GMB – a Cockney Clique


Glasgow council women strike for equal pay, an issue already supported by the council

The GMB union held a two day strike in Glasgow on behalf of equal pay for women. It is valuable to look at its motivation and what it achieved. They were paid up to £3 an hour less than council staff in male-dominated but broadly equivalent roles such as bin collecting and street sweeping. Some estimate they’re owed hundreds of millions of pounds in back pay.

GMB ignored equality for years

There is nothing as bewildering than a union that holds to a tenuous belief in anarcho-syndicalism and yet regularly settles for a great deal less faced with employers it is affiliated to, such as the British Labour Party, the party that governed Glasgow for over twenty years.

You don’t demonstrate greater theatrical grandstanding than continuing to shout for equal pay long after it’s promised, scheduled for implementation. That’s essentially the cockamamie position of the anti-Scottish GMB, the General Municipal Boilermakers, whose officials command vast salaries and expenses while advocating equal pay for all.

What is the GMB?

It comes as no surprise to learn the GMB was born in East London late in the nineteenth century, an offshoot of the early Socialist Party. It has no historical association with Scotland, no record of intervention in any of Scotland’s great social-political upheavals or events, from the Clearances to Glasgow’s slum tenements.

The GMB is a Cockney clique that thinks Scotland should be North England in every respect, from its education system to the NHS and on to government. In that, the GMB is antagonistic to Scotland’s democratic ambitions. Readers will remember the GMB is often aided by UNISON. Both unions canvassed ruthlessly against Scottish independence in the 2014 referendum. Neither is a friend to Scotland’s constitutional or civil rights.

You cannot be a worker’s union and simultaneously campaign against full democratic rights. Both are cornerstones of democracy.  Simply put, the GMB works as if a wing of the campaign to Bring Back the Great British Empire.


The Glasgow women’s two-day strike was, in most part, organised by the GMB’s Scottish organiser Rhea Wolfson. The hallmarks are classic, first cast yourself as the victim of political abuse, garner press attention for yourself; assume a messianic resolve to triumph, and portray yourself as a latter-day Joan of Arc.

Wolfson is no stranger to political controversy. In 2016, she replaced Ken Livingstone on the Momentum slate for the NEC after he was suspended from the party. However, she experienced difficulties after failing to secure the nomination of her home CLP, as required by the rule book. Wolfson blamed her former Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy for orchestrating her defeat. Ultimately, as reported by Labour List at the time, she changed her party membership from Eastwood to Almond Valley CLP (Livingston) and got onto the ballot paper.

The GMB shifts the blame

If the strike should have been about anything, it ought to have been about usurping the executive of the GMB for dereliction of duty and false representation.

In all her ranting and raving about equal pay in Glasgow not once did Wolfson remind the women losing two days wages that the GMB had sold them down the river on that very goal. Whenever equal pay is raised the GMB gets it wrong. The union is suing its former lawyers, Digby Brown, over the firm’s advice in North Lanarkshire’s equal pay dispute. That claim will drag on for many months placing claimants at a disadvantage.

The GMB did its best to give the impression that Glasgow’s SNP run-council is obstructing a manifesto promise to settle 12,000 outstanding pay claims. “There had been 21 meetings this year but no meaningful progress”. Meaningful is Wolfson’s personal opinion, an odd one set against a guaranteed resolution by the end of 2018. You wonder how easy the GMB made agreement of complicated detail reassessing grades.

Wolfson and the GMB failed to make clear to the public that the previous Labour administration in Glasgow had spent an estimated £2,5 million of taxpayer money in legal fees fighting against the implementation of equal rights for its council works. That in turn, burdened the incoming administration with huge debts. The GMB tries to embarrass the new SNP administration, as if it was the SNP who caused the strike.

Raiding parties to the rescue

There is a strong rumour her GMB male colleagues advised against striking. It rings true. They almost certainly foresaw how it would backfire on the union because the public are so much better informed of the rights and wrongs of the dispute than before.

Wolfson threw caution to the wind. She announced the strike in the following terms on the GMB website, and in so doing showed how little she cared about the school children and vulnerable adults affected:

“The strike will involve more than 2,000 GMB members who provide round the clock home care for 87,000 service users, as well as cleaning and catering services for schools and amenities across the city.”

In the event, an estimated 8,000 thousand people attended the rally, mostly woman, which sounds a success until the public learned a large number were sent from England.

Groups from ‘darn sarf’ were paid to attend with expenses paid. Expensive placards were handed out to all  who attended, money that could have helped subsidise some of the women struggling to make ends meet. How many of the indigenous women were single mothers, and how many were married with working husbands is not known.

