Sunday, 17 June 2018

General Secretary Election 21

Hi Jim,

Just thought I should write in and clear up some mistruths and maybe misconceptions about me that I have read on the blog and have been posted on social media. Firstly it is important to always remember “A lie repeated and unchallenged becomes the truth” and I wouldn’t want your readers or those reading social media being misled either deliberately or by accident.

In relation to my political affiliations and views I have never been a member of the Socialist Workers party nor have I ever attended any of their meetings. I have given quotes to the press association in the past which were then reported in the Socialist jottings along with many other tabloid newspapers. 

To be clear I have only ever been a Labour party member and I only joined the party three years ago when I believed that there would be a change in leadership that would see the Labour party return to their roots following the defeat in 2015. Labour was promising what I can only describe as pale blue policies to make cuts but not at the level the Tories wanted to back in 2015 and before and I felt that I could not support the party during that time.

I was bought up in a very working class family with my mother working as a Secretary in London and my father a council worker for Greenwich council where he had started work as a labourer, laying paving slabs then steadily getting promoted into management roles before his premature death from Cancer at 57 years old. Both had been Labour voters most of their lives and I had developed a keen interest in following politics from a young age.

In May 2013 I stood in the Kent County Council elections as a TUSC candidate, at the time the party had been led and heavily influenced by senior trade union officials such as Bob Crow RMT with PCS, FBU, POA & NUT (now NEU) all being included as part of the National Steering committee. TUSC only required candidates to agree to a platform against all forms of cuts and anti-austerity and there were no conditions as to views on policy when out campaigning. This agreement suited me so that I could campaign freely although I was already concerned that TUSC had no real policy direction.

Soon after being elected as part of the POA NEC in August 2013 I was invited to attend the TUSC steering committee meetings at RMT HQ near Kings Cross. It soon occurred to me that TUSC was more of a campaign against cuts then it would ever be an alternative to the mainstream political parties and I began to raise my concerns. There was no real desire to come into conflict with any Labour candidate that stated that they would be anti-cuts and it seemed to me pointless to be promoting TUSC as an alternative party when they were not prepared to challenge each and every seat.

Then in 2014 whilst TUSC were making preparations for the General election in 2015, the Socialist Party offered to fund most of the TUSC candidates with in excess of £200,000 that they had made available and they wanted commitments in return for the cash. I disagreed with taking the money as it made TUSC as bad as any other political party i.e. beholden to those who fund it and I made my points to the TUSC leadership. The TUSC leadership decided to accept the money and I parted company there and then, not because I was anti the Socialist Party but because I did not agree with the politics behind the cash. I did not attend anymore steering committee meetings.

Whilst I have known some of NAPO’s current NEC a long time I have no-one “sponsoring” my campaign, writing my replies to this blog or else. I have chosen freely of my own accord to stand because I wanted to and I have campaigned on my own views, thoughts and beliefs. I guess in this case the description of being “Maverick” could then be considered accurate. I have always been one to speak out and challenge things rather than go with the crowd. Obviously this does bring me into conflict with others, especially those that have held court or power for a long time and do not like newbies entering the frame and unsettling the applecart. However once I have had my opportunity to state my case and fight for my views I can of course accept the consensus.

I would not accept that I am a ‘chancer’ though, more someone who is prepared to take a chance and fight for something worth doing rather than not bothering to fight in the first place. As I’m sure most of your readers have already established I will not take things lying down and I will always continue to state my case and argue my point, doesn’t matter how many people try to belittle me or attack my reputation I will always respond to mistruths and misconceptions.

In my experience far too many people make noise and then when elected they fall into the trap of following the consensus, this will never be for me and although I’m fully aware that this approach is littered with stress, frustration and sometimes disappointment it is the only way I know how to operate when it comes to tackling the big issues.

I hope that this clarifies some points with your readers Jim and thanks again for continuing to post my jottings.

Kind Regards

Mike Rolfe


  1. Whilst the incumbent makes comments behind Facebook firewalls and runs scared from debates. It's ironic that we know more in a few weeks about the political beliefs of a challenger than we do about an incumbent who has been around for years.

    IL refuses to step out of his comfort zone to engage in debates. It's a lost opportunity that Napo News did not interview both candidates who could have set out their positions on a range of issues, possibly sparking a wider debate and promoting a bit more member engagement. One of the main purposes served by elections is to air the issues, compare policies and form a judgment about the candidates' relative merits. Instead it seems Napo HQ are behaving as though this election is an Assault on Precinct 13.

  2. Totally agree netnipper. I sent my ballot paper off yesterday and I voted for Mike Rolfe. We need change at the top.

  3. Mike, thank you for your response. You need to know that whilst you chose to stand, there are those in NAPO who are claiming that they are responsible for you being a candidate and that you are under their control. The identity of those people, and their record in NAPO, is the reason I have voted for Ian Lawrence.

    1. 08:28 - This is both ridiculous and sinister: promoting dark controlling forces.. maybe next there'll be allegations of Russian money. But as there is no open debates between the candidates, it's easy to peddle this paranoiac nonsense.

