Momentum Watch

From the Huffington Post, 9 2 18. report Paul Waugh


Momentum ‘Slate’ For Labour’s NEC Axes Veteran Ann Black

“The grassroots group Momentum is set to extend it influence within Labour with a ‘new generation’ of candidates for the party’s NEC, HuffPost has learned. Ahead of a fresh election for the ruling body this summer, the organisation has finalised its ‘slate’ for the nine constituency party places* on the NEC with some key changes in personnel.

“Momentum has withdrawn its backing for veteran activist Ann Black in protest at her vote to exclude 125,000 new members from Jeremy Corbyn’s second leadership election in 2016. But Black, who was replaced as head of the party’s main disciplinary panel last month, has told HuffPost she wants to remain on the 39 strong ruling body….

” Another key omission from the ‘slate’ is Christine Shawcroft, a controversial leftwinger who  replaced Black only last month as chair of the NEC Disputes Sub Committee… She told HuffPost “I’ve done it for 19 years and I think we need to ‘open up’ the NEC to new people…

 “…According to a Labour source Rhea Wolfson has also decided not to stand for election again. Momentum swept the board in elections last month for three new local members, easily defeating ‘centrist’ candidates that included comedian Eddie Izzard..

” …The new Momentum list, which followed invites for applications from its 36,000 members, …. includes new candidates Huda Elmi, Nav Mishra and Anne Henderson. Existing NEC members Claudia Webbe, Jon Lansman, Rachel Graham, Yasmine Dar, Pete Willsman and Darren Williams are also on the slate.

“…Momentum’s fellow leftwing groups, the Campaign for Labour Party Democracy (CLPD) and Centre

Left Grassroots Alliance (CLGA) are yet to decide their own slate. But given Momentum’s dominance, particularly in mobilising its huge numbers** in online elections, it looks likely to get its candidates in place.”

*the extra three places were agreed by the 2017 conference and elections were held at the end of 2017, results announced January 2018. Why when the party is short of money these three places have to be re-balloted is a puzzle. TF

** The numbers are bigger than other factions but given the LP has 560,000 members they have far less than 10%. Momentum’s asset is the poor organisational state of other groupings, TF

Scotland Watch … SNP Revival?

New Statesman, Chris Deerline, 19th November 2017

“Richard Leonard (new Scots Leader TF)… ran on a Corbynite prospectus that comfortably saw off his centre-left challenger Anas Sarwar… Its still not clear where Scottish Labour stands on the EU or or the Union…. Perhaps Corbyn’s relative success in June’s General Election made this inevitable… Little wonder his campaign was supported by Momentum and its Scottish sister the Campaign for Socialism….  Leonard was backed by 51.8% of the 17,664 individual members who voted in the contest, compared to 48.2% who supported Sarwar. Among the unions – the affiliated supporters section – Leonard secured 77.3% of the 4,242 votes cast, while Sarwar got 22.7%. Sarwar edged the ‘registered supporters’ section with 51.9%, while Leonard got 48.1%!


Labour List 1st February 2018


“Richard Leonard suffered a disappointment today when new polling showed Scottish Labour slipping back in the race against the SNP. A Survation survey showed Labour 12 points behind when people in Scottish constituencies were asked about their  Westminster voting intention. The results showed Labour dipping 2 points to 27% and Nicola Sturgeon’s party rising by the same margin…. Leonard was widely seen as having the backing of Jeremy Corbyn’s office…..

….”If the Survation poll is correct it would mean the SNP winning back 9 of the 21 seats they lost in last year’s general election… The Tories were trailing in third place (24%) and the Lib Dems showed no sign of a recovery (7%).”


Triumphalism Watch

Prospects 2 – Compass think tank #91 October 2017 With Victory In Sight, Can The British Left Gain Hegemony Anthony Barnett “if for the next five years things remain the current unhappy cabinet … (sic) … the country will be Labour’s…. If things stay as they are, all Labour needs to do is hold its breath, as the government disintegrate….  for the present government is unelectable and Downing Street is certain to become the address of the current leaders of the Labour Party…”

Prospects 1 – Glastonbury 2017 – Corbyn; I Will Be Pm In Six Months Metro 26 6 17 – Observer 25 6 17 – “According to the newsite Somerset Live Michael Eavis* told the audience at a Q&A session:  “Wasn’t (Corbyn) fantastic? I said to him ‘When are you going to be Prime Minister?'” Corbyn had responded ‘in six months'” ….

Internal issues 

Labour List 24th January Momentum Will Not Push For Deselection Of Corbysceptic Mps Insists Chairman “Jon Lansman said the Corbynista group would not try to oust backbenchers who have been critical of Jeremy Corbyn….”Momentum nationally is not going to campaign to deselect any MP and we will stick by that”, he told the Independent. 

