-leftism and substitutionalism in these little textbooks was very much like the unfortunate incident that occurred this evening!

    PS – I’ve got the SWP webpage open in a tab in my browser. This tab abbreviates the page title “SWP – an anticapitalist revolutionary party” into “SWP- an antic”. That seems apt, tonight!

    They will loose credibility in front of serious trades unionists through this antic, but they are not finished, and we will all probably find ourselves still working alongside them again. So the left is flawed – the labour left, the SWP, the SP, the Greens, the anarchists, all in their different ways are flawed. *Sighs*

  133. Being harangued by Tamsins and Tarquins is all part of the class struggle. I commend the SWP and their front RTW Campaign on this audacious action which has struck a blow on behalf of all workers and oppressed peoples everywhere. This was the light cavalry in full charge and all over London and the home counties the boorzwah will be quaking in trepidation.

  134. Paul, I think you’ll find that some people in the SWP would find my position on this matter facetious, disrespectful and a bit anti-triumphalist! Think you’ve missed the point. No worries.

    As it happens, we don’t know what the consequences of it will be. It may turn out to be a fart in a bottle. It may turn out to be a teeny hint/symptom of major confrontations to come. In a year and half’s time, we might be facing a 20 per cent cut in the public sector. Do you think it’s likely that you, me and Andy et al will be talking about how to keep negotiations going between the employers and the unions so that the best deal can be cut? Oh, actually, I’ll take that back! Perhaps we will. Perhaps Andy will be saying, hang on, the union leaders were just getting the best deal they possibly they could: a 19.95 per cent cut but the shits in the SWP (or whatever) were protesting….

  135. The Irish SWP has initiated a Right To Work Campaign and there was a conference in Dublin too today. There have been two RTWC marches and rallies since 11th May. Very similar controversy has reigned since SWP members (whether planned or not is still unclear)on 11th May led a breakaway attempt to get past the gates of the Dáil (the Irish parliament). You can see footage at

    The Campaign immediately lost some of its support and the second rally was no bigger than the first, though there was a relatively well attended conference today (Saturday) with some broad support. UNITE and the tiny Independent Workers Union are the only trade unions supporting the Irish RTWC. There was some unease in UNITE about Dáilgate though its sponsorship has been reaffirmed.

    The Irish SWP, while claiming that 11th May “has injected a new spirit into protests in Ireland” and that “a new cycle of protest has begun” [there were about 1,000 on each protest], sought at the conference today to put the stress back on mass peaceful protest. It remains to be seen if the ACAS action has repercussions in the Irish Region of UNITE.

  136. Michael, i really do think it was a great action by the SWP. Please Central Committee, more of the same, soon and often, thanks. Yours in comradeship.

  137. For all those who claim that the intention of the action was not to break up negotiations, or that it was not known that negotiations were taking place, and I hate to agree with Andy completly, but what the HELL did you think he was doing at ACAS? Is anyone seriously suggesting that SWP leaders did not know what ACAS is?

    The defenders of this action are a complete joke. I suspect the real Lenin may have had his blogosphere namesake shot for pulling something like this.

  138. Trying to get through the gates into Leinster House isnt the same as strolling into an ACAS meeting. SWP were split on this on the ground and Mary Smith got a split head but Kieran Allen didnt. Sit down, peaceful protest etc from some SWP leaders was the call.

  139. Imatrot on said:

    Well it seems like there wasn’t an imminant deal ready to agreed on, with the Observer reporting only that ‘some progress’ had been made.

  140. Tim Vanhoof on said:

    I don’t find it at all difficult to believe that SWP full-timers don’t know what ACAS is.

  141. Larry Nugent on said:

    The SWP add new meaning to bullying strike breaking.

    Their actions at ACAS only service the interest of the B A bosses who have used injunctions and sackings to intimatate their workers and Unite.

  142. prianikoff on said:

    On the whole I agree that the demonstration seemed quite bonkers.
    But mainly because it was quite obvious that there were no BA workers involved in it! If there had been, it might have been quite a good idea.
    But the SWP of all people should be aware of the meaing of substitutionism.

    Mass demonstrations that target class traitors and management thugs like Walsh are a good idea. They deserve to be hounded for wrecking peoples lives and sacking and intimdating union members.

    I can’t agree with some of the comments about ACAS though.
    I HAVE been to ACAS when I was involved as union branch secretary in a long-running national dispute. It was only something we resorted to when repeated strike action hadn’t brought the results we wanted and the membership were showing signs of “war-weariness”. There were no national officials directly involved and I would certainly have kept them at arms length. (our full time regional official later got a job with the employers!)

    I don’t think we got much out of it either. It just delayed things a bit in a situation where strike action was becoming harder to obtain.
    ACAS is mostly there to stop strikes happening, not to stop the employers.

    The situation at BA is nothing like this. They have succesful ballots in place, have won a legal appeal and are in a position to resume action. It’s obviously a dire situation, but so is the economic situation at BA. It requires government intervention to take it back into Public ownership, which isn’t that likely under a CON-DEM government.

    Going to ACAS with Woodley and Simpson leading the negotiations is a recipe for stitching up the BA workers. They will treat strike action as a threat, but use it to extract a few minor concessions and then reballot on a new offer.
    There is no evidence of any involvement by rank and file BA workers in this.

    Just because the SWP were impatient and allowed themselves to be villified in the media, doesn’t mean the bureaucracy are leading the dispute to a successful conclusion. There is every danger of a sell-out.

    There are quite a few of the usual sad cases from bureaucratic tendencies in the labour movement on here having a go at the SWP over this. Have any of them ever conducted a ballot, been to ACAS or led a strike before?

  143. “Seymours Stalinist rapd rewriting of his views on the Refinery Dispute when the party line came through come to mind.”

    Stalinism is where you airbrush out previous views. I didn’t actually do that. What I did was I had hours of arguments by phone and e-mail with other members, some of whom had been to the picket lines, and changed my mind as a result of that. And I was very public in changing my mind. The fact that I was honest about this is being interpreted, wierdly, as totalitarian revisionism.

    Also note that my blog doesn’t actually say anything about the nature of the protest itself. I deliberately didn’t pass any judgment as to the reasons for the protest being called, the mandate it received from others, the efficacy or propriety of this tactic etc. This is because I could not honestly take a view without getting more info. I have also said that were this to be merely what it was depicted as in the media – one party unaccountably gate-crashing negotiations – then I wouldn’t blindly defend it. But the information I’m getting from others is that it is a lot more complicated than this, that the RTW conference backed the protest, and that it had the support of some represented Bassa workers themselves. If that’s true, then some people leaping to kick the SWP when everyone else is doing it should be catching a grip of themselves before they get dragged into a media-led narrative that seeks to scapegoat a small far left party if the talks, resumed this morning, fail to deliver an agreement.

    Also, the reaction here, which Andy has unfortunately encouraged with a shrill, zealous immoderate tone, is crazed. The idea that this protest – whatever the merits of the tactic, however it was arrived at, whoever backed it – seriously damaged negotiations, which could have resumed the second the protesters voluntarily departed, is absurd. The idea that the protest had the slightest impact on the course of the negotiations is absurd.

