The Monday column: When will Momentum strike?

There was a good reason why the Roman Senate forbade the army from entering the city. Armies have a single purpose: to dominate and control. That’s what armies do: They march forward and vanquish enemies. Or there’s not really much point in having one.

From the grand events of antiquity to the humdrum affairs of Labour’s internal politics.

Momentum, Jeremy Corbyn’s Praetorian Guard, was created out of the remarkable insurgency that propelled him to the Labour leadership back in 2015.

It made sense for the Corbnyintes to try and bottle that enthusiasm and organisation, but Momentum was, from the very beginning, created as a standing army outside of the party’s control.

A back-up plan. If Corbyn was usurped by his internal opponents, Momentum could rely on hundreds of thousands of members and graduate into a new left-wing political party.

But June’s general election result has made Corbyn unassailable. His critics have withered. There is no realistic threat to his position, which begs the question: What is Momentum now for? Does it find itself without a purpose, or is it preparing the cross the Rubicon and seize control of Labour’s internal workings?

There have been skirmishes over the past few months, with local branches and constituencies across the country falling under the hard left’s influence. Meanwhile, Momentum’s founder, Jon Lansman, is currently running for a seat on the party’s National Executive Committee.

And while it’s likely that a swathe of moderate councillors will be replaced by Momentum supporters next year, robust local government regulations will prevent the hard left from being able to force through illegal budgets and the like.

But Momentum has bigger ambitions and the mandatory reselection of MPs remains the Holy Grail.

So far, Jeremy Corbyn has been incredibly cautious about triggering a full-on civil war with his MPs over this, but if Theresa May presses ahead with the parliamentary boundary changes for the next election, Labour MPs will, de facto, face mandatory reselection.

Indeed, if she wants to bequeath a once-in-a-generation advantage to her party on the way out of Number Ten, Theresa May will allow the Boundary Commission to proceed with its work of cutting the number of constituencies from 650 to 600.

A full-on offensive to replace moderates with true-believing Corbynites will be too great for Momentum to resist. The resulting schism with the party’s moderate wing will cripple the British centre-left for a generation.

Can Momentum resist the urge to dominate and control?


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10 Responses to “The Monday column: When will Momentum strike?”

  1. Tafia says:

    Momentum won’t strike as such. They will just slowly infect you, paralyse you then devour you. Bit like a plague.

    And you’re already running a high fever.

  2. Alf says:

    Right-wing policies put off the voters (e.g. 2010 and 2015). So, I think the members will choose more socialists to represent them in the future.

  3. Anon says:

    I can never understand this Blairite sense of indignation when organisations like Momentum build up – well, momentum.

    We had 13 years of New Labour imposing upon this country their Regional Assemblies and Regional Development Agencies, filling these quangocracies with placemen/women, and completely overriding the people outside on the street.

    Infiltration into our democratic lives with organisations like Common Purpose is seen as good; supposed infiltration into Labour by Momentum is seen as bad.

    I suspect that the members of Momentum are moved by some sort of social justice sentiment; I only ever saw self-serving, technocratic managerialism when Blair and his cronies were in power.

    Suck it up Labour Uncut – you created this vacuum in our democracy.

  4. John Wall says:

    If you go down to the wards today
    You’re in for a big surprise
    If you go down to the wards today
    You’d better go in disguise

    For every trot there ever was
    Will gather there for certain
    Because today’s the day
    For mandatory reselection

  5. John says:

    Alf they called labour in 2010, Red Ed and the electorate rejected labour being too right wing, by voting for a Party too the right of labour the Tories? what was the cause for labour losing in 2017 being too tight wkng?

    For the record when momentum twig there’s not a radical left Winger working class vote out there, they’ll lose support or run out of spending other people’s money from region, they’ll be screwed , whatever one comes first

  6. Richard MacKinnon says:

    I am not a Labour supporter so no axe to sharpen here.
    Can some one please tell me what is wrong with a consituency party (any party) selecting a new candidate to represent them at an election? Is this not how the British party political system should work?

  7. Anne says:

    I don’t think Mrs May will proceed with boundary changes as she is not in a strong position and she will not want anything to upset the balance in Parliament.
    I did notice that Jon Lansman is standing for the NEC but he will have to take his chance along with other candidates. I will be voting for Eddie Izzard and the doctor who has spoken about the NHS – I have not decided on my third candidate.

  8. paul barker says:

    Labour “Centrists” continue to live in The Past, Momentum have already struck & will continue their advance, slowly. The Left have no need to rush because they already control the Top of The Party & they face no plausible threat.
    The “Centrists” are wasting their own time & everyone elses.

  9. cj says:

    What is Momentum now for? you ask, well to use your own analogy, to stop the other senators knifing Corbyn in the senate.

  10. John P Reid says:

    We (in the labour movement) all criticised Aparthied , most criticised Hussain in the 80’s most were against Iraq,

    Yet momentum are saying Jeremy Corbyn was the only person on the liberal/left for the past 35 years who was critical of Saddam Hussain before the kuwaitv invasion, he was the only one of the left who was against the Iraq war, and was the only one who criticised Aparthied in the 80’s South Africa, from the safety of his back bench safe labour seat,.

    Yet as we don’t get a chance to correct this saying , others like Neil kinnock and most of the left did do this… , the rewriting of history that Corbyn had been at odds with those running the party and has always been proved right in history

    Yet when others who criticised Aparthied had a tough time from the story press were doing this , and the rest of us in Labour Party were actually making people’s lives better by winning seats in marginals and running the country/ councils or the party, Corbyn wasn’t running s locsl ksboyr Party that didn’t get no support from region he wasn’t running a council , the idea he was separate from the rest of labour .on Aparthied, condemning a 1980’s Husssin! is a white wash of history

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