So your critics say your campaign is dead? Well, who wouldn’t fight back by mobilising…skeletons.
The latest initiative from Camp Coyne, apparently mistaking a trade union for an adventure playground or fancy dress party, was to organise a march of the Undead on Unite’s Holborn headquarters to highlight – well, who knows what.
Thus the union’s executive members were supposed to be greeted on arrival for their quarterly meeting by a picket from the Other Side – half a dozen skeletons accompanied by as many mainly masked Coynistas.
Whether the masks were part of the theatre or to hide blushes we may never know, but even the skulls looked a bit uneasy.
I say “supposed” because the skeleton’s timing was all off and they quit the Coyne Coffin too soon, arriving several hours before the executive meeting was due to start. The masked zombies, only slightly livelier than their bony charges, were for the most part not Unite members but New Labour flunkeys, once their disguises had been penetrated, according to Team McCluskey.
This baroque photo op was swiftly crashed by McCluskey supporters, and there ensued what lawyers like to call a Skeleton Argument. I doubt if punches were thrown, as a nameless corpse alleged to The Guardian, but according to our sources, one skeleton did end up a leg light.
And with that, it was game over and all back to the cemetery.
The extraordinary thing is not that this entertainment was staged, but that somebody – presumably, everybody in fact – in the Coyne campaign thought it was a wizard wheeze.
Somehow, somewhere a whole discussion got from “we’re six-to-one down in nominations and we need to do something” all the way to “let’s hire some skeletons and shake-rattle-and-roll outside Unite House” without anyone saying “WTF”, or even “we might look like prats, and this might make trade union people think that Gerard is not quite general secretary material.”
This madcap am-dram experiment capped a foaming weekend for Gerard Coyne. First, his team alleged that Len McCluskey was starving Birmingham’s Labour Mayor hopeful of funds, a sally which only brought a rebuke for fibbing from acting GS Gail Cartmail and once more highlighted Coyne’s inconsistent approach to involvement in Labour politics.
It also drew attention to what may be a scandal Gerard wouldn’t want to talk about – well done those PR guys!
Then there was a press release slamming Unite’s donations of tens of thousands of pounds to Momentum – donations which exist, alas, solely in Gerard Coyne’s imagination.
Interestingly, neither release seems to have been promoted by the Coyne Circus through his official social media. This tends to confirm Unite Observer’s theory that there are two Coyne campaigns running in parallel. There is Sober Gerard, who puts out statements on zero-hours contracts and training and the like, and appears to be someone who wants to be a trade union leader.
And there is Batshit Crazy Coyne, lured by a career in vaudeville, waiting to cast off the sober mien of a career trade union official and get in touch with his inner Coco in full public glare.
This was feeling like a long campaign, with the hope of any serious alternative agenda to the McCluskey leadership being set out by his challenger long disappeared. But now, it is teetering on the edge of being entertaining.
What next? The skeletons were marshalled by a guy called Will Prescott. He’s on 07706 297042 – let him have your ideas: Gorilla outfits! Whoopee cushions! Blow-up Dolls! Itching Powder! Gerard’s up for it! Just don’t mention the JLR nomination.