The Rubbish Reasons and the Falsehoods About SOS and the TUC Rally

The rotten reasons and falsehoods supplied by SOS to explain why they are going to the TUC Rally for the Alternative, and why they organised alternative transport to that available.

The following was originally posted on a blog on “The Kop”, which has since been removed following complaints by SOS members. This is despite it being there for about six weeks, SOS members had responded to it, and it had been quiet for the last couple of them, and that the SOS complaints were actually about a separate blog.

The blog began:

“I just found out something I am not happy about and I thought I would bring it to your attention.

Spirit Of Shankly will be running coach travel for the forthcoming demonstration in London by the TUC, March for The Alternative. The demonstration will take place on Saturday 26th March 2011…

Excuse me, but what has this got to do with football, let alone Liverpool Football Club?

The nature of the cuts means the city of Liverpool will be badly affected, as will those living and working within the Anfield/Breckfield community.

Well then the people of Anfield/Breckfield can arrange their own transport to London – or get the TUC member unions to arrange it.

It seems to me that this is an abuse of SOS members and their funds. Spirit of Shankly is a Supporters’ Union, not a transport agency for political activists. It should remain as non-political as possible and act only in relation to matters concerning LFC supporters. So what if some happen to want to go to London for the day? I really am not interested in subsidising such activity by SOS.

The SOS pledge to “work with any relevant agencies to improve the area of Anfield”, does not give it carte blanche to do anything it likes supposedly on behalf of people who happen to live in the area.

IMO SOS needs reeling on this. This simply is not a fight SOS should be involved with.


Following a number of comments, and correspondence between the blogger and SOS, the blogger posted the following, a few days before the TUC rally.

“SOS has now responded to member correspondence on the issue of the TUC march, as well as the banner for Japan.

It seems that SOS thought that they had responded already – via this anonymous blog!

Oh dear…so apart from thinking that it is ok to respond to their own members correspondence this way, it seems that their arguments have all already been made! Oh dear, again!

But that said, they had not responded at all about the subsequent issue for the banner for Japan, which had been brought to their attention prior to the Braga game, but not responded to until after The Sunderland game, when the opportunity for them do something had, no doubt happily, gone by…

Also, it seems that there are a few more titbits coming out of the new correspondence that are very telling.

“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.”

Huh? So according to SOS, the TUC – the Trades Union Congress – is the umbrella organisation for all unions – whether they be supporters’ unions, credit unions, mothers’ unions…so therefore that means SOS can get involved! Yeah, right.

Does this then mean that SOS is a paid up and affiliated member of the TUC?”

[Inserted Note – according to the 2010 End of Year accounts, Spirit of Shankly paid subscription fees of £55. The previous year it paid subscription fees of £1,105]

“As for stating that members “agreed strongly” at the AGM to do this, is first of all entirely disingenuous to what occurred – the fact that there was no vote on the matter, no motion put or discussed, and that SOS apparently regard no discernible dissent to an idea as meaning it was “agreed strongly” by those present, speaks volumes about those running SOS. There was no discussion about SOS representing themselves at the rally, either.

“the voluntary sector in Liverpool is being decimated by the cuts already taking place.”

That’s a new one – so much for having answered already. But then, there is no evidence of this supplied of how this affects SOS or its members. Indeed, it makes little sense, when unemployment is rising, so there are more people with time on their hands – and as for support services, surely the £10 UK/ROI members pay and the £15 paid by members outside UK/ROI covers the running costs – so again, what has this got to do with SOS or its members?

“We are also dedicated and an integral part of the Football Quarter planned development, which is dependent upon public sector input which will not be forthcoming as a result of the cuts.”

Another new one. These reasons not previously given are coming thick and fast now, aren’t they?

Public sector input? I really don’t think you can cut, let alone stop, public sector input.

This Football Quarter project, whilst an admirable idea, is as tied-up with regeneration as everything else is in the area. It isn’t likely to happen at all until the stadium issue is sorted out – after all, where is it going to go? The stadium is the stumbling block to regeneration in the area. This is just another crap excuse for going to shout at the Government.

“As has been said we are all volunteers and the main resource is just the time of those stewarding the coach on the day. Otherwise there is no financial subsidy for this as it is funded by those paying to use the coach. We have also approached the TUC to see if there was any way they could provide and subsidy towards the coach, we are awaiting a response, any subsidy received would be passed on to people travelling on the day…[to] ensure that people have as many options as possible available if they wish to attend, many of the TUC provided travel is already fully booked, with many of the spaces being taken up by Union reps rather than actual members. .. The TUC travel is free, on a first come first served basis, with limited places, many of which have been taken up by Union reps and officials rather than members. We are running the travel at cost price, the cost of hiring the coach will be divided by however many people travel, minus any subsidy we may receive from the TUC.”

Seems our reply has been made by someone who knows what is going on with TUC transport – or do they?

Checks have been made with the Liverpool TUC today, who confirm that they have been ordering coaches as required since this was announced, weeks ago, based on demand, and that there are still coach seats available on their sixth coach. So all this talk about union officials having seats that members can’t get is all complete and utter crap. As for being free, I don’t know where that is coming from – perhaps there is yet another alternative where that is the case – but seeing as this Local TUC one – costing £20 waged; £10 unwaged – is the one previously mentioned in this blog, they still seem to be wasting their own time at least arranging this transport at a greater cost than anyone has to incur – not to mention having to leave Liverpool at 4am, as opposed to 6.30am.

