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.