Category Archives: Momentum
Isn’t the whole Momentum thing interesting? It has almost become a metaphor for change of certain kinds and the word is bandied around only loosely in context, often by people who don’t actually have much of an understanding of politics.
But what is Momentum actually doing?
Well, from an external point of view they are a bunch of left-wing radicals who think the Labour party should be more left-wing radical, and have set about trying to change the Labour party from within to effect that change. They’ve done it by encouraging true believers to join the party, by getting themselves into positions of authority within the Labour party, by talking to others in the Labour party and encouraging them to support their view of things. They believe in the ideological strength of their arguments and think that the Labour party has strayed too far from its roots and needs to get back to its core message. Some of them don’t even recognise the New Labour lot as part of the same movement as them, so great are their differences.
“Moderates” in the Labour party see it differently. They see a bunch of people who would make the Labour party unelectable, who want to tear apart existing structures and remove old players who have been around a long time. Some maintain that they are the wise old heads who should be in charge and not these new whipper-snappers.
Both sides make accusations against the other. With “Moderates” saying that Momentum are bullying them, and Momentum saying those people are simply sore losers in a fair and democratic battle.
Who is right?
Probably none of them. Each is seeing the events from their own lens, and each sees their cause as the heroic one. Because everybody is the hero of their own story. I don’t know where it will all end when the dust settles – and as a lifelong Conservative its really none of my business – but its interesting to watch. And it’s nothing that hasn’t happened on many levels a thousand times before.
Now if Momentum were to “win” and mold the Labour Party in their image, what then? How long would it be before they became the “establishment?” How long before some new group, who thought they were completely off track, came and did precisely the same to them? This is often the cycle of things – with each fresh new event eventually becoming older and more stale and more tired and less hungry – until it eventually crumbles away from sheer entropy.
What is most interesting about this cycle is how quickly the new players forget how they toppled the old and begin to see themselves as the solid establishment which deserve to stay in control forever. How quickly they abandon the positions they took when they came to power. How, in denial, they continue to blame any other bogeyman that allows them to alleviate any sense that they could possibly be the architects of their own problems.
Momentum may win and take control of the Labour party. Or they may not. But whatever the outcome, it will only be the status quo for as long as they new leaders retain their focus, drive and energy. Let it slip, and there’s always some new force eager to step in and relieve them of the burden.
I really don’t care which lot wins, but more popcorn is definitely a requirement for viewing.
The “Ruling” “Elite”
Momentum and Local Labour Party crusader, Sue Marshall, pops up every few days now on social media with some new brand of spin. She is trying, I must admit.
One of her common manipulative phrases is to refer to the Conservatives on Wisbech Town Council as “the ruling Elite.” By which, of course, she means the volunteers on Town Council who were elected by the people of Wisbech. Clearly the term “elite” is meant to portray a view of champagne-swilling, oyster eating, privileged rich individuals who have gained their position through no merit.
This made me smile. As I sit here in my ragged Batman T-Shirt, with my Jack Russell by my side and clutching my can of Diet Coke I mused on the nature of “ruling elites.”
I thought about Rob McLaren. A member of the “ruling elite” who has (until recently) worked in a local factory and who gives £50 from his pocket most years to the best Christmas lights display in Walsoken.
I thought about Garry Tibbs, Mayor of Wisbech and clearly senior member of the “ruling Elite” who also works in a local factory and who took his entire annual holiday leave in occasional days to allow him to fulfill his Mayoral duties.
I considered Viv McRae, a member of the “ruling elite” if ever there was one, who works as a carer for the mentally ill.
I thought about David Oliver, who runs a family photography business from his home, and can usually be seen at the crack of dawn, volunteering to help whenever anything is going on in Town.
Or David’s daughter Jess Oliver, who is a Teaching Assistant at a local school and is a volunteer leader of the Girls Venture Corps.
Then I thought of publican and Eastern European community leader Aigars Balsevics. Real “ruling elite” material right there. I’m sure he feels “elite” with every frothy pint he pulls for a thirsty patron. :)
Perhaps the ruling elite is Samantha Hoy? Who lives in a bourgeois estate frequented only by the rich and the famous. (Copperfields.) No doubt when she’s helping somebody find a place to live, or putting in long hours organising the next Town Festival she is thoroughly enjoying her eliteness.