  144. #151 David – hello, we do indeed!

    Lenin: there’s no real point. You are getting some correct information – I was there at the conference and you are correct. And as I also said, I would not blindly defend anything. But it does seem pointless (though Andy, I must say, has been extremely polite to me, personally and not jumped down my throat) in discussing this unless we are also prepared to discuss the conference, what came out of it and what the majority have pledged to organise in the coming weeks.

    We need to work together.

  145. Anonymous on said:

    The SWP are a parasitic organisation,completely interested in using genuine issues to further their own agenda.

    Since the late 80’s,when I was a student I attended numerous SWSS and SWP groups. My conclusion,along with
    my fellow students,were that these organisations were comletely deluded,lacking intellectual credibility,
    historical proportion and anyone of a credible mental attitude over 30. I was 18.
    Sadly the above description characterises the self-same group now – it’s why the SWP are an embarrasement
    to anyone with progressive thinking.Leaving the cult is hard work,as someone like Mark Stell will testify.

    PS Anyone spot a single BA worker? This bunch of mainly middle-class student tosspots have really fucked up
    an incredibly important meeting and supplied BA with much-needed ammunition.Words are beyond me.
    And in their tiny little minds they think they are some revolutionary force?? It’s so british.

  146. Andi Rossetter on said:

    we need to work together?

    are you an SWP member Sue?

    in my experience the SWP and left unity don’t go.

  147. “in my experience the SWP and left unity don’t go.”

    Except that every successful instance of left unity in this country has involved the SWP at some level. Does your experience actually include much of what goes on in UK politics?

  148. Imatrot on said:

    #198- as you assume that all students are middle class toss pots, does the content your second sentence imply that you yourself are middle class as you were at one stage a student… I only ask about your class position because I am already sure you are a tosspot just wondering whether or not a middle class one.

  149. Andi Rossetter on said:

    well i’ve been politically active for over 20 years.

    and i’ve been a member of the SSP for 8 years.

  150. Marko on said:

    This idea that Willie Walsh was about to back down is bullshit. Lenin is correct, the union were negotiating surrender -Woodley admitted as much on the news the day before. Surrender! In this period of cuts cuts cuts! And so what if the media make it look bad, they always make the left look bad.

    And terrible for Left wing trade unionists – Do me a favour.

  151. David Ellis on said:

    #39 `They broke up the negotiations.

    that doesn’t seem under dispute.’

    Just been watching Walsh on the Andy Marr show. `No’, he said, `the demo did not break up the talks.’ How ridiculous would they look if they had allowed a small flash mob demonstrating against a stitch up deal to prevent such a deal from going through. Walsh did say however that what really endangered the discussions was Simpson twittering updates throughout the day. This, he said, meant the discussions were not being held in good faith. Also nonsense.

    I’m no fan of substitutionism but the reaction to a small flash mob demo which had some political relevance as bloated bureaucrats and industrail fascists argued just how much they could get away with, as opposed to the stupid pro-PR stunts afte the election, by normally level-headed commenters is bordering on swivel-eyed hysteria. The young people who took part in this stunt should be argued with not villified and they should be allowed to argue back without fear of witch hunt.

  152. prianikoff on said:

    “Walsh did say however that what really endangered the discussions was Simpson twittering updates throughout the day”

    There we have it. Simpson, ultra left sabatoeur working for the employers.

  153. Michael yes, of course…

    According to the Radio Simpson tweeted to likely incite a far-let mob…must be true, the media says so..hee hee

  154. prianikoff on said:

    #206 Students going on union demonstrations is a bit iffy.
    ‘specially if no one else there’s actually IN the union….

  155. Howark Kirk on said:

    Next time students have a sit-in will the workers turn up and disrupt negotiations?

  156. Can’t be bothered to go through all this but Andy why are you linking and quoting John Gray, a right wing bureaucrat in UNISON who has been fully supportive of the witch hunts going.

  157. Shinjuku, we were just reaching agreement that students should be banned from all leftwing demos and now you’ve disrupted negotiations. You’re a disgrace.

  158. david on said:

    There are many workers across the country who face regular humiliation and intimidation by various bosses who will be more than pleased to see that BA millionaire getting told off . Well done to the young comrades!

  159. Well, since even Willie Walsh isn’t pretending that the talks were disrupted by the protesters, perhaps Andy could post something retracting the claim that the SWP broke up negotiations. Regardless of anything else, the media are trying to scapegoat the SWP for causing the talks to fail, and SUN shouldn’t be going along with that scapegoating.

  160. Clayton on said:


    Michael, it does seem that the young student members of the SWP are led in into confrontational and law breaking situations by Martin Smith and co, such as encouraging/leading them to block the road on the anti-EDL demo outside the houses of Parliement, causing mainly young university students to get arrested, and taking the same course of action again on Bolton a few weeks later, funny how they changed their course of direct Action for the Dudley protest – wonder if this had anything to do with Smith/Bennett getting their collars felt in Bolton, they were in their usual spot, at the back directing others to do all the dirty work – and the Police waded in to get them.

    But of course the SWP top table are kept well away from the coalface, I bet celebrity high value members (now ex-members) like you and Mark Steel didn’t have to flog the Socialist worker down the local shopping precinct every saturday – but then again thats how organisations like the SWP works, the Scientologists don’t get their celebrity members to do any of the dirty work either.

  161. 1. I’m not a member, not an ex-member.
    2. Senior member Wayman Bennett is up on a conspiracy charge. Do you know anyone on the left up for a more serious charge?
    3. Clayton. Arse. Out of. Talk.

  162. Clayton on said:


    Q,Do you know anyone on the left up for a more serious charge?

    A, Tommy Sheridan

  163. Howard Kirk on said:


    To be fair large numbers of SWP members don’t bother flogging the paper either. When I was in it, there was a grudging acceptance that some people didn’t and others would do it every few weeks etc. It was never that heavy.

    There is a revolving door membership and a fair number were not that committed and had been signed up on demos etc and join what Mark Thomas once referred to as ‘the biggest and probably fastest-growing political party in Britain – they are both ex-members of the Socialist Workers Party.’

    Mark Steel’s book certainly rang true when I read it.

  164. Clayton on said:


    ‘And perhaps the reason for the change of tactic in Dudley was again, you guessed it, about wider political considerations’

    Your talking about the SWP here, you don’t have wider political considerations, you have obsessive self interest, like you’ve consistently shown on every single political coalition you’ve ever entered. I’ve also never seen much evidence of the Trot central committee encouraging any kind of independent opinion forming to its membership, the party line is dictated from above, and you expect your branches to follow it to the letter.

  165. Mark Victorystooge on said:

    The SWP action would seem less dramatic if there was a higher level of struggle than there is.
    I myself don’t know if it was the appropriate tactic for those circumstances. Most union leaders in the UK have been pretty feeble since the miners’ strike, but there doesn’t seem to be a lot of rank and file militancy coming up that might encourage them to behave differently. The standard working class response is either grumbling/grin and bear it, or blaming it all on “bloody foreigners”.