Hitler’s view

Fascist ideology hates unions. The fascist creed belongs to Hitler and Mussolini. They knew unions are the very bedrock of democracy. Right-wing governments employ fascist language to undermine union representation, or suppress it altogether.

A labour union is the chief mechanism by which a democracy guides the distribution of wealth at a local level. Its function is to organise collective bargaining. Elected governments are meant to do the same job at a national level, but for wider social benefits such as sustaining infrastructure and institutions.

Trade unions are a source of cooperation and community. They exist to achieve wage equality. Their function is to protect workers against economic vicissitude. According to fascist policy – which we see arising everywhere in the UK and abroad – unions must be smashed to render workers isolated, prepared to accept whatever is offered.

In Part One of Mein Kampf Hitler attacks unions over an over again. Hitler wanted a blindly obedient fighting force loyal only to the national leader of government.

Whether or not Wolfson is intellectually aware of Hitler’s outlook is unknown but she is able to discern fascist language to a degree, commendably assiduous in condemning anti-Semitism in the Labour Party, a fighter of sorts. However, Labour’s travails are not for this essay.

The current attack on unions

In western society we see very successful attacks on unions by the power elite. We saw it in the Hollywood movie On the Waterfront, the loner beating the crooked union.

In the UK Thatcher squandered thousands of millions of pounds of Scotland’s North Sea oil on eradicating union influence, vastly reduced the scale of union activity, (aided by the right-wing British press) destroying worker’s livelihoods, breaking up families and communities, paying those made unemployed social security and unemployment benefits for the rest of their days … until now, that is. The Labour Party has no plans to roll back draconian union law.

We do not ostracise unions in Scotland, we encourage their participation, but note I am talking about indigenous unions not England-orientated unions carrying the flag of  British nationalism and its agenda.

In Scotland, the SNP government, and the SNP council in Glasgow did not attack the GMB once. Indeed, they supported the women to the hilt rendering a strike unnecessary.

As the leader of the council said, “The women won their case the minute the SNP were elected.” Susan Aitken, the patient SNP leader of Glasgow city council, said her administration “remained committed to agreeing a settlement with staff by the end of the year … and not any sort of low-ball offer.”

You cannot get more committed to a cause or precise than that, and that is in the face of many millions of pounds – some say a billion, needed to finance equal pay.

Tammany Hall politics

The GMB didn’t want SNP support. “Glasgow council has no money, therefore the Scottish Government will have to pay up”, said one callous official.

This is the British nationalist way of thinking. Impose Tory economic policies on Scotland with the full support of the Labour Party, reduce Scotland’s annual grant to squeeze the SNP’s choice of how to spend it, and then demand the SNP government supply the difference from thin air. It is no better than the Mafia demanding money with menaces.

In her oration to the women’s rally Wolfson did not rail against the British state that undermines Scotland’s sovereignty, nor demand Scotland be allowed to keep what it earns to spend as it sees fit, in particular, have enough to implement equal pay. She made no mention that Richard Leonard Labour’s branch manager was a GMB official when the women were denied equal pay. She is part of a Labour Party that deleted Clause 4 in its Manifesto and in one fell swoop practically outlawed unions.

Equality of wages was already agreed. the GMB created division when they should have created cohesion and a collaborative partnership. The women need better leadership. The GMB turned an honourable goal into a giant hen party.

Without a conscience, she left many young and old vulnerable for the length of the strike. When I think of the GMB, I think of fascist demagoguery.

Betraying the people of Glasgow

The people of Glasgow voted for independence without caveat. They did not invite fifth column English unionists to come to their city to divert that just ambition. The GMB betrays that clarion call with every utterance they make. The Labour Party and their affiliated unions show they a force against social progress.

In essence we’re dealing with a union that correctly demands equality of pay but not equality of civil rights in a sovereign nation. That is a preposterous stance to take.

What we saw in George Square, Glasgow, was Tammany Hall politics of Labour graft and union corruption, the legacy of a Labour administration.




NOTE 1: The essay was attacked by GMB’s boss, Tim Roache. He admitted he had not read it, nevertheless he judged it ‘shit’. In 2020 he left the job abruptly, under a cloud of accusation. In his ignorant condemnation of my critique of the GMB, he was joined by his malicious sidekick, Gary Smith, the antithesis of a union official. 

