This is the second in a series of blogs examining the hard left groups that are supporting Corbyn and working to take the Labour Party to the left. It is too easy to relax and enjoy the prospect of a permanent Conservative government while Corbyn leads the Labour Party but we need to understand the resurgence of a hard left political class, to recognise some of their movers and shakers and to be aware of their tactics in grasping for power at any price.
The grouping known as Momentum is described by Clive Lewis, a Labour MP and front bench spokesman as “a grassroots network arising out of, and following on from the Jeremy Corbyn for Labour leader campaign”. Lewis goes on to say that Momentum “….. will work with Labour members to transform our Party into a democratic institution worthy of its founders’ original aspirations. A Party with not just the right policies for a General Election but ultimately the collective will to enact them in government. But we also understand politics has changed and is changing. The top-down, command and control, monolithic political structures of yesteryear are fast fading. The political eco-system of today is both vast and diverse. Whilst out Party can play a key leadership role in future political change it must also understand it does not have a monopoly on opposing vested interest.”
Here is a link to their web site but you will not learn much from this beyond getting a flavour of the group’s beliefs. A lot of questions remain unanswered such as:
- who are the leading members of Momentum?
- what are their governance arrangements?
- where does their funding come from?
- What is their relationship with the Labour Party?
- Is it true they are plotting the de-selection of moderate Labour Party MPs?
Who is this Clive Lewis who has stuck his head above the impenetrable Momentum parapet and admitted to his involvement? He is the MP for Norwich South and an Opposition frontbencher. He was born on 11 September 1971, making him 44 years old. He won Norwich South from the Liberals in 2015. Born in London, he grew up on a council estate in Northampton. He read economics at the University of Bradford here he immersed himself in student union activities, ending up as the Vice President of the National Union of Students. He worked for a time as a journalist with the BBC before serving as an infantry officer in the Territorial Army, including a three month tour of duty in Afghanistan. Like Comrade Corbyn, Lewis has not been afraid to go against Labour Party policy, particularly on nuclear weapons, tuition fees and immigration where he has prided himself on being a “proud socialist”. He was one of 36 MPs to nominate Corbyn and remains a strong supporter of him. He is currently shadow energy minister.
If this gives you a taste of Momentum’s style and ambition, it is all I can do until they come clean with more information on their long term aims and ambitions. If you have the stomach for some pretty hard left stuff, here is their web link: http://www.peoplesmomentum.com