  166. Democratic Centralism Destroyed My Brain on said:

    The wool has been pulled from my eyes – all this time I thought I was capable of independent thought when in truth I was a stooge for the Party’s CC. Thank you comrades for showing me the way, maybe now I won’t be so incapable of working with others or dealing with opinions that differ from my own.

  167. JohnB on said:

    “fucking middle class wank idiot.”

    I honestly don’t even know why Richard gives you the time of day Andy.

  168. Andy Wilson on said:

    “this is not the sort of thing that Duncan Hallas or Jim Higgins would ever have countenanced.”

    As they are no longer around to tell us we will never know. But I can assure you that both Jim and Duncan would have found the red-baiting going on here stomach churning. Tactical error or no, they’d have sided with those who’d like to lynch Walsh rather than any of the mouldy figs mumbling into their beards here.

  169. Clayton on said:


    My pleasure. always good to help out others less gifted in the old grey matter department.

    Maybe you could join the ‘pythonesque’ splitters over in counterfire, sure they’d be gratful for a few more bodies.

  170. Lynsey on said:

    “Yeh Lyndsey, your Mum would know better than to indulge in infantile disruptive behaviour wouldn’t she. Oh no wait…didn’t she lead a pointless demo in the Scottish Parly that got the SSP fined???? Gesture politics…”youse” would know about that.”

    LOLing. so. hard. So, can I clarify, are you defending what the swaps did or arguing against it? Also, who’s this? I just cannae tell and I want to thank you for the laugh.

    Bonus points for sticking youse in quotes. Somedae doesnae like the Scots!

  171. dennis on said:

    Just when you thought this ridiculous, yet curiously amusing, discussion couldn’t get any more ridiculous then up pops Clayton.

  172. Karenski on said:

    This is far more repulsive.
    At PCS conference last week, a motion saying that full-time officers’ pay should be “much closer” to members’ average pay was voted down – after being opposed by many on the left including the Socialist Party. (Some PCS full-timers, many of whom are SP members, are on salaries like £70,000 or £80,000, while the average member is on more like £20,000.) Socialist Party comrades – care to explain?

  173. hopei on said:

    I hope you all know that ‘#’ is American for ‘number’, but not British. It means ‘hash’ in the UK. The abbreviation for ‘number’ is ‘no.’

    Why you’re emulating the language of the powerful few while proclaiming solidarity for the powerless masses is a mystery.

  174. Halshall on said:

    #231 hopei

    Thank you no: 231 I really hadn’t thought of that, it really clarifies every single blog that has gone before and will forever hereafter.

    PS: I understand that the population of the USA is about five times that of the UK.

  175. Nadia Chern on said:

    Well Karenski, you idiots were in a coalition with them so you explain. And why was the settlement for saint Karen never revealed given that the SWP is so desperate to out sensitive negotiations?

  176. #234 Neither do I? Likely thinks you are in the SWP – isn’t everyone imagined to be in the SWP?

  177. Nadia Chern on said:

    Funny that, I noticed Kerenski and Sue have been saying how they were part of TUSC, which involved a coalition with the SP that Karenski is now trying to pour oil on. Now, we wouldn’t be playing dumb now, would we?

  178. Karenski on said:

    Apparently the PCS leaders were spotted quaffing bottles of expensive champagne on the evening this policy decision was made.

  179. Karenski on said:

    Nadia… I have stated it before, but I can again if you insist….. I am NOT now, nor have ever been a member of the SWP. Get a grip woman!

  180. Professor Potts on said:

    Shame to see supposed socialists attacking activists’ action. Still, I’m sure there will be a big welcome for you in Willy Walsh’s scab army.

  181. Wullie McG on said:

    @Professor Potts
    Yes the actions of the SWP will be attacked if they keep up this sort of crap.

  182. Nadia – not playing dumb. You’re reading stuff into posts that isn’t there. Yes: involved in TUSC – at what point did I deny it? Nowhere. If you bother to read what I said about the Right to Work conference, you’d get a richer idea of my stance. Never mind. The best thing you can do is pour all your energies into attacking the SWP/Right to Work ect? On Friday, a group of people (including one member of Respect) occupied the Courts in Manchester. Shameful, eh? People working together – whatever next?

    Right to Work was great. But go on – sit on the sidelines and carp.

  183. # 242 and the RMT, Unite, Labour left, UCU, BA workers – who were all there at the conference yesterday? I am UCU – off you go, attack my Union for being at the conference and party to motions of direct action.

  184. Now that it appears talks between BA and Unite have collapsed the Socialist Party has released the following statement concerning the actions of the SWP and the cabin crew dispute.

    Occupation A Mistake

    The defeat of Willie Walsh and the brutish BA management is the most important aspect to this dispute. It is therefore unfortunate that the reported decision of the Socialist Workers Party (SWP) members at the end of the Right to Work Conference to invade talks between British Airways management and Unite has partially obscured this issue. This occupation was completely mistaken.

    Whatever the nature of the deal being negotiated it is not for a group like the SWP to decide to break up talks. A decision to accept or reject a deal is solely the property of cabin crew and their democratically elected representatives.

    In an industrial dispute the final decision on tactics to confront the employer must always rest with the strikers themselves. Socialists can assist by sharing experiences and ideas in past disputes and building support and solidarity for the strike among the general public. This has always been the method of the Socialist Party. We will offer our opinion on the course of a dispute to workers but we believe that any initiative taken in support of a dispute should be taken in consultation with the workers themselves.

    A key task for socialists and trade union activists is to raise the confidence of workers to fight not to substitute themselves for workers in struggle. This will mistakenly create the impression that a special minority of activists will do the fighting leaving workers as bystanders. The Socialist Party stands for the maximum control of workers over their dispute.

    It is the view of the Socialist Party that the actions of the SWP on Saturday was not in the best interests of striking cabin crew workers. Such tactics will prove to be counter-productive. It is the mass action of cabin crew through their union that is the key to defeating Walsh, not the actions of a self appointed minority. Despite this we are totally opposed to any victimisation of those who took part in this mistaken protest.

    The priority for all workers in the trade union movement now is to support the cabin crew workers against Walsh and BA management.

  185. Neil; you give a mesured reponse and nuacned, rather than babbling.. I need to say, however, that the conference motions and workshops (which included Unite, BA Workers, UCU – my union) was to ensure cross-action support for strikes – this is how the conference initiated the protest. However, I can not speak for the occupation and I am not defending anything that was silly.

  186. Nadia Chern on said:

    Sue – the difference is that you pretend to be an activist on blogs. Get real… If you want to attack other left groups for their politics, then be honest that you are in a coalition with them as well.

    The Right to Work is not an anti-cuts initiative but an SWP front dreamed up to prevent the members becoming demoralized after the loss of the Stop the War Coalition. The fact that it is not pulling much more than SWP illustrates its emptiness. One city meeting held two weeks ago had 12 people at it, 9 of them SWP (was this a city wide mobilization?). The speaker was Matt Wrack, FBU General Secretary.

