Mark Watts: 'Left-wing cabal has hijacked the NUJ'

One of the candidates in the election for editor of NUJ magazine The Journalist has accused a “political faction” called NUJ Left of trying to hijack the union.

Each of the candidates in the election to edit the Journalist are allowed an email out to union members.

Watts has used his to launch a lengthy diatribe against NUJ Left and against the candidate it has endorsed as Journalist editor, Richard Simcox (who is a member of the group).

NUJ Left says on its website that its aims include: “Identifying and targeting key elected posts and NEC seats, democratically agreeing slates for elections, and campaigning for NUJ Left candidates, to advance our influence and further develop equality representation on policy-making bodies and through other structures of the union.”

Watts says in his email today: “The fact that the group is ‘left-wing’ is irrelevant: a cabal in the NUJ is poisonous regardless of its political hue, extreme or otherwise.

“This is clear evidence that ‘NUJ Left’ is attempting to hijack our union. It is an astonishingly brazen and jackass attempt. In my many years of investigative journalism, I have never known a group of plotters simply to plonk their game-plan onto a website.

“Let’s just say, this ‘NUJ Left’ crowd are not exactly clever. And yet, we’re on the verge of allowing this bunch to take over our union.”

Watts criticises Simcox for not mentioning the fact that he is a member of NUJ Left on his campaign website or in the profile he provided for publication on this website.

Watts quotes Channel 4 news anchor Jon Snow as one of his supporters in his email.

Snow says: “I left the NUJ over the absurd Israel boycott concocted by another union clique.

“I support the Watts campaign. It is time members voted for a truly independent journalists’ union.”

According to Watts, NUJ Left can muster 400 votes, out of the union’s estimated 40,000 members, and he believes that could be enough to swing election to the £51,000 a year position if turnout is low

Richard Simcox told Press Gazette: “I didn’t think it [his membership of NUJ Left} was a secret because if you put my name into Google it comes up on the first page, at about number four on the list.”

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