Back in February, the Red Roar was surprised to hear how confident Howard Beckett was about who would be on the ballot. In fact, he claimed that he knew the Unite membership so well that he would be ’knocked over by a feather’ if Gerard Coyne was to get onto the ballot.
Well, the Red Roar is happy to get a feather posted to each of his luxury homes that he owns, as Gerard Coyne has announced that he has passed the threshold required for him to reach the ballot.
After Coyne entered the 2017 contest and came within just 5,000 votes, there was significant worry among the hard-left that, without the benefits of incumbency, the leadership of Unite could easily fall out of their hands. The rules were therefore changed to increase the number of nominating branches required with, geographical branches of 50 employees or more also being included. This meant that to reach the required 5% of votes candidates would need a higher threshold of 174 branches. Despite this extra challenge, Coyne has managed to reach this threshold.
As many readers will remember, in February Beckett mistakenly boasted of the ‘high bar for the branches to get on to the ballot’ and how, because of this barrier, he was very confident that ‘Unite will remain in the hands of the left’. He based this prediction on his apparently superior knowledge of the membership, despite only having been a union member for 17 years— half the amount of time that, for example, Siobhain McDonagh has been a union member, something that Beckett missed when he mansplained to her on live television last week.
He did, however, make two promises should his predictions turn out to be false. Firstly, that people could knock him over with a feather and secondly, that members ‘could put a lock on the door until the left candidates reach an agreement as to who the candidate should be’. Now, while Coyne and those close to him find it inaccurate and offensive for him not to be considered left wing, the three hard left candidates all now find themselves with enough nominations to reach the ballot.
The Red Roar understands that Beckett lags behind both Steve Turner and Sharon Graham when it comes to nominations. It has been reported that Beckett’s 270 compares to 300 for Graham and 400 for Turner, however, full results are yet to be announced. If Beckett is behind both Graham and Turner then the Red Roar looks forward to Mr Beckett stepping down in favour of his rivals. We won’t hold our breath.