    Just saying its great and going somewhere every time you get the chance tells the rest of the world nothing except that you are indulging in political fantasy.

    There are a lot of initiatives against the cuts taking place but the SWP is now so separated from the experience of most people that it does not know about them. I love the way you are all so arrogant as to believe that you are the only ones that do anything. That way lies substitution….oh dear, already there!

  187. Alfie North. on said:

    Negotiations? What to screw the workers, which is what Walsh really wants to do and what is the response from most here – attack the SWP. Pathetic.

  188. 249.Sue – the difference is that you pretend to be an activist on blogs. Get real.

    That’s really funny. Laughing loads. Ok love. If it makes you feel better.

    I won’t explain my whole hsitory of activism in TUs in other spheres. from bgeing 15 years old. Fantasise away…but don’t twist yourself into hating other women; there lies the road to madness.

  189. Larry Nugent on said:

    Sue, are you “the boy named Sue” with all your macho direct act il-thoughtiness.

  190. Democratic Centralism Destroyed My Brain on said:

    Can somebody please mention some other left initiatives instead of railing on about how insignificant you consider RTW? I don’t know why I keep checking in on this site hoping to find anything of value. Hardly seems worth it.

  191. #254 – yes -and especially members with vaginas and those with vaginas who associate with them.

  192. Larry Nugent on said:

    Well Sue, your mob mentality is frowned on. Did you get your street fighting manual from , the EDL?

  193. Larry Nugent on said:

    I am correct in saying that comrades in Dudley reported that the EDL were coming to public meetings with the sole intention of being disruptive.

    I am accusing you and the SWP of adopting the same tactics to disrupt trade union negotiations yesterday. You should be ashamed of even supporting such.

  194. Dylan on said:

    #222 Indeed. As someone on medialens said earlier:

    “Hmm. I think Lenin’s nuanced, ‘let’s wait until all the facts are in, and not take initial
    media reports at face value’ take on the situation is slightly more sensible than Newman’s invective.”

  195. Larry Nugent on said:

    Dylan, Present times give instant facts and not early 20th century reportage. You are in denial. Wake up.

  196. Marko on said:

    Larry, the SWP were not carrying Israeli flags so there are some differences between them and the fascist right wing scum of the EDL.

    Tactics may be similar but on belief they are firmly in the harry’s place camp.

  197. Oh Larry I said early on I wasn’t defending anything. Never mind. Off you go misreading if you like. So: what are you going to do when the cuts come? Please share.

  198. Larry Nugent on said:

    Marko, the ordinary Joe or Josie, watching, know mob rule when they see it so graphically on their TV, and will be horrified at those idiots actions, no matter what flag or placard they carry, as demonstrated.

    You know fine well this will only undermine the left’s soldarity in this dispute. Woodley is now blaming the left for mob rule.

  199. Marko on said:

    “Marko, the ordinary Joe or Josie, watching, know mob rule when they see it so graphically on their TV”

    So protest = Mob rule. That one way to spin it.

    “and will be horrified at those idiots actions”

    No they won’t. Most people will be out in the garden sunbathing, so cut the delusions.

    “You know fine well this will only undermine the left’s soldarity in this dispute”

    No it won’t. The BA workers will decide whether to go on fighting or to capitulate.

  200. Larry Nugent on said:

    Sue. I will as usual be supporting my party’s correct position, the trade union call, the Morning Star’s report. I will be working on a green agenda. Helping in my community to gather support. Following the sane in Socialist Unity and avoiding you.

  201. Which party, Larry? Avoid me – ok, duck. If you bothered to read my ealry post, you will be avoiding someone who did not barge in and defend anything.

  202. Labourisms on said:

    Who is the most evil: Andrew Lloyd-Webber or the SWP? Perhaps Andrew Lloyd Webber is a secret SWP guru, now all the original leadership is dead. He is certainly otherworldly enough.

    By the way: is anyone here going to condemn Woodley for offering to call off the Cabin Crew strike, if only Willy Wanker gives back what he took away earlier in the dispute? Does this mean that UNITE is prepared to concede all the other attacks that caused the dispute in the first place? Does anyone think Simpson/Woodley can be trusted one inch not to sell the dispute down the river?

  203. Larry Nugent on said:

    Marko Will you and Sue be selling the Socialist Worker on the picket lines tomorrow?

  204. Larry Nugent on said:

    I am reticent to tell you Sue, incase you join up. I get blamed for a lot. but not for Tank Girl joining

  205. Karenski on said:

    Larry, do you really have to sink so low? Best keep your misogyny hidden, it isn’t attractive. From what I’ve heard Oban is a haven for bitter, old women haters.

  206. Jonny Mac on said:

    Extra, extra, read all about it! The SWP has done something bloody stupid! Richard Seymour has defended in it sixth form sociology essay prose! In other news, some bears have shat in the woods and the pope’s been outed as a catholic!

  207. Larry Nugent on said:

    Misogynist never. Abusive stopped. Describing Sue as macho is fair comment in reply

    Karenski, I do not see Sue as a old woman. Anyway if Oban is the worse you think of me. I pity your fickle remarks.

  208. What was macho about saying I wasn’t defending anything, was at the conference, lots of positives came out of it and so? I think you’ve been on the beer…

  209. Ossian on said:


    “Somedae doesnae like the Scots!”

    I think someone’s taking the piss out of someone who in the same post earlier used “didnae” and “didn’t”, then followed it up with another in perfect English and has now reverted to the Scottish equivalent of txt spk. Somedae like that is hard to take too seriously.

  210. #277 tell us about it, fukin illiterate Jocks mixing up their English and Scots, don’t listen to a word they say.
    So is there a SU Style Guide people commenting should follow then knobhead or are you just being a language snob ?

  211. Don’t you just love it when really long threads in blogs like this end up in complete surrealism.Vaginas,chundering,Scottish dialect?

  212. I know, but as there seems no deviation from blame the SWP and anyone else within a breathing yard of them, might as well be full of vaginas, dialect and chunder?

  213. Larry's Girlfriend on said:

    Larry is a proper ladies man.

    He spoils me with his companion travel pass and takes me to bingo and the local pensioners club.

    He has no problem with my six other boyfriends. He is patient and takes his turn.

    He loves my three dogs and four cats.

    He is so considerate. He makes love to me six times a day and four times at night. I only get jealous when he mentions that Sue’s name. He is not a women hater. His consultant psychiatrist told me so

  214. Rodchenko on said:

    Whata load of hysterical hot air and over reaction to a bit of direct action over little or nothing!

    It must be the weather! Some people need to seriously get a life and calm down abit and get a bit of a clearer perspective on things.

    This dispute needed livenning up a bit, a bit of direct action from some where, a little light shinning on the matter of Willie wanker Walsh, ex trade unionist come BA bastard boss and Tony tosser Woodley, who needs a good kick up his reactionairy concrete arse as he is no doubt caught in the midst of selling out the BA strikers…dont just take my word for it, it…will…happen !

  215. Larry's Girlfriend on said:

    This is a typical diversion of the SWP. When they are on the ropes Karenski and Sue start talking about their fannies.

