Simon Deville reports
IN THE MIDST OF THE UNISON GENERAL SECRETARY ELECTION at the end of last year, Greater London Regional Secretary Linda Perks was suspended from her post following a complaint about election rigging. An anonymous whistleblower had posted online a recording of Perks, purportedly talking to a group of full-time officials, thanking them for the hard work they had done in getting nominations in for Dave Prentis from within the London Region.
On the recording, Perks goes on to state that incumbent Dave Prentis was very pleased with the work that they had done in getting nominations in. As a full-time official paid out of membership subscriptions, Perks, and all the full time officials that Perks was alleged to have been addressing on the tape, are supposed to be impartial in elections, so being caught campaigning for one candidate is a clear breach of rules. On the tape, Linda Perks makes it clear that she is well aware of this as she warns the meeting not to get caught distributing materials on behalf of the Prentis campaign, and not to use emails as they can be traced.
In the middle of the investigation into electoral fraud (the investigation still has not concluded) the presidential team (President, Vice Presidents and Trustees) circulated a letter online which purported to expose the tape as a fraud. ‘The forensic analysis was undertaken by an accredited audio specialist and the company is used by the High Court for audio evidence... The report clearly states that “the probability of tampering is exceptionally high”’.
The problem for the presidential team and Perks is that, far from clearing Perks of wrongdoing, intervening in an investigation before it is concluded itself makes things look decidedly dodgy. If the recording is exposed as a fraud why hasn’t the investigation been dropped? There are a number of reasons why such a recording might be ‘tampered with’ – the most obvious one being that the whistleblower has edited out a part that discloses their identity.
The recording is still available online and sounds remarkably like Perks. It seems unlikely that the left would be able to pull off a fraud of this nature even if they wanted to.
Chingford and Woodford Green CLP,