Labour List 23rd January 2017 – Mcdonnell And Corbyn’s Enforcer Aim To Kill Off Rumours Of Backbench Deselections  “…Nick Brown, chief whip, rebuffed reports that left wing activists were planning to try to oust dozens of MPs… Brown’s intervention …. came after John McDonnell told a regional daily paper “No one is in a deselection in the Labour Party. People have come together after a fantastic election result”, McDonnell told the Liverpool Echo.

Guardian 16th January 2017 – EDDIE IZZARD SAYS LABOUR INFIGHTING MUST END. “I would urge the NEC and Jeremy and the Labour Party to keep an eye on the prize, the election, lets win it”… he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme….. Izzard’s comments followed an interview earlier on the programme with Paul Mason… who has been a strong supporter of mandatory reselection of MPs, but did not know if the Labour leader shared that view.”


NEC Goes With The Flow

Any doubt that New Labour shot itself in the foot by putting Jeremy Corbyn on the ballot paper in 2015 goes to the wall with the NEC nominations for January 2018. THree extra places are up for grabs and in the absence of a regional element there is no doubt Momentum will clean up. The three candidates supported by Momentum and the CLGA (Centre Left Grassroots Alliance) easily outnumber the other 6 candidates in constituency nominations. The figures are:

Yasmine Dar                205

Rachel Garnham          187

Jon Lansman                181


best of the rest are

Johanna Baxter              87

Eddie Izzard                  71

Gurdiner Singh Josan     55


With Nick Donovan (8), Nicola Morrison (7)  and Sarah Taylor (11)  making up the list. There is no sign of any substantial right wing presence and the collapse of a once formidable political formation is confirmed. With the non Momentum people all standing as independents, the question for 2018 has to be whether there is any route back for the non-Corbynistas in the Labour Party? And where is the Centre Left of the CLGA, which as those of us who set it up can testify, was once a balanced platform against a dominant New Labour Machine which chose, over more than a decade, to commit political suicide.

Trevor Fisher 

December 107


Without Comment — June 4th — Whatever Happened to Brexit?

Jackie Lukes has already raised her concerns about the absence of Brexit from Jeremy Corbyn’s speeches — An Election Rally in Hull 22 May 2017.  The issue now seems to be worrying seasoned political journalists from across the spectrum.

Here is Matthew Paris writing in The Times (3rd June, 2017)

“On the one thing they actually said they had called the election to settle, silence. Silence too from the Labour Party. And silence from much of the press. … Many of those who cried ‘stay’ are disheartened and many of those why cried ‘leave’ are scared. A third group, however, are key to the silence. There is a tendency to plough on with a bad decision simply because it has already been made…. Only a fifth of British voters now say they’d like to see the referendum result overturned, although about half still think the referendum gave the wrong answer….

…..”I’m one of the 21% of the electorate who still think Brexit is a mistake…. who still cannot see why if something is going wrong you should necessarily proceed….it is possible for the electorate to get something wrong… we can think again… a few millon of us now… will not despair of stopping what May and Corbyn both call unstoppable…..”

Without Comment: 30th March 2017

NEC Reports – CLGA Reps

When the Centre Left Grassroots Alliance was set up nearly 20 years ago, one of the informal agreements was that elected representatives would write reports on NEC meetings. Ann Black and Peter Willsman have done so with admirable clarity.

The following are from the March reports- Pete’s can be found in full on the Left Futures site.

Ann Black- (extract)

“Membership stood at 483,000 paying members, with another 40,000 up to 6 months in arrears. The decline seemed to be partly last summer’s joiners dropping out and partly Brexit- related. ..on the bright side, I finally managed to get more money returned to constituencies, up from £1.63p to £2.50 per member… to be implemented ‘as soon as possible’. The value of items paid centrally – election insurance, the Euro-levy, contact creator and a conference pass – had rised from £1.219p to £1.495p, and if membership fell below 300,000 the position would have to be reviewed.”

Pete Willsman (extract)

“Jeremy paid tribute to the unremitting and dedicated commitment of our two campaign teams for the Copeland and Stoke Central by elections. Both teams gave their all and their campaigns could not have done more. The reponse in Copeland was, of course, very disappointing, but our victory in Stoke was very inspiring. The many flaws of the UKIP leader were ruthlessly exposed…

“Copeland and Stoke Central by elections. A detailed breakdown of both by-elections was circulated. This contained voting patters in each of the wards, and also voting figures back to 1983… because Nuttall (UKIP candidate ed) was so discredited, a number of UKIP voters went to the Tories. Without Nuttall, UKIP would probably have done better in Stoke, but our Pinocchio leaflet featuring Nuttall did the business.

