A candidate from the defence industry

On Saturday, I was at the meeting of Eastern and London Region Gazette supporters (the Gazette is the broad left grouping within Amicus) that chose who to support for the regional seat in the Unite Executive Council elections.

After a long meeting, where we all had the opportunity to listen to and question the various candidates, we decided to back Raymond Morell. Raymond is a senior rep in the defence industry.

I fully backed that choice even though it might seem a strange one for a health worker. Raymond is a good trade unionist who has unionised his plant and won a recognition agreement earlier this year.

He is more than that though. While he fights for the members in his own industry, he also recognises, unlike many today, that trade unionism has a wider social purpose. At the Amicus Policy Conference he moved the motion against Trident replacement, arguing that the billions it was going to cost could be much better spent on health and education.

Many of his colleagues in his industry opposed his stand, but, as he argued on Saturday, a good trade unionist has to put the interests of all the members first, not just those from their own section. Raymond also argued for a restructuring of the defence industry to provide socially useful jobs, giving a productive long term future to his members.

I don’t blame people who work in defence, just as I don’t blame people who work in the tobacco industry. It is always refreshing, though, to meet people who have a wider vision and don’t feel that they have to protect nuclear weapons, tobacco, nuclear power and the like because these things might appear to meet immediate interests.

I hope those of you in the Eastern & London region will consider supporting Raymond. He put out a statement to the meeting on Saturday which is worth reading to discover where he stands on a variety of issues. If you want to meet him, he’s happy to come to workplace or branch meetings, and he’ll be on the NHS demo on November 3rd.

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