    Will they be selling the socialist worker on the picket lines tomorrow?.

    I see tank girl sue is already excusing herself by going to a union meeting. I hope it is Unite and not UCU.

  216. I know, excusing myself, Larry, due to a serious case I am representing. I should just leave the member out to dry to fulfill your fantasy. Still haven’t read my earlier post have you? You won’t bother; easier to get all worked-up.

    Right more importantly, the strikes are still on as Woodley offered to halt if travel concessions were reinstated (hmmn now) and Willie said no.

    (Larry will blame my vagina, even though I wasn’t at the demo yesterday. Or do you prefer Fanny, Larry? What’s wrong with the v word?)

  217. Clayton on said:

    But Hey,

    what are you going to do when the cuts come, because only the SWP trots can organise protests against the cuts yawn yawn

  218. #283; “This dispute needed livenning up a bit,”
    Oh how we laffed and laffed.
    Very good.
    If the SWP have taken a Situationist turn I’ll be joining tomorrow.

  219. Larry's Girlfriend on said:

    Sue, I do wish you well in your trade union activity tomorrow.

    I have no problem with proper terminology. The V or F word is appropriate whenever. In my case, being lumpen, I am inclined to listen too and use the F word. It is not in my everyday use.

    I only want to convey to you the real risk of people watching the unfolding events post mob rule of being equated with the violent tactics of the EDL at Bolton public meetings. This strategy has proven is unacceptable with the general public, communities and the majority of the left.

    Also the Socialis Worker will be a hard sell on the picket lines of UNITE and other unions.

    My hatred of the SWP is well recorded on this blog and that was caused by John Rees usurping Respect or attempting to do so.

    I was a socialist worker seller until then. I have stopped the abuse after being warned off by Ger Francis as my membersip of Respect is important to me. I write in a jocular lampooning fashion as I believe the SWP deserve a good slagging everytime.

    I am oft to bed. I repeat I wish you well

  220. Ps Larry, to be fair, I don’t think I have seen you being abusive to me, personally.

  221. Lynsey on said:

    “I think someone’s taking the piss out of someone who in the same post earlier used “didnae” and “didn’t”, then followed it up with another in perfect English and has now reverted to the Scottish equivalent of txt spk. Somedae like that is hard to take too seriously.”

    Being a middle class student (lol), I actually study this! And I plan to make a career out of language one day! So, let me use my studenty expertise to take you to school, as it were.

    Scottish people are in the very interesting situation of having quite a few languages in the mix, and there is not actually a strict definition that you can draw between “perfect English” (a dodgy phrase that you wouldn’t actually hear being chucked about in an academic context in my department. Mercy, how standards are slipping!) and Scots. Rather, it works on a kind of continuum. As well as that, you don’t just have English on one side and Scots on the other. You have what we call English Standard English, Scottish Standard English and Scots. Scottish Standard English is what I’m typing in right now, but it can be pronounced with any accent; it’s not the accent that makes it ‘standard’ as standard doesn’t refer to some kind of rating of how pleasing or ‘proper’ it is; rather, when we say standard we refer to a shared lexicon and grammar which is widely intelligible to all Scottish people, and obviously most other English speakers. But, Scottish Standard English IS different, because we have some lexical and grammatical variation; the standard example we give is the scotticism ‘outwith’, which isn’t common currency anywhere else. And then we have Scots. Most people in Scotland today actually will speak a mix of SSE and Scots, and the lines between the two can be blurry.

    So, for example, when I write some sentences in SSE but throw in stuff like “youse” (a grammatical feature which is decidedly part of Scots and which is not part of SSE), I’m actually doing what most people do. And funnily enough, a lot of people, especially Scots and young people, tend to codeswitch within their writing style (and I cannae be arsed explaining codeswitching, look it up).

    Which is just my long winded way of saying don’t make pronouncements on subjects you don’t understand. Linguistics isnae what most people think it is, and you’d be wise not to try and use some twisted unscientific version of it as some kind of shorthand argument for NYAH NYAH YOU’RE STUPID. You’re no gonnae make me embarrassed about codeswitching!

  222. Lynsey on said:

    Also, txt speak. Here I go with the controversy; it’s a valid form of communication! Skipping vowels to make written communication less laborious is a time honoured human tradition. Got a problem with it? Take it up with the inventors of ancient writing systems.

  223. Democratic Centralism Destroyed My Brain on said:


    Well if it’s John Rees you hate, he’s gone off to Counterfire so what’s the problem?

  224. Owen on said:


    It’ll be interesting to see how the Morning Star deals with this on Sunday evening for it’s Monday edition.

    Comment by Eddie Truman — 22 May, 2010 @ 11:27 pm

    Answer: “To suggest that either the Socialist Workers Party stunt at the Acas offices or Unite leader Derek Simpson’s use of Twitter during the negotiations caused talks to collapse is a smokescreen.” –

    The blame, as the title of the editorial makes clear, lies with one man. And that man is Willie Walsh.

  225. paulm on said:

    294 ‘outwith’ is certainly not uncommon south of the anglo-scottish border, though it may be more common north of it.

    ‘don’t make pronouncements…..’?

  226. Lynsey on said:

    When you do dialectal surveys, it really, really is. It is a scotticism that will have spread to some people like everything in language can do. In fact, if you’re thinking of people using it in the north of England, that’s no coincidence since English in Scotland and the North is closely related, and in fact the English they speak there and Scots pretty much came from the same mish mash of languages.

  227. “Can we all just agree that the SWP is the root of all evil?”

    I thought it was the root of all evil²

  228. Blake on said:

    Just reading all this now. One thing is certain. Andy has revealed himself as a scab in front of the entire Left for all time. Quoting BBC reports to denouce socialsits (!?) Shame. Andy will never be taken seriously again on any topic.

  229. Zhou Enlai on said:

    Just to recap.

    SWP is insane attention grabbing juvenile trot fest which should be shunned.

    Similarly, Scots might well conclude that pathetic contribuions from the trot fest of SSP vs Solidarity ought also to be shunned.

    In short, the trots are political poison

  230. re Scots: (to be said in a Scot’s accent): What’s the difference between Bing Crosby and Walt Disney? Bing sings and Walt Disney

  231. Andi Rossetter on said:

    #308 i’m not a “trot” and i’m a member of the SSP. and solidarity doesn’t really exist in any meaningfull sense anyway.

    #309 there is hope for you yet Michael. big fan of your work, just wish your politics were better

  232. Reports from SWP comrades on picket lines this morning suggest that they are getting an excellent reception and striking cabin crew are very friendly towards them.

    So there.

  233. willie walsh looks like shay given! on said:


    “solidarity doesn’t really exist in any meaningfull sense anyway”

    That’s right, not like the successful electoral machine that is the SSP!

    You see it’s not votes or public perceptions or relevance to the working class that counts – it’s having groovy websites updated regularly and loads of banners on demos saying “ No Pasaran” that are important.

    Youse are great.

  234. john l on said:

    I want to clarify some things about this story.

