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Issue 11 - March 1973
Part Of The Union
Muther Grumble would like to congratulate Mr Giles Radice on winning the Chester-le-Street bye-election with a vastly reduced majority. Mr Radice, educated at Winchester and Oxford, and who lives in Kings Road, Chelsea, may seem a strange choice as Labour candidate for a seat that has always been regarded as a Miners one, but all is explained when it is realised that Mr Radice is a full-time official of the General and Municipal Workers Union.

Some time ago the GMWU, or Cunningham's gang as they are known, set about gaining control of the constituency for the Union and its members.

They suffered a setback at first when John Cunningham, Andy's son, stood as Vice President of the local Labour party and was defeated, but that didn't stop them for long.

Cunningham next set about systematically gaining control of the divisional Labour Party. Affiliated Trade Union branches are represented on this body by one person for every 100 members, up to a total of five representatives. So, as soon as a GMWU branch reached 500 members, Cunningham split it.

Thus, while one pit might only have five representatives for 2,500 men, the same number of GMWU members could claim 25 reps. Clever isn't it?

By this year the GMWU had also got all nine seats on Chester-le-Street's executive.

Cunningham's mob also gained control over several wards in the constituency - by any means possible.

For example they discovered that the Nettlesworth branch had not been keeping its minute books, so it was deprived of its vote at the selection committee.

So it's hardly surprising that Mr Radice was selected as candidate. Although there was a great deal of opposition within the local Labour party, and particularly among the miners, to Cunningham's power games, democracy being what it is they couldn't do anything about it ....................