“Share of individual membership subs to be allocated to CLPs. Thanks to an unremitting campaign by my CLP’s Secretary (Ann Black), the General Secretary announced that no less than £2.50 per member will be allocated to CLPs. This may need to be reviewed if our party’s membership ever falls below 250,00.”

Without Comment — 14 March

March Party Survey


6th March – from UK Polling data.

The data published by YouGov indicate that most party members believe Corbyn is doing well. In May 2016 the figure rose to a high of 72% and this fell to 51% rising to 55% in July 2016. The current figures are 51% of paid up Labour members thinking he is doing well, 47% doing badly. A substantial proportion of members joined after the EU referendum, in which Corbyn led a pro-EU campaign, but from the headline figure it is not clear what the proportion is.

On whether he should fight the next General Election, 47% thought he should last August but this is down a little to 44% – not statistically significant.

As with other parties, the leader is given a protected view of the world by his party supporters, something that last happened when Ian Duncan Smith was Tory leader and may now be happening in the Lib Dems to Tim Fallon – and even Nick Clegg who has apparently been forgiven the 2015 election disaster.

On the loss in Copeland, while 85% of Owen Smith supporters thought Corbyn was responsible for the loss, but among his supporters anything but Corbyn was seen as responsible – only 14% of his supporters thought Corbyn was to blame, 46|% blamed the media and Tony Blair’s speech was blamed by 35%

Scots Voting Intentions

UK Polling published in the first week of March the current poll data for the local government elections in Scotland in May, which gives topline figures of SNP – 46%, Tory 19%, Labour 17%, Green 8%, Lib Dems 6%

Times 21 02 17 Scottish section

Susan Aitken, leader of the opposition at Glasgow City Council, has called for a review of the local authorities conduct. Brian Devlin resigned from his £120,000 a year position as the council’s executive director of land and environmental services.

A ‘truth and reconciliation’ investigation will be established in Scotland’s largest local authority if Labour loses power in May. Opposition parties have called for an independent inquiry into claims of ‘institutional misconduct’ within Glasgow City Council.

Labour has held control of the city for almost 40 years, but polls suggest it is likely to be ousted by nationalists in the forthcoming elections. The SNP’s call for an external inquiry – amid claims of a culture of cronyism, backroom deals and malpractice – has been backed by the Conservatives, Greens and Liberal Democrats.

Labour has described it as a ‘populist’ pre-election stunt.

Without Comment

Corbyn — Working with the Tories proposed

Daily Telegraph 22nd February 2017

“Labour are drawing up plans to work with Theresa May over Brexit, according to reports. Jeremy Corbyn’s most senior aide has urged the leadership to take a ‘constructive approach’ that will risk the party ‘getting our hands dirty’ by not voting against the government, a leaked memo has revealed. 

“The email was sent to Seamus Milne, the leadership’s head of strategy and communications, by the former Labour Chief Whip Rosie Winterton. The memo, which admits that Labour is not currently ‘facing up to what the detailed agreements should look like’ after Brexit, followed a meeting of Mr Corbyn’s top team on Monday night (20th February, TF).

“It warns that Labour ‘will have to acknowledge that immigration has caused friction in some areas’ and must not be ‘simply be seen to be opposing everything that the government does’. The Email obtained by the Sun states that Labour must instead ’emphasis our constructive approach’ that would ‘show leadership’.

Cyber Wars

From Left Futures

Bazza on February 26th at 2.19

“Just before the last General Election, I and others were posting pro-Labour messages on the BBC Website but an unusual pattern was beginning to emerge. After each Labour comment half a dozen pro-Tory comments would instantly appear,

“Nothing perhaps unusual about this but the anonymous monikers were not the usual social media types but were by ‘Bill’ or ‘George’ or ‘Fred’ etc, and I was suspicious…. It was only on the Saturday after the election … that there was an article by a US Democrat social media guru (US Democrat??? TF) who told us he had been paid 200k or so by the Tories to help them be posting fake comments…

“Then today (26 2 17) the Observer reports on the US billionaire funding ‘Cognitive Warfare’ on the internet – it is claimed a company called ‘Cambridge Analytical’ helped the Leave campaign for free. What they do is check the public’s Facebook pages and make individualised appeals to voters pushing the right emotional buttons so the question is are the Tories doing this…..”