    2. Wrong berry is a vote loser I would not mind a new leader but not at the financial cost to Napo and Mr is taking and getting the wrong advice. That's what will see IL back in. Same level lower activism from the challenger and not wholly up front.

    3. Anon 13:54 You really are very annoying:-

      1) We have confirmed it won't cost Napo to unseat IL

      2) Even if that were correct, it's hardly reason not to vote for someone

      3) It's got nothing to do with Chas Berry

      4) Mike Rolfe is clearly his own man and doesn't take orders from anyone

      5) He's clearly a guy up for some 'activism' as you put it

      6) He's been completely 'upfront' in numerous blog posts - unlike IL

      7) I wouldn't normally say this, but you're talking crap

    4. Jim, in point 1) you say 'we' (who?) have confirmed.... I think we should know that evidence and it's source please. Only the same test as you wanted for the opposite.

    5. Jim this is not the BBC and you may not like all the reading but you do invite views. If you don't like the views please don't invite them.
      If you had rules on impartiality the leaning to ensure MR is elected would be ruled offside.
      It is accepted you have to do what you believe to be in the interests of who exactly? Many others are honestly doing what we know to be in the members interests longer term and for the survival factors of the real financial risks to Napo. If IL is so bad why pay him 2.5 years salary to go ? Why, it makes no sense. It is absolutely accepted that MR is a good guy, means well, wants to lead ,has desires for the power, has a belief that he can make a difference. So do many activists and some have to exercise responsibility so the whole union remains in some shape to keep fighting. Yes, I accept many and most of that has been appalling but we cannot blame only one donkey IL. Who has not been led by Lions. Not one of them has been driving member led protections, any top table led support. We have seen failure by the officers GS and AGS within NPS on every policy failure. We have lost Annual Leave, reduced pay and working terms are weakened. The top table as far as anyone can see are silent, non challenging complacent. The NEC have endorsed every wrong turn that has been put to them. Backed by poor and professionally paid team of officials. All this group have failed the GS fail on many fronts. We need to ensure a complete change and this has to be through the AGM.
      Where officially is this provided to you so confidently stating this is a fact to readers? Jim you must realise the terms and conditions are absolute. If Mike Rolfe defeats Ian Lawrence, the reality of IL position is he cannot lose. The cost will weaken Napo finances. If the members really want new leadership it should come from the suffrage of the affected, the angry, the disillusioned. The AGM should be the forum to take issues. NAPO activists who are able and are genuinely empowered through their own empathetic experience.

      Taking unchecked third party advice which is WRONG WRONG WRONG. Ignore the warning if you choose but IL cashes the retirement pay out, I can assure you the members will leave in disgust, be furious. This could happen, all will blame!

      2 Yes a completely fair comment good point . If the GS is so poor at role or functions, why then haven't the officers, officials or the AGS ever complained to our knowledge? Nothing to NEC in four years of destruction, resulting in the Eradicating of a professional, decent public responsible probation service. The NEC watched on.
      3 Really ?
      4 This is not doubted, being his own man is the problem. Not a team player, a record of leaving, is untested in authority, a range of elections and sub teams. Consistent in resignations.
      5 He may well be, if he won "long live the new king"
      6 IL has not said anything on here but he does not have to. Tweets and other media ways to engage some members. The process needs changing and that has to be member led.
      7 You can say that Jim but you must see the real picture. Do not mislead the members or voters that wont be right

  4. I agree with netnipper. The whole election is a shambles. If it weren’t for this blog I wouldn’t know there was an election. I haven’t received a ballot paper even though my contact details have not changed in years. I’ve not chased it up. Napo obviously don’t want my vote. It’s impossible to choose between useless and incapable.

  5. Agree with 9.49 I have not received a ballot paper either and my details have not changed. No democracy in NAPO it is poisonous at the top table with corrupt process the norm. Things can only get better - new politics please before the demise of this Union. The elected General secretary whoever that is would do well to take the views expressed on this blog by the members seriously for the future of NAPO.

    1. Anon 09:49 and 10:12 - with respect, you can't just ignore this, if you are full members of Napo you must do something about it - now!

      "Ballot papers are being sent out by the Electoral Reform Society (ERS) and should be returned direct to them in the pre-paid envelope by noon on Thursday 28th June.

      If you haven’t received your voting papers yet, you should contact ERS on 020 8365 8909 right away, and by 21st June at the very latest.

      Napo HQ is encouraging as many members as possible to participate in this very important election.

      Results will be published to all members on 29 June 2018."

  6. Yes Jim absolutely agree!anyone who is full member but hasnt got their voting slip sent them "needs to ring 020 8365 8909 right away, and by 21st June at very latest" as Jim notes above. Every vote counts and if you have views(which you clearly do 'cos you are engaging in debate on here)please honour them(yr views)respect yourself and get the slip sent off. Thanks!

  7. Not to do with the NAPO elections, but an interesting article on the falling memberships of Trade Unions in general.
    I find the lower proportion of those working in the private sector that dont belong to a trade union both interesting and concerning.