Seasonal Message from MU Gen Sec Candidate – Stephen Brown


First of all, it’s an important time of year for reflection, helping our fellow citizens, and positivity – so please find my Christmas message on YouTube: 

I hope you enjoy it!

Talking of reflection, I’ve been thinking about how my non music and non trade union activities affect my candidacy and what ‘value added’ it can bring to the role of General Secretary. Primarily, because my outside activism is about helping my fellow citizens and trying to spread a bit of positivity and do some good stuff in sometimes very difficult situations. 

In this, I have to say, for me at least, I believe the things we do to help others which we personally do not benefit from either financially or in our career, are important indicators of our character. It defines who we are as a person, and whether we are someone who can stand up and be counted when things get tough and we may need to go against the grain. 

I’ve certainly been prepared to go against the orthodox thinking at times, and got into real bother for that, but at times I’ve also been proven correct to have done so. Ultimately, I think it does therefore influence our approach to our paid work. Our core values do really matter when we are a trade unionist trying to improve the working lives of our members.

Indeed, in writing an email to the Midlands members that I know, and about my candidacy, I reflected upon it.

The following is therefore a snapshot taken largely from that email…..

I am a trade unionist because I believe in building a better world for working people. I cut my teeth in trade unionism as an unpaid activist because I wanted to build a better workplace for my colleagues. I am a community activist because I believe in building a better world for our society. 

So, for me, it is never just about the money, or getting paid to do a job, or simply enhancing my own career, or meeting the job specification – I go above and beyond these narrow definitions. I do things because I believe in them. Because I believe they are the right thing to do. That’s why I fight for social justice, worker justice, climate justice, and equality. 

Without all of these 4 things there is no justice for any of us in anything. They are inseparable. We can’t improve our working conditions or wider society unless we have a core philosophy about the kind of world we want to see. And that includes for the MU and our members. The General Secretary plays a vital role in this. The General Secretary should be the anchor upon which these core values radiate out from.

I have fought to help local people in difficulty, to protect local services, the NHS, venues, our environment, and the most vulnerable in our society. I co-founded and chair a respected Birmingham legal and employment rights charity in my own time. It helps the most vulnerable workers achieve justice and I do it because I believe in it. Yes, it can be tough at times, but nothing worth doing is usually easy is it.

All of this has helped me see outside of the box and hone my skills as a focused operator and campaigner. It shows I have “the fire in my belly” as one kind member commented to me recently. 

This is the value added quality that I will bring to the role of MU General Secretary, and I hope you will support me in this endeavour. In this, I aim to bring our members, our movement, and our ambition for improvements to our working conditions together – by acting as the unifying candidate.

I want to emphasise again therefore that you, our members, are THE most important asset we have, and by working together we can and will bring about positive change. My key message ‘Your issues are my issues’ is all about this concept. What’s more, we should ‘dare for  better’ as a union because we can and will be greater than the sum of our parts if we apply ourselves to it.

The first milestone in me seeking election is the Midlands Region General Secretary Nomination Meeting now due to take place online at 1:30pm on January 27th for Midlands MU members – so I hope you can make it and vote to endorse my nomination to get me on the ballot paper. You should receive official notification about this from the MU and how you can register to attend.

The other regional General Secretary nomination meetings are equally important because at these meetings you will get to hear and question the other candidates, and compare them. I hope you will see me at all of them, but unless I secure a nomination from 2 members in each region to be at those meetings, it may not be possible. So, if you wish to nominate me please get in touch, I’d welcome it. 

Whichever candidate you choose however, I wish them well, because I want the best for our union and for us to thrive. I’m not interested in petty battles or infighting when there is so much more at stake here. Sometimes, humility is our greatest gift, it helps us think more of others and less of ourselves.

Meanwhile, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year – I look forward to seeing you in 2022.
Stephen BrownCandidate MU Gen Sec Election 2022Sent from my iPhone

Published by MU Members for Change

MU Members For Change is a broad and diverse coalition of members within the Musicians’ Union. It exists to facilitate communication between members; to aid the delivery of member voice to the Executive Committee; and to promote democracy within the Musicians’ Union. Enquiries should be sent to:

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