    The protestors, who were in the building for around fifteen minutes before they LEFT OF THEIR OWN ACCORD (they were not ejected by police, their were only 3-4 police there) did so BEFORE, mark, BEFORE Walsh, Woodley, Simpson and their teams left. So the notion that the protest did anything other than disrupt the talks for a few minutes is rubbish. The negotiators were left standing up their on the 23rd floor, perhaps poor old willie was in a state of mental collapse having heard some loud noises – “understandibly” Woodly might add.

    These were the talks that have been going on since september, wherein Woodly and co have been desperately trying to sell out the strike by offering the most pathetic deals(note for example further up this blog where Andy gushes in an almost erotic manner over Woodley’s latest act of betrayal – an absurdley generous deal which ignored even the victimised union activists). The actual issue up for discussion as the protestors arrived? Simpsons conduct with regard to his twittering. And in a final shocking twist to the tale, some people involved in the protests were… students. Yes thats right, the filthy rich students. How could they share even an ounce of sympathy with workers, bloody charlatans. Some of the comments on this thread have been so utterly retrograde and bovine that even a veteran idiot like Newman might blush.

    And on said idiot – “So, if the strike won’t be resolved by talks, how will it be resolved? by a revolution?” No brainless, hopefully the strike demands will be won, by the impact of the strike on the BA service. Since BA are clearly out to smash the union how else can the dispute end favourably? And before anyone says it, yes this process will include negotiations, although I dare say that even if the success of the strike meant that Walsh was out of options, Woodly and Simpson might still manage to rescue defeat from the jaws of victory and Newman would reach orgasim.

    Earlier generations of the SWP would not have countenanced such an action? The first big right to work campaign demo in the 70’s ended with a private primary school being occupied, with the terrified rich kids trapped inside, that was the organisation YOU joined Andy, so drop the crap.

    Go back to writing articles about how we should all fly St George flags outside our houses Andy, and please hurry up and join the Labour party, we all know its coming. Your a disgrace.

  235. Jonny Mac on said:

    “The first big right to work campaign demo in the 70’s ended with a private primary school being occupied, with the terrified rich kids trapped inside”

    Scaring children? Classy.

  236. Andi Rossetter on said:

    #314 “youse are great”

    i know we are thanks 🙂

    ps i tought solidarity was going to be “bigger bolder better” thats why you keep having to stand under different names.

    bitterness and jealousy are such negative emotions. it’s ok to admit you were wrong.
    what a hatefull little world you must inherit

  237. Andi Rossetter on said:

    #314 “youse are great”

    i know we are thanks 🙂

    ps i tought solidarity was going to be “bigger bolder better” thats why you keep having to stand under different names.

    bitterness and jealousy are such negative emotions. it’s ok to admit you were wrong.
    what a hatefull little world you must inhabit

  238. willie walsh looks like shay given! on said:

    #321 and #322

    You’ve rumbled me…I am jealous. I’m filled with a jealous rage at how well the SSP has been doing in elections.

    There was me thinking that everybody on the left in Scotland needed to take a long hard look at what’s been happening to the socialist vote but no, you’re doing well, ignore me.

    So keep it up, slag Solidarity, write that Nick Clegg’s a C**t on your website and just you keep the faith that it’s all going to be fine in the end.

    To all those English comrades fed up listening to petty squabbles between the Scots I’ll let you get back to slagging the SWP!

  239. LarryN on said:

    # 320 Oban Airport is a lone air strip that runs alongside the beach of Loch Etive, Argyllshire.

    People who are aware of it, will see the funny side of my reply to Ted.

  240. Andi Rossetter on said:

    seriously who are solidarity? not seen them about in a long time.

    which confuses me because i thought they were “bigger better and bolder” than the SSP

  241. willie walsh looks like shay given! on said:

    Wahey Andi…that’s 3 times you used the “bigger, bolder, better” routine in posts #309, #310 and #316. Why not go for it again?

    As for Solidarity, rather than disappearing didn’t they stand as part of a coalition that got more votes than the SSP just the other week? Didn’t they stand under their own name in Glasgow NE in November and get many times the vote of the SSP who registered their lowest ever number of votes in a by-election?

    But hey, I think it was your own Colin Fox that spoke about baldy men fighting over combs. Nobody on the left in Scotland is doing well electorally. Solidarity seem to have recognised that it is important to try and build connections with broader layers in trade unions. In the General Election STUSC received support (from amongst others) from the FBU, the RMT, the CWU and the Lanarkshire Socialist Alliance. I think people in Solidarity see working with these broader forces as a positive development whereas you in the SSP see it as a sign of weakness.

    But don’t worry, you seem to be doing a fine job and there seems absolutely no need for you to review your electoral strategy as it is working so well.

  242. STUSC wasn’t new and broad though – how many of the candidates, if any, were not already members of Solidarity?

    Renaming an alliance between people already in one party is not making a broader alliance.

    Regarding the vote, the last time the SSP stood in a national electoral contest where everyone could vote for us we got more votes than No2EU which Solidarity and Sheridan were involved in. The votes were both very low, and neither side is a “slick electoral machine”.

  243. DopeAddict on said:

    What a bunch of clowns you are! Do you swallow whole anything the media tosses at you? If any of you fruit-whipped little fairies had bothered to get off your fat asses & actually decided to talk to the BA workers you pretend to care so much about you’d know what a farce you’re making of this whole mess. God forbid you might actually do something that upsets anyone! Enjoy pissing your vote away on NuLab, while justifying it over your Starbucks morning coffee. If social change relies on your collection of Comic Book Guys personified, well, we’re all in a hell of a lot of trouble.

  244. willie walsh looks like shay given! on said:


    Andy, I think all of those involved in STUSC would have liked to see it broaden out further. It was with genuine disappointment we heard that the SSP, The SLP and The CPB declined their invitation to attend the first meeting of the coalition called by Bob Crow and Dave Nellist.

    However, although all of the candidates are members of Solidarity, some were chosen by other groups such as Ray Gunnion in Motherwell (by the Lanarkshire Socialist Alliance) and Gary Clark in Edinburgh (by the CWU#2 branch).

    TUSC and STUSC will now consider what happens next with the coalition but there is a recognition that there needs to be co-operation between left parties and groups, trade unionists and communities fighting the cuts. We did’t see that as a sign of weakness but the reality of what is required.

    The SSP leadership however have made it clear that they will not join anything that contains Solidarity – although that doesn’t seem to be the position of all of the SSP membership.

  245. eheheh on said:

    “People shook my hand! Me and another comrade were actually applauded briefly when we said we were part of the “battle of acas”. Cracking day for a picket, everyone who can should definitely go down later this week or at any point during the series of strikes.”

    “SWP comrades are getting an excellent reception on the picket lines. No attempt to have us removed by officials, striking cabin crew are very friendly towards us.”

    A couple of reports from the picket lines.

  246. Andi Rossetter on said:

    we had a left unity project in Scotland.

    it was wrecked by the people who went on to form solidarity we are now recieving lectures from those same people on left unity, can anyone spot the flaw in logic here?

    and i’ll use it again because you’ve not answered the point.

    i thought solidarity was going to be “bigger bolder and better” than the SSP that was Sheridans logic when he wrecked the most succesfull left unity project in europe.
    he’s been proven wrong on that hasn’t he?

    what name will solidarity be standing under at the next election?