NOTE 2: The companion essay on fascist-speak, here:

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80 Responses to GMB – a Cockney Clique

  1. Grouse Beater says:

    They are determined to silence an articulate voice. No one, least of all the SNP, has asked for the GMB or Ms Wolfson’s definition of what constitutes anti-Semitism, but I hardly think an essay condemning anti-Semitism qualifies for that category.

  2. Nana Smith says:

    Morning Grousey, just wanted to say I’ve found a few pennies down the back of the sofa so ready when you are should you choose to set up a funding page.
    Take care xx

  3. Robin Ross says:

    I have always found your writing to be measured and thought provoking. I marked Higher close reading (interptetation) papers for many years and it was clear that many, many pupils had a limited understanding of the content they were responding to, let alone an ability to successfully analyse or evaluate it. I can only presume that those screaming anti-Semitism at you failed their Higher paper.

  4. Grouse Beater says:

    I have to agree with you, there is a sad element of mediocre intellect unable to comprehend ideas, as well as a lot of hysteria. Thank you for your remarks. I hope I hear from you again.

  5. Grouse Beater says:

    Bless! I’m waiting to discover which court is best and how much to gain entry, so to speak. But I have to say that’s very gracious. If anything, I hope you will keep reading and in contact, even if I drop my SNP subscription. Freeeedom!

  6. Donald McGregor says:

    I’ve popped here just now on the back of the stushie that seems to be going on elsewhere in relation to this issue. I have to say I am completely befuddled as to why there should be a stushie about your blog post, as opposed to the issue of the GMB and their ridiculous behaviour.

  7. Lanark says:

    As Alasdair Gray wrote in Lanark :”Let Glasgow flourish by telling the truth”.

    This is what you have done here. Every word of your article. No wonder they’re rattled.

    Keep on keeping on!

  8. Grouse Beater says:

    The SNP are too timid. Wait till you see the letter I’ve thrown at them, soon to be published.

  9. Petra Petraz says:

    Hi Grouse Beater, I hope that you’re keeping your chin up and that it helps you to know that you’ve got a great deal of support out there and that includes promises of financial backing, if necessary, in the near future.

    This article is excellent as are ALL of your contributions, GB. There is NO sign of anti-Semitism at all, FAR from it, ludicrous in fact with you “commending” Ms Wolfson for being “assiduous in condemning anti-Semitism.” How clear is that? How dense or more so manipulative are they?

    Your article hit the nail on the head GB and they don’t like it, hence the pretendy allegation to shut you up and of course more than anything discredit the SNP / Independence movement. Strange don’t you think that they didn’t pull you up for the numerous detrimental points that you made? Say, calling you out as being a liar? Well we know that they can’t because you’ve highlighted the truth of the matter. I’ve also got a great deal of first hand experience in relation to Equal Pay cases and the dirty dealings and machinations of the Labour Party in cahoots with the Unions, so much so that I could write a book on it (see you’re not the only one, lol).

    Anyway don’t be too hard on the SNP, GB. They had four choices as I see it. Throw you out of the Party, suspend your membership, support you publicly or say nothing at all. The latter two would have led to this issue growing horns and detracting from the ongoing BritNat corrupt “business”, at this critical time. Suspending you has put the tin hat on it, for them, and called their, Unionist, bluff. It’s now up to you as to how you take this forward, or not. Maybe you should take some time out before you make your next move? We’re right behind you regardless of what decision you make.

    Don’t forget that we don’t have long to go now. Not too long before we are Independent and have our own SBS. We’ll be needing people like you to set the record straight, broadcast the truth, instead of propaganda, into the Scots living rooms. In fact, for one, repeat exactly what you’ve written here because no one else has had the guts to do it other than the Stu Campbell’s of the World.

    Take care of yourself GB and my best wishes to you and your family.

  10. Grouse Beater says:

    Your remarks are welcome. Thank you. 🙂

  11. Rosa McConville says:

    This post includes a strong personal attack on a woman who has been identified in the media as being of Jewish heritage. Nothing wrong with that, and I happen to agree with what you say in many respects.

    However, in the middle, you include a bizarre section talking about Hitler and Jews, for no apparent reason. Did you do this deliberately, because you knew she was Jewish? Or were you just being astonishingly naïve? Either way, this does not look good.

    Delete the post. Apologise. You are not personally important. I’d never heard of you until yesterday.

