Saturday, 8 October 2011

Is Mike Freer MP a Trotskyite?

I have just read the most bizarre post on Finchley and Golders Green MP, Mike Freer's website. I was wading through this article - - on the challenges facing the Jewish community when I got to this statement.
This includes taking back the Unions too. The techniques of militant entryism of the 1980’s appears to be being used to take control of Unions so anti-Israel motions (and perhaps this is the respectable face of anti-Semites?) can be passed. Half a dozen people sitting through turgid union meetings for hour after hour until only the die-hards are left – mean a hand-full of people can dictate policy. So Jewish union members and friends need to do likewise and take back the agenda!

What Mike Freer is advocating is highly disturbing.The thought that a local Conservative MP should advocate that a religious group hijack a Union to force through motions favouring one section of the community is repugnant. I sympathise with his wish that Unions show fairness and balance in dealing with issues such as Israel, but if we take his argument to its logical conclusion, we could have all sorts of groups manipulating Unions into supporting all manner of proposal, none of which are anything to do with their members interests. Where does it stop? I can guarantee that if it becomes clear that a specific religious group are intent on hijacking Union policy, it will inspire other groups to follow suite. Would Freer condone militant islamists pushing through motions denouncing the USA or backing Al-Qada? As is often the case, statements such as this have unintended consequences. Generally the people most likely to behave in the way Freer describes are the most highly motivated and ideologically charged groups. Whilst Mike may be purely interested in getting anti Israeli motions toned down, any attempt to deliberately infiltrate Unions is not likely to pass unnoticed and may cause a whole host of new problems.

Having read Mike Freer's description of how Unions operate, I do wonder if he actually knows anything at all about how Trades Unions operate. To be quite honest, his comments sound more like the average meeting of the cabinet of Barnet Council. From his statement, it is clear to me that he's well versed in the arts of manipulating committees. Anyone who has seen the Barnet Tories in action will know that they often push the contentious business to the end of the meeting. This way, the public gallery has thinned out and the chances of them getting rumbled are far less. Urging entryists to do the same to Unions clearly shows a mind well versed in Trotskyite methods.

I happen to believe that Unions and their policies should accurately reflect the views of the membership. For an MP to suggest such behaviour, for whatever reason is deplorable. I'd urge all members to participate in debates and stay to the end. That is the surest way to guarantee sensible and reasonable policies. What Freer is advocating is the tactics of Militant Tendency. I've long suspected that Freer is more versed in these arts than he lets on. Anyone who remembers how Freer siezed power in Barnet Council, hours after the 2006 Council elections will not be surprised. Freer also states in the article
But that’s fine for me but I also remember the old adage – ‘divide and rule’ and so I am increasingly worried that the Community needs to lift its eyes to the real threat – those that would seek to destroy the Jewish way of life and/or Israel.

Unlike Mike Freer, I've lived in the Borough of Barnet all of my life. I attended Orange Hill School, which had a large Jewish contingent (it was often a ghost town during the Holy day season we are currently in). It is 100% clear to me that the biggest threat to the Jewish way of life in Barnet is clearly not "those that would seek to destroy the Jewish way of life and/or Israel." It is those that seek to encourage insularity within the community and foster a bunker mentality towards the rest of society. The Jewish community in Barnet is successfull because it plays a full part in the civic life of the borough and is community minded. I know many Union activists who are members of the community. One of them alerted me to Freer's ramblings. I asked her opinion "It is offensive in the extreme" was the response. The way to combat prejudice and ignorance is for members of all faiths and no faith to work together, exchange ideas and show tolerance for peoples views and respect for their feelings. Secretly infiltrating Trades Unions and forcing through motions in closed committees strikes me as a recipe for disaster. The only thing I have yet to make my mind up about is whether Mike Freer is a Troskyite, intent on stirring up unrest, or whether he's just a tad dim and hasn't thought this through. If I had to put money on it, I'd probably go for the second option.


baarnett said...

Look at things from his point of view. He was a big fish in a small pond (well, smallish). He mattered.

Now he is 26th in line to be parliamentary under-secretary-of-state to the Fishing Minister (halibut section).

Every reason for his mind to wander.

Even Mr Cameron's briefing experts can make mistakes (over credit cards, earlier this week). Who has Mike got to advise him?

Mrs Angry said...

yet again Freer opens his mouth and talks drivel ... what an insult to the many Jewish friends who are union activists and whom I greatly respect for their commitment and politically liberal views ... why does he always assume that union members are something other than ordinary people, trying to protect their jobs and families from the ravages of his government and the idiotic easycouncil private sector piracy that is now facing this borough?

Adam Langleben said...

I rarely agree with Mike on much, but on this he is correct. He isnt saying that the Jewish community should infiltrate the unions, he is pointing out that many members of the Jewish community do not engage in the unions, and by not doing so they allow the sort of nonsense we see go on, especially surrounding Israel.
For example, the Jewish community in NW London has a disproportionate number of teachers, however, the level of union membership is extremely low when compared with national membership levels. The community to a large extent has Unionphobia because of the way Unions converse about the Middle East, which is central to most Jewish peoples identities in the UK. (
In Barnet - the most concentrated population of Jews in the UK - this poses a huge problem for the unions in getting across a message that this community will listen to.

Rog T said...


I totally agree with you. The problem is that whilst you make a good case using sensible language, Mike Freer didn't. What you propose is reasonable and sensible. What Mike proposes sounds (even if he doesn't mean it) vaguely sinister. I think mass Union membership for all sectors of the community is a hugely positive thing to be encouraged. Participation stops these problems.

Anonymous said...

This highlights the wider issue of Union democracy; a project with work still to do.

Be it strikes bringing the Tube to a standstill, holding Londoners to ransom or extremists hijacking the institutions to push through motions glorifying one or another bunch of nutcases - the undemocratic entryist few in the Unions continue using their members' money and names to pursue their own agendas.

Let us hope that the government listens to the Mayor of London and the CBI and brings a further democracy to these dinosaurs.

P.S. Do you think Mike Freer's advice applies to those Conservatives who live in Wards where they are similarly appalled by the political positions of their Conservatives? Should they join local Conservative branches, pass policy and motions and choose better candidates in 2014?

Rog T said...

I believe that the membership of any organisation should get involved and ensure that decisions are taken that reflect the views of the majority of members.

In answer to your question re Mr Freer, I very much doubt it.