  247. willie walsh looks like shay given! on said:

    Yeh it was wrecked by those in Solidarity blah blah blah, it was nothing to do with us blah blah blah, we are blameless, blah blah blah.

    You and the others based around the former Glasgow ISM now celebrate the fact that the CWI and the SWP are no longer in the SSP so you can cut the sanctimonious drivel Andi. You got your way and now look at where you are.

  248. Andi Rossetter on said:

    So you didn’t answer any of my questions there.

    we’ll try again one more time.

    1. who left the SSP?

    2. why are the same people who did thier level best to destroy left unity now lecturing the rest of us on the subject?

    3. Tommy was wrong to say “bigger bolder better” wasn’t he?

    answers on the back of a postcard

  249. LarryN on said:


    A pose by any other postion. Is still a pose,

    Soldarity is in the ptocess of name change to “The VPP” (The Village People’s Party) depending when TS gets an equaty card at the Saltmatket. He will be giving a virtuoso performance as Judas against the SSP.

  250. jim mclean on said:

    Solidarity is the result of a Bonapartist move by Sheridan, a move opposed by the SWP to begin with until the CC decided to take a chance on Sheridan and his populist appeal. The trouble is that with the CWI and SWP restricting their members from accessing the whole truth many English comrades are not aware of the full facts.
    A pound to a penny Ted Grant would have recognised this as a basic Prolatarian Bonapartist organisation. Now I am on the opposite side of many in in the Scottish Left in relation to the National Question but Solidarity in the eyes of many highlights how activists in Scotland are concerned about English domination even in the politics of the left. The CWI, described by Hearse as “an International made in England” and the SWP, controlled by an English CC, have done nothing to alleviate concerns over the subjucation of the Scottish People even within the socialist movement. Now my crops need seeding in Farmville so by by for now, there is enough bullshit above to fertilise them for a year.
    As for the figure in relation to elections, only Nellist, Sheridan and Sutton got over 2%, for fucks sake wake up and smell the coffee, were screwed for the moment, dont organise, mourn.

  251. willie walsh looks like shay given! on said:


    Who left the SSP? Over half of the membership if I remember rightly – never to return!

    Lecturing? Do me a favour Andi. The SSP have been invited to participate in initiatives organised by broader forces than Solidarity but have refused to become involved. Fine…that’s your prerogative. Just you carry on becoming more irrelevant with each passing election.

    You know as well as I do that the split was inevitable. You know as well as I do that you and your mates in the United Left were preparing to spilt first and you know as well as I do that because of legal restrictions we can’t go into the whys and the wherefores of the split on a public forum so cut out the faux outrage.

    And as for wanting to find fault with statements by made leaders do you really want to go there? What does Colin Fox think about the SSY, The Voice or about some of your mates on here? Truthfully now Andi…we know what the SSP is like for honesty and integrity.

  252. Andi Rossetter on said:

    just more evasion from somebody who hides their identity.

    “You know as well as I do that you and your mates in the United Left were preparing to spilt first”

    “Truthfully now Andi…we know what the SSP is like for honesty and integrity.”

    yes we do and i am absolutley comfortable with the truthfulness and integrity of the SSP and it’s leaders.
    the same cannot be said for solidarity and that is why solidarity is dying. if not already dead

  253. Right………….this is 330 entries on a bash the SWP thread.. out of interest is this a record,,if so please change it. Minor issue of cuts, racism, end of RESPECT to get agitated about lol

  254. Willie you cannot honestly say TUSC in Scotland is broader than Solidarity if it cannot find one single candidate to stand in a General Election who is not already a member of Solidarity; rebranding is not a coalition.

    I’d question your assertion that Gary Clark was selected by CWU no2 branch as my understanding was according to CWU rules they can only back Labour candidates whilst they are affiliated?

    And attacking the SSP for “electoral irrelevance” is pretty meaningless considering that No2EU and TUSC got more or less identical votes to us.

    Left unity is required but what is the point joining TUSC when it will not exist after the elections? The SSP votes may be very low, like TUSC’s but there is a party there that is active after elections.

  255. willie walsh looks like shay given! on said:


    Well, No2EU had the official backing of the RMT and whilst STUSC was not as broad as we’d have liked it still attracted financial and physical support from the RMT, the FBU and the CWU.

    The Lanarkshire Socialist Alliance is not a Solidarity front organisation. It involves SSP members I believe. (Perhaps you could confirm that?)

    As for the CWU#2 branch, didn’t they used to be affiliated to the SSP? I don’t remember anyone in the SSP questioning any assertions or internal union rules back then.

    As for the results in elections then it’s obvious that they are poor for everyone. The left needs to examine what it does in the next period to try and re-establish itself and become more electorally relevant. I have brought up the results purely because of the narrative trying to be established by the likes of Andi that Solidarity is dead/finished. I am merely pointing out the fact that despite talking a good game then the SSP finished behind a grouping it claims barely exists anymore. What does that say about your organisation?

    This highlights an inconsistency in the arguments being employed by the SSP members on this thread.

    On the one hand the argument that TUSC was not broad and only represents Solidarity whilst on the other that Solidarity is finished.

    Yet if Solidarity is dead/finished then how did it stand candidates in the election and receive more votes than the presumably vibrant SSP?

    If Solidarity is finished how did it convince the trade unions mentioned to contribute to its election funds?

  256. Owen on said:

    The CWU branch left the SSP after rats such as Andy and co lined up to support to Rupert Murdoch against Tommy Sheridan. Most people in the posties branch wouldnt touch the SSP with a barge pole.

    Thankfully the SSP clowns that post on here dont speak for the SSP as a whole. I also know for a fact that the current SSP national spokesperson thinks that SSY are a bunch of ultra-leftist kids who more often than not are an embarrassment to what was once a proud party.

  257. There were both ‘Scottish TUSC’ and ‘Solidarity/TUSC’ candidates as far as I know.

    Not sure why it matters now, matters now but all candidates and campaigns were able to decide on their ballot paper description and there were about 8 ‘phrases’ registered that can be used again in future.

    see here:

    T.U.S.C is still here and has future plans.

  258. jim mclean on said:

    The Scottish left has lost the plot, the SSP are beaten by Sheridan and we are expected to ignore the fact that the BNP’s Baillie gubbed Tommy. We are nothing but a pluke on the arse of Scottish Politics and I think its time the comrades got out the pubs and back in the communities where the support lies, watch the Scheme and not Politics Today or whatever, and nobody lined up to support Murdoch, they were summoned to appear before the courts surely.
    Glasgow by-election results

    Voters have gone to the polls in the Glasgow North East by-election.