  12. on the bright side, you are no longer an ‘obscure blogger’ (aka WoS)
    more than happy, ney delighted, to contribute to any crowdfunder

  13. Alastair Barron says:

    Having read the full article, I have to say that my initial puzzlement at what was anti-semitic about the excerpts I had seen has not diminished at all. It is clear that the whole business is being twisted in much the same way that the pay inequality fight has been twisted by the culprits to make themselves look like the good guys. Ridiculous to suspend anyone for writing the above article – I can understand the SNP adopting their usual timrous beastie approach, but having had time to read the actual article rather than react to a yoonpaper smear campaign, they should asap lift the suspension and issue a statement to the effect that criticism of the nazis is not in fact antisemitic. And then they should get hormone treatment to grow a pair. Gloves off time and start standing up to the bullies, SNP.

  14. Phil says:

    Hey Grouse. Rise and fly again. Nil Carbourundum.

    Hugh Taylor says: October 28, 2018 at 1:30 pm
    “GMB . . .”

    Yeah, GMB was my old union in my welding days and plenty travellers came north to build oil rigs. They provided fodder to stage arranged strikes when workflow in the yard needed a pause. Because in those days Independence was a wee pipedream Labour Vs SNP was not a feature, but Labour usually sent senior ‘branch office’ people to ensure all was in order. It was transparently obvious every time we stood out in the car park.

  15. Jock Haggis says:

    @yaakovsloman’s thread contains more good sense on antiSemitism than I have ever seen gathered before in one place. 13 Tweets of pure sense!

  16. Les McDonald says:

    I have been incensed by your treatment over this article. Yesterday i emailed SNP HQ as follows. No reply has as yet been received:

    “I read today with disbelief that the party had suspended the membership of Grouse Beater as a result of an article he posted on his website on 28 October.
    I have read the article several times and can find no suggestion of Anti-Semitism, quite the contrary. I can only assume that the decision to suspend was a knee jerk reaction to the fear of anticipated twisted and perverse publicity rather than based on the actual content. The article itself was an articulate exposure of the chicanery of the GMB, former GCC councillors and certain labour politicians with regard to the recent contrived strike over equal pay for women. Whether or not Ms Wolfson is Jewish is totally irrelevant. I have to ask whether those taking this decision have read the full text properly.

    What is relevant is that Grouse Beater has put his head over the parapet to highlight the lies and disgraceful antics of the GMB and its acolytes. He has done what the SNP frequently fail to do in standing up in public against the corruption of the media and the Westminster government.

    Instead of being castigated Grouse Beater we should have had the full support of the SNP. You should also have followed up his allegation that agitators were bussed in from elsewhere to swell the numbers of the strikers. I will most certainly encourage all I know to read the article in full and make up their own mind before accepting the media lies and I will provide links if necessary. You should have done the same.

    My wife and I are currently considering whether to cancel our SNP membership. We will be contributing to Grouse Beater’s suit for defamation against the Record if he needs help and in addition he may well end up with the subscriptions which would otherwise have gone to the SNP coffers. My membership number is (redacted). If you wish to pre-empt our decision on whether or not to continue our membership please feel free.”

    I hope you realise how much support there is for you outside the SNP bubble.

  17. Grouse Beater says:

    Thank you. I’ve censored one obvious part, for obvious reason here but I am grateful. I fear the SNP part is dead in the water. They reacted far too quickly and made their gratuitous judgement public before contacting me. My perception of the public mood is, the SNP a years behind what we feel. They have become the Nice Administration, unable to be vigorous in attack.

  18. Grouse Beater says:

    Rosa McConville

    I’ve allowed your letter access to advise that I was brought up in a Jewish family – asking question first is best – hence you’re supposition is based on what you are hearing rather than what was written. Three prominent Jewish writers, one of them Irish, confirm the essay is not in the least anti-Semitic. I keep good company.

  19. broadbield says:

    Can I add my support to all the positive comments on here and Peter A Bell’s repudiation of the accusations. For the life of me I cannot see how anything you wrote can be considered anti-semitic. You were discussing the rise of Fascism which is currently assuming menacing proportions in the West, including the UK, and linking the decapitation of Unions in the UK (and it has happened in the US as well) in recent decades with the ultimate anti-semite and how he smashed the unions in Germany. If I’m not mistaken you even praised Ms Wolfson for “condemning anti-Semitism in the Labour Party”!!

    I find the SNP response very depressing. It is a typical ploy of those wishing to hide an uncomfortable truth to cry “racism” or “anti-semitism” or similar simply in order to shut down discussion and to demonise the critic. The SNP have fallen for this without due consideration. Reading NS’s comments in the National, I wonder if she’s actually read your essay. As for the Councillor making a grovelling apology to “the young woman” admitting past errors. Stalin couldn’t have done better.

