The plethora of hysteria about Momentum over the past week has felt like history repeating. On the left, these issues have had a habit of becoming self fulfilling prophecies. It’s imperative that the same fate does not befoul Momentum. Quite simply, it’s the best hope we have of creating a modern, positive English Left. Having been involved in many political organisations, I can attest that I found none more welcoming than Momentum. Especially on a local level here in Waltham Forest.
For many people Labour died after the Iraq War. For others, it was before that. As someone who grew up in Scotland and saw the disrespect and, at times, utter contempt successive Labour councils displayed towards the Scottish public, I found it very hard to forgive. Jeremy’s campaign gave me the faith to believe again.
This summer, after getting involved locally with Momentum, I met many Labour Party members. Members who shared my goals of supporting state schools and the NHS. Decent humans who wanted to defend our local communities in the war against savage cuts (those same cuts that were supported by a shameful number within the Parliamentary Labour Party). To my surprise, I found myself the only person on the stalls and at local meetings who was a Momentum member but yet not in the Labour Party. Contrary to the media hysteria, the stalls and meetings were not filled with entryists. They were an invigorating mix of Labour members (ranging from six months to forty years), newcomers to politics of all ages and converts like me. I had an epiphany: it was time to join Labour.
For me, local campaigning and organisation is the only way to make a dent in a system whereby we hold very limited power. Whether that be campaigning against local academisation by joining forces with parents, teachers and NUT (like Waltham Forest Momentum) or organising against closures of hospitals, libraries and essential services. If Labour is being impotent on these issues and closing its ears at a Constituency Labour Party level, then it’s up to Momentum to hold them to account and engage locally. If we believe in a fairer society then it starts on our doorstep.
Momentum is not an anti-Labour organisation. It is a positive force within Labour. It has reinvigorated a sloppy and flabby party that has been taking our communities for granted for too long. Long may it continue!