    Thirteen candidates stood in the seat. The results are:

    Charlie Baillie – British National Party – 1,013 votes (4.92%)

    William Bain – Labour – 12,231 (59.39%)

    Eileen Baxendale – Liberal Democrats – 474 (2.30%)

    Mev Brown – Independent – 32 (0.16%)

    Colin Campbell – The Individuals Labour and Tory (Tilt) – 13 (0.06%)

    Ruth Davidson – Conservatives – 1,075 (5.22%)

    David Doherty – Scottish Greens – 332 (1.61%)

    Mikey Hughes – Independent – 54 (0.26%)

    David Kerr – SNP – 4,120 (20%)

    Louise McDaid – Socialist Labour Party – 47 (0.23%)

    Kevin McVey – Scottish Socialist Party – 152 (0.74%)

    Tommy Sheridan – Solidarity – 794 (3.86%)

    John Smeaton – Independent Backed by the Jury Team – 258 (1.25%)

  259. What’s so wrong with situationist ultra-left posturing anyway? And the abuse against students, even if they are middle class, the abuse against young people, makes me sick.


    So shocking that the ultra-loopy left did something, when with a decade and a half of new labour and the trade union bureaucracy the working class was advancing so well. If ultra-left loons do this sort of thing (voicing their opinion) it might damage the left’s attempt to get more representation on the irrelevent board of the the irrelevent union.

  261. Evan on said:

    #336 Now that Workers Power have put out an eloquent defence of the SWP I feel that my view of the event at acas has now changed…

    I hope that the SWP are really grateful for the support.

  262. Evan on said:

    The Scottish Play (an extract)

    Enter stage left

    Youse fuckin started it (cunts!)

    No we fuckin didnae (sexist mysoginyst bastards!)

    Yes youse fuckin did, (sectarian fuckin splitters!)

    No youse fuckin statrted it. And youse have no fuckin support in the fuckin workin class! (cunts!)

    No, youse are the ones with no support in the working class! (Look how many votes we got!)

    The above exchange to continue for the next 10 years at least.

    Exam question-

    Is this a comedy or a tragedy?


  263. #341, interesting racist narrative you’ve got going there.
    We could paint developments in the English left in the same way.
    “Cor blimey mate, mussels and eels, ‘eard abarrt that Georgie Galloway boy?
    “He in arf a loverly boy, pissed off them SWP no end.”
    Jeezo man, is that the extent of your analysis ?

  264. eddie

    We all gave up months ago trying to “analyse” what is going on with the scottish left.

    Other than that SSP and Solidarity both seem more akin to survivor self-help groups than political parties.

  265. Willie/Owen – I don’t think the CWU no2 Branch ever was able to openly back an SSP candidate, that’s why I’m asking if they could officially select and support a STUSC candidate. My understanding is that CWU branches could give us some money under certain conditions but the national CWU rules makes it impossible for any branch to select a candidate who is not in the Labour Party.

    Owen’s comments make it clear why we can’t have unity with Solidarity at this current time – if they think we are class traitors there is not even the most basic and minimal level of trust needed to form a meaningful political organisation/electoral alliance.

  266. And re SSY – Sheridan’s allies said four years ago on a radio debate with then SSY organiser Jack Ferguson that Colin Fox was planning to purge SSY etc. Four years on there are no signs of any purges, just like there are no signs that the UL was going to replace Colin Fox with Alan McCombes/Carolyn Leckie, another prediction Solidarity members made.

  267. evan on said:

    “We could paint developments in the English left in the same way.”

    Yes if you had the brass neck you could.

    The thing is Eddie, like many of us down here I had high hopes of the SSP and actually looked up to it as a potential model for where to go (notwithstanding my scepticism about full independence).

    Nothing so good has been fucked up so spectaclarly down here.

  268. #350, racist because you parodied the split in the socialist movement as a stereotype of the Scots.
    I illustrated this with a possible alternative racist analysis of the situation in England.
    But as always, if you have to explain the joke it isn’t funny.

  269. evan on said:

    #351 But i tend to find that the less funny other people find the joke, the more I laugh. That’s why I love Carry On films and Morecame and Wise.

    Btw Eddie, the split in the SLP happened in Scotland. I could of course have set my great work in some mythical land. Perhaps you could suggest a name for it.

  270. Andi Rossetter on said:

    also willie walsh looks like shay given has still to explain the evidence that the UL was preparing to split first.

  271. Owen on said:

    # 344

    No I dont think the SSP are class traitors and Im not even sure what that term means as its very abstract. For me, the vast majority of people in the SSP are decent socialists and many are good trades unionists and definitely not ‘class traitors’.

  272. willie walsh looks like shay given! on said:


    “And re SSY – Sheridan’s allies said four years ago on a radio debate with then SSY organiser Jack Ferguson that Colin Fox was planning to purge SSY etc. Four years on there are no signs of any purges, just like there are no signs that the UL was going to replace Colin Fox with Alan McCombes/Carolyn Leckie, another prediction Solidarity members made.”

    Andy – The reason there have been no purges is because Colin was making that promise to those who left to form Solidarity in a bid to get them to stay. He said the same about the Voice and the clique in Stanley Street. However, once the split occurred he’s obviously looked around and thought there were few enough of you left and anyway he wouldn’t have the numbers he’d have needed.

    The UL didn’t replace Colin because it wants to keep him there until after the you know what. There has been a necessary truce between rival factions within the SSP in order to try and hold things together…a sensible thing to do. That means no moves (as yet) to replace Colin and backing for Richie Venton from people who tried their level best to remove him as organiser in Glasgow in the months leading up to the split.

  273. willie walsh looks like shay given! on said:


    At a meeting after the 1st trial when Alan McCombes persuaded you not to. Lothian’s UL members inparticular were keen to go.

  274. Andi Rossetter on said:

    there you again willie, what evidence do you have for the claim that there was a campaign to remove Richie?
    and what evidence do you have that the UL were planning to split first.

  275. Andi Rossetter on said:

    356 nope there was a debate in which everyone spoke. the overwhelming feeling was to stay,

  276. Owen on said:

    Colin Fox just before the split asked the group that became Solidarity to stay in the SSP and help marginalise the UL faction and SSY. This is a well known fact in Solidarity

    Most of Colin Fox’s natural allies, certainly those who supported him as national convenor left to join Solidarity, leaving Fox in a party with people he didnt really have alot of time for.

    These may be awkward truths but they are truths nonetheless

  277. Ok Owen if we are not class traitors are we ‘rats’ then? Do you want unity with rats?

    And Willie, I see no reason why removing Colin as co-convener would be any different or easier after the trial than before it. The trial does not affect his position. The same is true of Richie.

    I’d also be interested to know why SSY is “ultra-left”? – everyone in the youth wing thinks the SWP occupation of ACAS was bizarre and ultra-left, and last time I checked the SWP are (on paper) part of Solidarity.

  278. “Most of Colin Fox’s natural allies, certainly those who supported him as national convenor left to join Solidarity, leaving Fox in a party with people he didnt really have alot of time for.”

    Of course Solidarity was formed with the support of the CWI, SWP and Tommy Sheridan, all of whom have massive amounts of time for one another.

  279. Owen on said:


    Yes the people who lined up against Tommy Sheridan in support of Rupert Murdoch and Lothians and Borders Police behaved like rats. Plain and simple. But I suppose its true that every man (and women) is worth more than there worst deed.