    I am not a member of the SNP, but a supporter of Independence and long time SNP voter. However I have written to my SNP MSP’s to tell them that I am considering voting Green in future, since they support Independence, and that the SNP are becoming too cosy, too much part of the Establishment, too often living in an echo chamber disregarding critical friends and listening only to what they want to hear. The Growth Commission proposals on monetary and fiscal matters were another abysmal low. Whether they read it of course is another matter.

    Best wishes, “keep on keeping on”, and if there’s a fund raiser I’ll add my twopence worth.

  20. Grouse Beater says:

    I joined just prior to the Referendum as a mark of solidarity. Even then I was dubious about it because I knew one day I’ have to criticise their arts policy, or something else. I send only an annual subscription. The party has never asked me to be involved in anything, though I once gave a Q&A talk to a local group. They are not vigorous enough in withstanding the onslaught that is hitting them from the British colonial establishment. Scotland is expected to come to heel. That aside, thank you for your kind offer. I might need all the help I can get. There are forces out to destroy.

  21. Rosa McConville says “you are not personally important” – wow! Like something she found on the bottom of her shoe. Nice…

  22. Pingback: A response to the Grousebeater controversy – Towards Indyref2…

  23. Robert Mitchell says:

    I wrote a letter to The National over concerns about your blog on 31st October. It has not yet been published – too controversial? I enclose it here.

    Dear Sir

    I read the Grouse Beater blog about the GMB Union and Rhea Wolfson before the row broke out. I did not think it in anyway anti-Semitic. It is rather ironic that a blog which is read by a few hundred or possibly even thousand readers should generate such interest that the offending passages are published in The National and elsewhere, bringing them to the attention of tens of thousands of people. It is quite obvious that the complainers were deliberately attempting to discredit the SNP and the Nationalist movement following the vile cybernat path which has been in existence for years.

    To quote Adolf Hitler and Mein Kampf is perfectly legitimate. It is interesting to note that in recent weeks Hitler has been described by right-wing politicians, including one in the European Parliament, as being both a Socialist and a Nationalist, and therefore doubly bad. Love him or loathe him, Adolf Hitler played a major part in the politics of the world in the 20th century. I was recently reading various works by George Orwell where I was struck by the anti-Semitism on display.

    If Ms Wolfson is really offended by this article, I have to say “Welcome to the World”. A trade union official should not be so thin skinned, but should just accept that others have opinions with which they may disagree, and I suspect there are many people who disagree with Herr Hitler. Maybe I just grew up in an age of hard knocks where we had to learn to stand on our own two feet. I do not approve of any sort of discrimination, unlike the officials of the GMB Union and the government of the State of Israel.

    In the Middle East in the days of the Ottoman Empire, the various religious groupings, Jews, Moslems and Christians, lived beside each other as good neighbours, respecting each other’s views and looking after each other’s children. When that empire was ended, the French and the British carved it up, and put the various religious groups into what amounted to ghettos in new countries under their own spheres of influence. The world is paying the price for that today.

    Robert Mitchell

  24. Grouse Beater says:

    Robert – I am indebted to you. What you’ve done is above and beyond the call of anything. I will accept it because some of our enemies are trying to say that which I did not. I quoted Hitler. The words are his. Those who choose to claim otherwise are dishonest and malicious. Whatever happens, we must not lose sight of Labour and the GMB as the colonial block on Scotland’s path to real democracy. Again, I send you my thanks.

  25. grumpydubai says:

    Like your observations on this situation, your general comments and intimations of support to GB.

  26. Grouse Beater says:

    With each slander and libel and fabrication they throw they imbue me with greater zeal to see the tossers in the garbage landfill where the despicable sods belong.

  27. grumpydubai says:

    I admire your outward and inward strength. Working together, they will get their dues as shall we.

  28. Hello Grousebeater, Ms Wolfson has put the boot into me too. Read this and share my pain. I have had 7 threatening letters in the space of as many days from my union, attacking my freedom of speech. That Wolfson is close to Lansman is the problem; he hates me for this ‎and Wolfson will soon hate me for this The charge sheet from GMB can be seen here .Any assistance you can provide in exposing this woman for her nasty manipulative acts (hiding behind her Jewishness as she calls all who challenge her and Lansman anti-Semites), would be most welcome. The Israeli Embassy is hehind all this (Wolfson is part of the JLM) and this Al Jazeera doc shows how Netanyahu drives this pogrom against socialists supporting Palestine – see it at

  29. Pingback: Grouse Beater - Craig Murray

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