February 20th 2017

From Left Futures

15th February 12 04 – Bill “My main concern is to keep the 300,000 [new members — Ed] together as a political force.. This might not be possible as some joined to fight a campaign to remain in the EU…”

15th February 2.76 – Rob Green “It is highly unlikely that Labour can win in 2020 unless it goes full socialist. In fact it is likely to be down to 40-50 M Ps but the good news is that those M Ps should be of the left persuasion and that will end the right’s sabotage via its dominance of the PLP. WE can rebuild from there if the party then adopts socialism as its political outlook”.

15th February 7 15. “I think it might be that bad, but sadly it is possible this may well be the case.”


Labour Left Wins Scottish NEC Elections

6th February

“The Labour Left in Scotland have won five of the eight places on the Scottish Executive Committee…. Campaign for Socialism is an autonomous left faction formed in 1994, originally to defend Clause 4. It holds the Momentum franchise in Scotland, branding itself as “Campaign for Socialism”…. its candidates are strongly pro-Corbyn…. The results are doubly significant because they represent a defeat for Kezia Dugdale, whose stranglehold on the SEC is now much weaker….”

[Note: Labour is now down to below 20% in the latest opinion polls in a country splitting between pro-and anti – union. On this issue Jeremy Corbybn has yet to make his views known — Ed.]

From Left Futures Left maintains stronghold: A report from the Scottish Young Labour Conference. 


February 17th

Scottish Labour Young Socialists (SLYS) Won the full executive committee slate at Scottish Young Labour conference this month

“…. the one thing we can never be accused of is a lack of optomism for the future…we voted for mandatory re-selection, to ensure that the representatives of our movement are just that, people trusted and chosen by our membership, the heart of the party…”

[Note: Mandatory reselection was pushed forty years ago by the old Bennite wing which these YS are too young to remember. It failed to win any elections for Labour. The problem for Labour in all parts of the UK is that we do not have enough representative. The Scottish youth are repeating the mistakes of the past and the poll ratings of 1983 should be sobering, as the Corbyn leadership are taking Labour back into the doldrums the old Bennites took the party to in the early eighties. Ed.]



January 15th


Jamie Reed MP (for the moment) Guardian December 21st 2016

“Currently any single issue and every single policy area in Westminster is tangled up in Brexit. All roads lead to Brexit. The truth is that for many communities… there are issues which need to be sorted out and resolved before Brexit can be resolved. We can’t wait for ever to get where we want to be …”


Independent Letters

“I couldn’t disagree more with Nigel Morris (5th Jan). The Blairite who held the seat, Jamie Reed, walked out for a big money job, voted Remain while most of his constituents voted Leave, and consistently slated his twice elected leader. Reed is no loss. Even if Labour loses the seat, Jeremy is going nowhere”. Steven McNamara Middlesborough.


Labour Uncut

O ye of little faith! Jeremy is going to be the next Prime Minister. Anyone who thinks differently is a Tory.Forlornehope.


The Big Picture

Woody Harrelson in the Guardian

“Of course we live in a completely corrupted world where every government is just a bunch of businessmen working for a bunch of bigger businessmen and not one of them gives a shit about the people. The sad fact is that no-one knows how to change it because no one knows how to take on the corporations. So I guess we’re stuck with this system till the oil runs out”.

From Speak for England – Martin Pugh, Vintage  2011.

“The party’s perenniel problems with leadership have been a significant impediment to its success. Basically the party tends to pick the wrong leaders, and in complete contrast to the Conservative Party, tends to retain them well past their sell by date”.



“We tend to forget that local government is also a cornerstone of freedom, as every dictator realises when, on getting into power, he (sic) abolishes it. Napoleon in France, Mussolini in Italy, Hitler in Germany”.. Henry Morris in 1943, quoted Harry Ree (Ed) The Henry Morris Collection, 1984

The Watson Factor

Len McLuskey – Metro 29 9 16

“The General Secretary of Unite, Labour’s biggest donor, said Tom Watson’s speech on Tuesday, which praised Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, was ‘the politics of yesteryear… I don’t think he has much to offer. He had a great  opportunity yesterday to reach out and he didn’t even mention Jeremy once.”

Watson re Corbyn

Wolverhampton Express and Star 4th January 2017

“Tom Watson’s comment that he is not consulted by Jeremy Corbyn on party strategy should set alarm bells ringing among Labour Supporters….The Deputy leader has a wealth of experience for his boss to draw on, and you would expect under normal circumstances that his input would be considered vital. However these are not normal times as far as the Labour Party is concerned ….Mr Corbyn was comfortably re-elected as leader, albeit against extremely weak opposition in the shape of Owen Smith. ..His decision to sideline his deputy points to a future for a Labour Party that remains anything but united.”