Thursday, April 1, 2010


When you can't win fair and square those on the socialist left usually resort to cheating, although it's something they share with politicians in general. It means that they use their "ends justifying the means" mantra to ignore the wishes of the many or subvert votes (in the case of politicians simply going ahead and doing it anyway) to get their own way, or rather the way of the activist and leadership.

The RMT are a classic example of this, lead by a man who is a committed socialist (read communist) who decided New Labour weren't socialist enough for his union so set up his own political party to a resounding failure to get votes.
He's been spoiling for a fight with the government (any government) for a while now and sees a chance to send New Labour into the dustbin of history by making them unelectable via strike action. Except that it might be that his membership did not agree with him, but that's ok, you can always find extra votes when on the left (or a Lib Dem) simply by making them up.

Arsonists struck in the dead of night on April 19 last year. By dawn, the East Usk signal box in Newport was a burnt-out shell and police had started an investigation into the “suspicious” fire.
Few could have imagined that, a year on, the charred ruin in South Wales might have a role in preventing the national rail strike planned for next week.
The East Usk signal is one of 11 “ghost” boxes that Network Rail claims were wrongly included in the Rail, Maritime and Transport union’s strike ballot. The three votes listed from the Newport siding should be disqualified along with all 25 from signal boxes that have long disappeared, the company will argue today in the High Court.
While most were closed this century as automation spread along the railway, one of them stopped operating in the 1960s. 
Chalford signal box, near Gloucester, opened on August 2, 1897, at the bottom of a four-mile hill below Saperton Tunnel. It is still revered by some railway enthusiasts for the safe passage afforded to “auto-train” services in the 1930s – shuttle trains with a cab at both ends that plied the line to Gloucester. But it signalled to its last goods train in 1963 and its last passenger service a year later.
Nonetheless, one RMT signaller appears to have been included in this year’s ballot.
Network Rail says it has unearthed scores of inaccuracies in the signallers’ ballot, which show that the union has “manifestly failed to comply with the requirements of the Trade Union and Labour Relations Act of 1992”.
The vote was so close, its lawyers will argue, that just 112 of 4,556 signallers balloted would have been enough to swing the vote against the strike. Network Rail says that the inaccuracies in the ballot account for almost 300 potential votes. 
As well as including signal boxes that do not exist, the union omitted 26 that do, accounting for almost 100 staff, the company said. Network Rail argues that in 67 other locations, the RMT sought votes from more employees than work there. It says, for example, that the union asked 11 members to vote at South Tottenham, where it employs three signallers; and 33 at Crewe, where Network Rail says it employs 24 people. 
It's a tactic obviously learned from New labour and it's predilection to ballot rigging by postal vote, after all why trust the membership to agree with you when you can simply rig the votes to agree with what you want. Cuts out the inconvenient middle man so to speak, the moderate who simply wants the money to keep coming in to pay his mortgage rather than have his year ruined by getting no pay because it's been decided (not by him) to strike about possible redundancies with a view to loss of safety.
Democracy is a foreign concept to many socialists, useful if it goes their way, but why take the chance...

The RMT are a classic example of not taking a chance, if the reports are true, they would not be on strike this coming weekend anyway, so they decided to cheat, fortunately they got caught, wonder how many other dodgy ballots have been won by phantom voters though.

3 annotations:

JuliaM said...

It didn't help them, did it? ;)

John M Ward said...

Got it in one. Hopefully this will alert all involved to tighten up procedures and to scrutinise strike ballots ever more closely.

I'm sure the other Unions will be *so* pleased with their comrades in the rail unions for that...

James Higham said...

Sorry I can't make a more intellectual comment but "you are completely right here".