Sunday, 27 May 2012

Conference on unemployment in Manchester

On Saturday I attended  a conference on 'Changing unemployment in Greater Manchester'  supported by GMATUC, Salford, Manchester , and Rochdale Trade Union Councils and union branches.    There was a long list of speakers and facilitators according to the blurb on the promotional leaflet.     The cast included Alec McFadden President Greater Manchester OFFA, Ron Marsden , Volunteer Salford  Unemployed Centre, Alex Halligan Unite the Union and Stephen Hall President Greater Manchester TUC.
Unfortunately the unemployed were manifestly uninterested.   The main hall at the Friends Meeting House was virtually empty for the morning plenary.   One workshop for youth and students had no takers.   The other 2 were poorly attended.   The conference was a resounding flop although the buffet lunch was excellent.


Anonymous said...

Good food and bad politics! Don't you know that that will be the case at any event organised by Alec McFadden. Alec is at his best when he's spending other people's money.

Anonymous said...

Why knock Alec McFadden? He is not the enemy. Alec is a good northern trade union militant. Not only is he the organiser of Salford Unemployed Centre but he is the national Trade Union Council's north west representative.

Anonymous said...

McFadden has been the North West representative of the TUC JCC (Joint Consultative Committee) since the 1990s. What is interesting is the participation of Ron Marsden, described as a volunteer at Salford Unemployed Centre. Can it be the same Ron Marsden who has been linked to the anarcho-syndicalist movement in the north west for decades?

Anonymous said...

You know McFadden is a good enemy to have. To have McFadden as your enemy means you suddenly find you have loads of friends up and down the country because he's trodden on so many toes. He left the North East under a shadow. He's a good networker though - few better.

Mr Chatterbox said...

McFadden is known for having an inflated ego, but is it true that he drives around in a car with the personalised registration number, TUC 1?

bammy said...

'Alex is a Spiv!' is what Mike Luft, then Treasurer of Oldham TUC, told me around 2004, after a T&G Branch meeting. Mike then added that he didn't think Alex was by nature 'politically correct' in his instincts. In other words, I suppose what Mike was saying then was that Mr. McFadden didn't fit into the stern puritan model of 'political correctness' that was then, and still is, a fashionable fad on the British left. Mike Luft was much more of a puritan in these matters.

I would not be too judgemental about either of these two approaches, because in a trade union, unlike a political party, one has to stand by one's colleagues despite the differences in personalities and political ideas: I used to see Alex as a amiable rogue (afterall Artur Dailey was a Spiv!)and Mike as a pleasant puritan. Now I don't think Alex is very amiable, nor Mike very pure!

But no-one is perfect and whatever we think of him intellectually, from the point of view of the social scientist Mr. McFadden's adventures in power politics in the Northern realm represent a remarkable treasure trove for the sociologist, anthropologist, and political scientist. It doesn't matter if it is nationally in his role on the TUC JCC, or regionally as a TUC JCC representaive living on Merseyside, or locally as manager of the Salford Unemployed Centre, all these preoccupations of Alex McFadden offer absolutely fascinating material for the dedicated researcher into power politics. McFadden, is a rare, colourful creature and political specimen for the unique study of the enforcement of power on the British Left. In a dismal world he gives us rich drama in excess, such as could have come straight from the pages of a Shakespeare play.

McFadden and his pals in the North offer a wonderful focus for the anthropological study of power and low cunning as expressed in microcosm.