You are a new trade union
leader. You are inexperienced, a little bit unsure of yourself, and
those rabid left wingers are gunning for you. What could be more
natural but to ask the boss of a private rail company to write your
speech to your union annual conference. Perhaps even a Rail Minister
might give you a little moral support.
breezed into Arkwright Rd after his election as General Secretary of
ASLEF, threatening to sack all the staff if they went on strike, set
up a staff association, and bring in scab labour. As they say in the
union movement, treat your staff as you would want a company to treat
According to Kevin McGuire of
the Guardian, Stephen Hardwick, BAA’s director of public affairs wrote
a draft of a speech, “private and confidential”, for Brady to deliver
at ASLEF’s conference in June. BAA runs Heathrow Express. ASLEF
members at the company were on strike last year before the
enthronement of the great man Brady.
Shaun did not deny this. He told
McGuire, “I asked him to help me. I just needed a bit of assistance.”
Admittedly there weren’t that many people in the union talking to him,
but surely he could have found some help in ASLEF?
It’s an extraordinary picture,
BAA’s senior manager, suggesting to a trade union leader how to deal
with an internal struggle in the union. Brady met him twice before the
draft speech was e-mailed by Hardwick. It appears that an unnamed
Labour MP brought the happy couple together.
Hardwick was an adviser to John
Prescott before the election of New Labour in 1997. He was, he said,
merely helping out a friend who supported Brady by writing the speech,
presumably in the hope that it would help him deliver it in at least a
McGuire also revealed that Kim
Howells, a minister of state responsible for the railway industry,
sent a hand-written note, apologising for being unable to address the
conference, but expressing his wish to have a chat with Brady so he
could “fill me in on the situation re the national executive”. Not
that he wished to interfere, of course.
Brady attacked his opponents
with his usual eloquence. “This is not a witch hunt against me, it is
a witch's’ coven. They are trying to twist an angle against me. There
was no deceit. If there was deceit in this, there would be no
Thank God he did not get to
deliver the speech!