I certainly hope that Sue Marshall is referring to me. I don’t know what I “rule”, unless its the Kingdom of Litter Picking or the Empire of Speedwatch. And I don’t know in what way I am elite, unless I’m just a really elite eater of Jelly Bellys and crabsticks.
I would encourage anybody who lives in Wisbech to occasionally attend a Wisbech Town Council meeting and see the “ruling elite” at work looking at planning proposals for a garden extension, or considering the budget implications of a new litter bin. It’s an eye-opener. :)
Sue Marshall’s Question
So the Chair of the local Labour Party (I think?) asked me a question on the Wisbech Discussion Forum, on Facebook.
I was surprised. I mean – local political opponents often have debates, and we often write about them (as I do here on this blog) but we don’t usually try and carry them onto a public forum if they are personal rather than policy-based. I don’t know what her goal was, really. My best guess is that she either read or was told about yesterday’s blog post, which referred to the fact that the North-East Cambs Labour party appear to be overrun by Momentum types. But I never referred to her personally in that post (although I have wondered aloud about if she was a Momentum member in Facebook discussions with her in the past.)
I wondered if this was some attempt to “play the victim.” That mean Steve Tierney, suggesting I am something to do with Momentum when I am not! That kind of thing. Well I didn’t mention her, but it would be fair to say that I do personally believe she is a Momentum supporter. She has asked me why, and since she has publicly done so, I feel justified in explaining why I might have drawn that conclusion. A very quick web search, it took me five minutes, produced the following.
Here is Sue Marshall on Facebook, sharing a Momentum link. Now in some cases like this you might think that having a similar view to Momentum on an issue doesn’t necessarily make you a Momentum supporter. But this post isn’t about a generic policy issue – it’s specifically a defence of Momentum as an organisation versus the (excellent) Channel 4 expose from Monday just gone.
Here is Sue Marshall sharing a Jeremy For PM video. Nothing wrong with that, I hear you say. Lots of Labour supporters like Jeremy Corbyn and are not Momentum supports. Fair point. However, a quick look at the Momentum North East Cambs website gives some information on the Jeremy4Leader and Jeremy4PM campaigns. This extract taken directly from the site:
Jeremy Corbyn for Labour Leader has transformed into Momentum – a network of people and organisations that will continue the energy and enthusiasm of Jeremy’s campaign.
Momentum North Cambridgeshire covers areas including Peterborough, Wisbech, March, St Ives, Huntingdon and the rural areas in between.
Here she is sharing a Morning Star article about Corbyn. Not proof of Momentum affiliation, just interesting. Her having previously said she wasn’t “hard left” and it being the Morning Star and all.
Here she is sharing at attack on the non-Momentum wing of the Labour party during their ongoing “civil war.”
This is the Momentum logo stitched to the Corbyn logo. Only the bit on the right was shared by Sue Marshall, but I thought it was an interesting comparison.
Here’s Sue Marshall on Facebook asking Momentum Stevenage for some information to assist Momentum North Cambs. Looks fairly clear at this point, but I guess could still be argued that she was only asking on behalf of somebody else?
Okay, so up until now its quite a lot of clues that Sue Marshall might be a Momentum person. But its not conclusive. If you were going to really stretch the imagination they could all be coincidences rather than actual proof of a connection.
Now there is nothing at all wrong with Sue Marshall being a Momentum activist. What political affiliations people choose is entirely up to them. But Sue Marshall asked me, publicly, to explain why I thought she might be anything to do with Momentum. The suggestion appearing to be that this conclusion was mad, that I was plucking it from thin air without a shred of evidence. I hope that my brief web search has illuminated just why I and others might think Sue Marshall was something to do with Momentum locally.
Sue, if you are reading this, I hope I have adequately answered your question and would like to wish you a very fine day.
Sue Marshall continued to deny her connections to Momentum despite all of this. Quite a few people were telling her “You’ve lost, give it up” and her last attempt was to criticise me because I bothered to answer the question she publicly posed and to suggest I had spent a “long time” looking into her. Um – it was a few minutes. A couple of simple Google searches, Sue. Which was the least I could do when you had demanded an answer of me so publicly. I even asked her to confirm she definitely wanted an answer before I gave it, because I knew it was quite damning. She confirmed she did. Really brought this one entirely on herself.
Anyway, for all of the connections I found, they pale into insignificant before on that turned up later posted by David Gutteridge. Sue Marshall had just denied she was a Momentum member again and he posted this doozy:
That’s Sue Marshall in the red, in the middle. Oops.