An alternative option? That is the most you can call it – but I wonder if SOS has been pointing out to people the alternative? With why they are marching, what an irony it would be, if they have not.

Best of all though;

Liverpool FC does not exsist (sic) in a bubble, detached from the rest of the world and current events…

Apparently this is the generic excuse used to justify their involvement with a TUC march, whilst at the same time ignoring members online and enquiries about arranging a banner for Japan, at least until after the Sunderland game, when up sprang a reply, saying that,

“While at the [Sunderland v Liverpool] match today, I along with everyone in the stadium took part in a minutes silence in remeberance (sic) of those affected by the disaster, I am sure this was the same in every ground this weekend. I believe this is a fitting tribute to pay our respects to those affected, and much more symbolic than a banner.”

Well, SOS person, I really don’t think your opinion should be the determining factor. especially seeing as you clearly have not been paying much attention in this last week to your fellow supporters.

As has already been stated in response to this person, we have fans in Japan that others do not necessarily have. Making the same level of “gesture” as everyone else in the EPL is really not fitting; that the Japanese fans were involved, and what had been organised at the Braga game could have been so much more, and along the lines suggested by members of RAWK, if SOS had utilised just a little bit of supporters funding – or possibly just some time.

But apparently our committee members determine what is appropriate and “symbolic”, when they clearly have had no contact with anyone from Japan, and evidently had no clue what ordinary supporters were calling for – yet they are more than happy to wave the SOS banner at a TUC rally for something that they cannot even produce anything but the most tenuous of reasons for being involved with.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t think these people at SOS have a very big bubble…I don’t think their’s extends beyond Merseyside…”

A previous comment on the blog, made some days earlier to the above:

“Having questioned why SOS has involved themselves in this matter, when it has no obvious link to the football club or to its supporters, the responses here have been vague and unconvincing, and some questions remain unanswered.

The assert that there is no political affiliation. Whilst this is good to hear, this assertion is made on the basis that they are not (openly) supporting any political party – they are however going to London to oppose some. Hmmm…

What costs and resources have been used aside from the time and use of SOS web resources? A claim that the cost to those travelling will cover the costs incurred does not fully answer this question. What other facilities were used? What are the costs? How many need to go in order to break even? Presumably a fee has been paid up-front?

If these people have reasonably ensured that SOS has not incurred any costs in arranging this travel for “like-minded people”, does that not in itself speak to the fact that this cause is nothing to do with SOS? If it is genuinely to do with SOS, who would mind? Their own actions betray them. They apparently don’t believe that SOS should incur the costs involved, yet also believe that they can go as SOS representatives – but let’s see a full and official response to the questions over costs before accepting that these individuals are actually bearing the full cost of this trip.

Who is responsible for making these arrangements? Who gave the OK?

Why bother at all, when the local TUC has arranged cheaper and more convenient transport than SOS has? This is a TUC rally – did whoever at SOS who wants to go not even check what the local TUC were arranging?

Why is it so important for some people within SOS to involve SOS in this, and to arrange their own separate transport, when there is other such available? I really don’t buy this, ‘it affects the people around the ground and people visiting Anfield’, line as at all genuine. It is so tenuous, it is almost absurd.

There is a total lack of any clear or obvious or even direct link to Liverpool, let alone Anfield, so there is a complete lack of connection to the SOS Aim of to “work with any relevant agencies to improve the area of Anfield”.

Ah – what about:

“Anfield is one of the most deprived constituencies in the country and will be hit hard with the likes of the Housing Market Renewal Scheme being scrapped. This affects residents and the community, but also supporters and their experience when visiting the club particularly on a non match day.”

The Housing Market Renewal Scheme? Is that the best they can come up with? This scheme is not specific to Liverpool, let alone to Anfield.

So, some SOS activists want SOS to join a TUC rally on the basis that a Government scheme, that could have conceivably helped the area, is being cut – but when there is no evidence of it having done anything, and when the regeneration of Anfield is hamstrung anyway until the new stadium/redevelopment of Anfield stadium is sorted out – so what difference does it make? None.

The subsequent silence on the issue from SOS, speaks for itself.

This is all a steaming, smelly pile of brown stuff. These activists do not have any reasonable justification for involving SOS in this march. They are just coming up with excuses to justify their involving our supporters’ organisation with something that it simply should not be involved with.

These people who want to go on the march, can go. They can represent themselves, but they do not need our SOS flag to do so.

Involving SOS in a political rally on such spurious grounds is simply not acceptable. You have to wonder, what will be next?

This is truly typical of some individuals who have their own political agenda – to subvert organisations that they are involved with in order to make them political, to further their own political aims and beliefs, and will at some point no doubt, start to use up members funds in doing so. They will slowly screw the membership of its funds.

SOS is a football supporters representative body: it is not a representative body for the community that lives around the stadium. Indeed, its funding is from supporters world-wide.

It has nothing to do with politics outside of how the law and policing affects supporters attending a football match.

If SOS activists and committee members continue to ignore the concerns raised here and take the SOS banner and act as SOS representatives at a rally, which has no connection to SOS or its aims, and which is for nothing more than to shout at the Government, then I call on SOS members to vote with their feet and their wallets, and stop funding them.”

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