First up for analysis is the manifesto pamphlet produced by Padraig / Patrick Mulholland where he lays out exactly what he’ll do if successful in his campaign to be elected as General Secretary.
Padraig / Patrick promises as follows.
“I will ensure NIPSA develops a strategy against cuts”.
Let’s look beyond the soundbites. Padraig / Patrick seems to be inferring that NIPSA hasn’t developed a strategy against cuts.This is remarkable given that he was President for three years and now he seems to be suggesting that during that tenure no strategy was developed. Clearly NIPSA already have a “strategy”. It’s effectiveness is questionable but it is there. There is nothing new and nothing beyond what would be expected of a union in what is being offered here.
“I will ensure that NIPSA makes protecting jobs and having reasonable workloads a priority”.
Again, nothing new here. These are default positions of any union. If these two points are not already key priorities then what did Padraig / Patrick do to make them so during his most recent term as President and who prevented him from making them priorities?
“I will ensure that NIPSA develops a strategy to develop real increases in living standards”.
Admirable, yes. Achievable? Well, given that tax credit cuts have been imposed and that Welfare Reform is more or less a given it would be interesting to see how Padraig / Patrick proposes to achieve this objective. Being reactive after the fact is easy, but rarely gets results in areas of fiscal imposition. Again, campaigning for increases in living standards is a standard union role. There is nothing new here. NIPSA and its negotiators are already charged with this task.
“I will listen to you, communicate with you and provide the services you need”.
Nice soundbite, but again these services (personal representation and legal advice) are already available to members. Reiterating them as part of some new era of attention to members needs is pointless. Listening to members, communicating with them and providing services comes with the job. It is expected of a General Secretary.
“I will ensure NIPSA remains united against sectarianism”
The key word here is “remains”. Padraig / Patrick seems to be engaging in the Tory politics of fear with this frequent referencing of a threat of alliances with sectarian political parties. It’s his version of “a threat to our national security”. Who is proposing these alliances? What power, hold or sway do they hold over NIPSA? Right thinking members of NIPSA have no time for sectarianism, that is a fact. They will vote against any such alliances in much the same way that they have steadfastly voted against the establishment of a political fund. That is true anti-sectarianism, not aligning ones union with any one particular political ideology.
“I will always implement the democratic decisions of NIPSA members and conferences”.
That would be Padraig / Patrick’s job as General Secretary, it’s not an optional bonus. As for the aspiration that as a union all voices should be heard and that people can be open about their views there is of course the matter of two expulsions which took place earlier this year during his term as President, the rationale and background of which are questionable and currently in dispute.
“My campaign to become General Secretary is supported by a wide range of NIPSA branches and activists from across the entire union”.
As indeed is that of the other candidate Alison Millar whose manifesto promises will be reviewed in the near future.