How SOS told The Guardian about a vote that never happened…

On Friday 25 March 2011, the day before the TUC March for the Alternative rally in London, The Guardian newspaper posted online (here) a list of groups going to the rally. Under the sub heading of “Football Supporters”, it stated:

“Members of the football supporters’ union the Spirit of Shankly are travelling by coach from Liverpool. The group, which was formed three years ago and campaigns on football and wider social issues, has 11,000 members. Roy Bentham, 43, said: “There was a vote and our membership decided we should support the TUC and the march, that we should do our bit to oppose what is going on, so we are setting off at 4.30am and hope to be in London by about 10am.”

Roy Bentham is the Spirit of Shankly Committee member for Transport. In terms of the travel arrangements, he is stating what he believes to be so, however it is harder to accept that this also applies to the information about a vote on the issue, when no such vote ever occurred.

This statement follows an email sent in reply, by the committee, to a member, who had enquired of Spirit of Shankly why they were going on this rally, as it was effectively a political rally. The reply stated:

“Spirit of Shankly is a Union and the umbrella body for unions is holding a demonstration that members put forward to us and agreed strongly at the AGM that we should support.”

SOS members, and many Liverpool supporters, may know that voting on issues raised at SOS General Meetings occurs online, and requires a PIN. This enables members to vote whether or not they attend the meetings, and voting only occurs after the meeting: votes did not occur at the AGM.

The 2011 AGM was held on 12 February 2011. The agenda can be found here. There is no mention of attending the TUC rally. The subsequent voting results can be found here. There is still no mention of the TUC rally.

However, the draft minutes notes, under Any Other Business;

“It was suggested that as part of the Union’s Community remit consideration should be give to organising transport to the TUC National Demonstration on the 26th March 2011.”

Community remit? SOS aims include:

  • To create long lasting relationships with all aspects of Liverpool FCs supporting community.
  • To work with any relevant agencies to improve the area of Anfield.
  • To build links with grassroots supporter groups.

I can’t see how attending this rally links in with these.

The meeting closed immediately after this item, at 1.30pm, with members having already left for the home game against Wigan. It is unclear how many would have been left at the end of the meeting to witness this .

Spirit of Shankly record their AGMs and put them up on YouTube. You can find what actually occurred here at, 11:30 into the video. You can see for yourself that, in the 90 or so seconds that it was mentioned, no vote occurred.

How then has Roy Bentham managed to not only tell a national newspaper about a result of a vote that never occurred, but managed to add, “...our membership decided we should support the TUC and the march, that we should do our bit to oppose what is going on.”?

Is Roy Bentham a liar, a fantasist, or so completely incompetent as to not know or understand the actuality of the situation – and in view of the email also sent out from the Committee, is he the only one of such?

The Spirit of Shankly committee circumvented its own democratic procedures and falsely claimed that they had a “yes” vote on something, in order to go and do it, when there had not been a vote at all.

So much for being a democratic membership organisation!

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  • By Lie after lie after lie… « Ajjam is a Red on June 20, 2011 at 12:01 pm

    […] that the truth about the non-existent vote on the TUC Rally is quite well known to LFC fans, via The Liverpool Way forum, as to how Spirit of Shankly went to […]

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