Tag Archives: Tom Watson

The Durham Big Meeting

20 Jul

by Kate Osamor

Unite's banner at the Gala

Unite has produced a political strategy which outlines “our” view on how to ensure working class people can take up political positions within the labour party. Recent article/blogs have made claim that the strategy is a move for Unite the union to take over the Labour party. This is untrue and very misleading.

For years trade unions have backed the Labour leadership and supported the appointment of Labour MP’s, Sadly with little recognition. The policy involves Unite fighting for more for trade union-backed MPs, a restoration of democracy and for policies which would commit the Labour Party to improving employment rights and opposing all cuts.

Last week I had the pleasure of going to the Unite Political school, held at Durham University, to work on understanding the political strategy and how best to implement it. For 3 long days we discussed why politics matters, how to win Labour for working people and how best to win working people for Labour

We worked in small break away groups looking at identifying any barriers to success and how to overcome them, as well as pledging group/individual plans on how to apply the strategy in our workplaces and union branches.

The school coincided with The Durham Miners’ Gala, known locally as “The Big Meeting”, which is the annual celebration of the Durham coalfield’s heritage and trade unionism. First held in 1871, with unions marching into the city, the Gala has developed into an elaborate socialist iconography, where ‘working class’ people march together with banners and brass bands. As part of a Unite delegation, we marched through the streets of Durham on to the old racecourse, to hear political speeches from Ed Miliband (the first Labour MP to attend the Gala in over 20 years) and Tom Watson MP amongst other great comrades.

I was part of history and feel very proud to have attended both the political school and the Durham Miners Gala.


Kate Osamor is an activist in Unite the Union and the Labour Party

Dial M for Murdoch – The Shadow State of News Corporation

19 Apr

Dial M for Murdoch: News Corporation and the Corruption of Britain

by Amy Jackson

Dial M for Murdoch: News Corporation and the Corruption of Britain, written by Tom Watson and Martin Hickman, comes out today. Revealing previously unpublished information, the book uncovers the  inner workings of one of the most powerful companies in the world: how it came to exert a poisonous, secretive influence on public life in Britain, how it used its huge power to bully, intimidate and cover up, and how its exposure has changed the way we look at our politicians, our police service, and our press.

Joining up the dots of the now infamous hacking scandal, the book explains that it was only after a trivial report about Prince Williams’s knee in 2005 that detectives stumbled upon a criminal conspiracy. A five-year coverup then concealed and muddied the truth. Dial M for Murdoch gives an account of the extraordinary lengths to which the Murdochs’ News Corporation went to ‘put the problem in a box’ – James Murdoch’s words – how its efforts to maintain and extend its power were aided by its political and police friends, and how it was finally exposed.

Tom Watson speaking about Dial M for Murdoch

The book is full of stories never before disclosed in public, including the smears and threats against politicians, journalists and lawyers. Exciting revelations include:

– Tom Watson was told by Neville Thurlbeck, the former chief reporter of the News of the World, that in July 2009 News International launched a smear operation against MPs carrying out the parliamentary inquiry into its illegal activities. As a result, in January 2012 the Committee’s members, whose private lives has been under investigation, decided not to summons Rebekah Brooks, the Chief Executive of News International. Parliament had effectively been intimidated.

– At the end of 2010, Watson was told by an insider at News International about the existence of a second email server at Wapping, where deleted emails would be stored if they had been deleted from the main server. Watson passed this information to the police.

– In June 2011, Watson was approached by intermediaries from News International with a deal: they would ‘give him’ Andy Coulson, Cameron’s former press secretary, but Rebekah Brooks was ‘sacred’. Nevertheless, before she resigned, Brooks’ own office was being bugged. The book does not state who by.

– On his release from prison, Glenn Mulcaire went to work for a private security company headed by Sir John Stephens, the former Commissioner of the Met Police.

– The Director of Public Prosecutions regularly met NI executives over meals both before and after the criminal investigation.

– Tommy Sheridan, former Scottish Socialist MP, wrote to Watson from prison: They are bullies of the worst kind and as with any bully, running away only invites them to become more aggressive. Murdoch must not be allowed to assume the role of Pontius Pilate in the whole sorry affair.’

– Max Mosley, the head of international motor sport and victim of News of the World front page splash, states: ‘The Murdoch empire is a really sinister presence undermining the whole of our democracy. They are capable of suborning the police, Parliament and the government.’

Dial M for Murdoch is now on sale here. Left Out is lucky enough to have a copy – it’s a must-read.

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