Tuesday, 19 June 2007


...by which I mean the leadership.

I've just taken part in "World Have Your Say",a programme on the BBC World Service, which was debating boycotts. I was there as an NUJ member - not as a BBC reporter - stressing that my concern was not Middle Eastern politics but the fact that my union was taking sides in a bitter conflict, putting those members who value their reputation for impartiality in an impossible position.

And that conflict raged around the studio, with accusations flying back and forth between the pro and anti-boycotters, while I tried to keep my head down.

But there was one empty chair in the studio - it had been offered to the NUJ but over a period of two days the union failed to find anyone from the General Secretary downwards to fill it. It seems clear that the leadership just hopes this issue will go away. It won't.

Oh - and keep signing the petition:



martinshankleman said...

martinshankleman writes.
The best explanation for Mr Dear's continung silence is I believe simple.He privately supports the boycott policy, those around him know that, but he is too worried to admit is publically in case he alienates the members further.
I would welcome a clarification from him of his personal thoughts.
Meanwhile the Union continues to lose members over the issue. Acorn House tell me 16 members have now formally quit. Although that number is "historical" and does not include members who have walked away, and stopped paying their subs. I fear the numbers will continue to rise unless the so called "Voice of Journalists" reverses this policy. No wonder our branch is planning a recruitment drive.

John Jones said...


Just an update for you from Darkest East Yorkshire - absolutely not a hotbed of wild-eyed lefty radicalism.

Our branch discussed your petition at great length this evening and resolved to note it's contents, but take no further action, deeming that it was open to any NUJ member to show their support or opposition to your campaign by signing (or declining to sign) your online petition, or submitting an appropriate motion to next year's ADM.

I can't honestly see the sense in your continuing attempts to attack and isolate Jeremy Dear on this issue. It is quite simple. The boycott is currently NUJ policy, so it's his job to support it, at least until any discussion at the next ADM, when he will be free to voice an opinion one way or the other (if he so chooses).

In the meantime, lay off Jeremy. If he has a personal opinion on this it would be entirely inapproriate for him to express it now. By and large, he does a damned good job, and we'd all be a lot worse off without him.

And Martin.... if your branch is planning a recruitment campaign it's probably got a lot more to do with building a campaign to oppose any future possible job cuts at the BBC than replacing any losses of members who have problems with the NUJ boycotting Israeli goods.

whealie said...

When did you take up mind-reading?
I have no idea what Jeremy thinks. I imagine he wishes the whole row had not happened. It is a huge distraction. But I also imagine he realises that it is now NUJ policy and, according to the union's rules, cannot be overturned by a ballot. It can only be overturned by another delegate meeting.
The only thing you know for sure is that 66 delegates voted for this motion. Some of those may wish they hadn't. Jeremy does not have a vote at ADM so was not one of them.
I had hoped Rory's moderation of this site would prevent spiteful and personal comments form being published.
Please be civil enough to confine your comments to the issues.

Donnacha DeLong said...

Actually, Jeremy is on record as saying he doesn't agree with the boycott (London Central Branch meeting, 8 May 2007) and wants to move the union past it. However, Jeremy's personal view is of no consequence in this - he does not decide policy for the union, he's in charge of implementing it. The NEC leads the union between ADMs and will meet on Friday/Saturday this week, following which there will doubtless be a statement of position.

martincloake said...

I've mentioned this in another post, but the personal attacks on Jeremy Dear are just one of the increasingly hysterical tactics being used in some quarters as this debate gets more ridiculous.
It's quite outrageous that anyone should loftily presume to know what any individual, or "those around them" come to that, think. Just because David Aaronovitch, who specialises in snidey sniping at people who dare to take a different view to those he holds, launched a bizarre attack on Jeremy at a recent meeting, it doesn't mean it's big or clever.
A General Secretary's job is to carry out the policy of the union they lead. End of.
The great irony is that Jeremy, along with other NEC members, lay officials and the full-time staff, is prioritising the many industrial struggles the union is involved in - while those proclaiming opposition to 'political' issues are spending huge amounts of time on the very things they want less time devoted to. And in the process propagating the entirely false view that our union spends all its time on non-industrial issues.