Lansman’s council bid loses Momentum

In February Mr S reported that onetime Labour power broker Jon Lansman was set to stand for Cornwall County Council in May’s local elections. Lansman, the founder of leftwing campaign group Momentum, left his party’s national executive committee in December, swearing that ‘My legacy isn’t complete’ with an afterlife in the politics of potholes appearing to be a fitting end to 40 years of leftwing activism. But now the onetime Bennite’s bid for power appears to have collapsed after Lansman was left off the list of nominated candidates for the Mousehole, Newlyn and St Buryan electoral district. Residents there now only have three candidates to choose from – William Bolitho of the Conservatives, Ian Flindall for the Greens and

Caroline Flint could have beaten Boris

There were not many moments of gloom on election night. I spent most of it, so far as I can recall, in a state of inebriated euphoric gloating — enhanced by the fact that I had hitherto been extremely worried about the outcome. Winning goals are always the most enjoyable when scored, unexpectedly, in injury time. In this case, the exit poll at ten o’clock, a little later confirmed by the equivalent of VAR, Blyth Valley going blue. And then Stockton South — even the local Tories, whom I know well, had not expected to win. From then on it was a mirth fest, reaching its apogee when the fabulously

Momentum’s plan to get the student vote out

Thinking of digging deep for a good cause? Mr S is a big fan of giving his hard-earned cash to those in need but he won’t be coughing up for the latest organisation to ask for money. Leftist pro-Corbyn fan group Momentum has just emailed to warn that ‘in the coming weeks, we’re going to be flooding marginal constituencies with big student populations with flyers, posters and stickers’. Mr S has got his recycling box ready. Momentum is also asking for cash to help out with this latest mission. ‘We need money’, the organisation says. Pleading for donations of £10, Momentum claim they will reach 3,000 university voters in marginal seats

The myth behind Corbyn’s plan to transform Britain

This week, The Sun instructed Remain Conservative MPs to unite behind Boris Johnson or see Jeremy Corbyn’s desire to ‘turn Britain into an experiment in 21st century Marxism’ become reality. It need not have bothered: the threat of a ‘Marxist’ Corbyn government is one of the few things about which all Conservatives agree. But what kind of a threat does Corbyn really pose? Keen supporters of the Labour leader speak of their hopes for a ‘transformative’ Corbyn-led government, one that will eventually lead to socialism. This government will permanently change Britain because, they say, it will disperse power to the people. Under John McDonnell’s plans, industries will be renationalised but run


Momentum’s NEC candidates: a beginner’s guide

Labour’s latest anti-Semitism row has gone from awful to even worse thanks to a recording leaking in which veteran left-winger and NEC member Peter Willsman dismisses some of Corbyn’s critics in the Jewish community as ‘Trump fanatics’, suggests critics could ‘falsify social media’ and questions whether his colleagues had actually seen anti-Semitism in the party. While Labour grandees and young Corbynista pundits have been quick to condemn the comments, a number of Corbyn allies are staying schtum. The problem is that with fresh elections underway as of last week to decide who will be elevated to Labour’s governing body, the National Executive Committee (NEC), this comes at a bad time for the

Momentum’s shameful refusal to condemn Venezuela’s Maduro

When young Venezuelan revolutionary Juan Guaido won the backing of Western leaders back in January, the political winds seemed to be blowing in his favour. Every politician from the White House to Brussels was lining up to endorse him as he declared the Maduro regime to be illegitimate. He was subsequently supported by the Venezuelan parliament as interim president, if only in name. But warm words of support from the West and from ordinary Venezuelans were never going to remove the biggest barrier standing in Guaido’s way: the Maduro-controlled military. The momentum behind Guaido seemed to ebb throughout the spring. But now Guaido finds himself back in the world’s headlines.

Has Jon Lansman been ousted from Momentum?

Ever since Jeremy Corbyn first put himself forward to be Labour leader in 2015, the founder of Momentum, Jon Lansman, has been one of the most influential figures in Labour politics. Yet, as the far-left group has grown from a simple campaign to elect Corbyn, to a fearsome fundraising organisation at the heart of the Labour project, there has been a growing rift between the organisation’s members and its founder. Now it may be that this relationship has finally reached its breaking point. Today, one of the organisation’s two corporate entities has updated its entry on Companies House to show that Lansman has ceased to be ‘a person with significant control’

Momentum’s job search fails

If there’s one thing that really gets under the skin of Momentum, the campaign group for Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn, it’s that the economy has steadily improved under this Conservative government. While the group constantly tries to suggest that only Corbyn can rescue the country from economic peril, statistics that show, for example, that unemployment is falling across the country throw an awkward spanner in the works. The group has therefore recently alighted on a new response to counter suggestions that more people are in work, by pointing out that official employment statistics include people who only work one hour every week: Whilst the Government continues to brag about 'record employment',

John McDonnell vs Momentum

Oh dear. John McDonnell has found himself in hot water this morning after he declared that Labour would support Philip Hammond’s budget tax cuts. Given that the Resolution Foundation claims that the tax cuts will benefit the better off, it doesn’t seem like the most obvious move for anti-austerity Labour. Labour politicians have been quick to see red – with regional mayor Andy Burnham taking to social media. But the response that should worry the shadow chancellor the most relates to what Momentum – the pro-Corbyn grassroots group – will say. It seems no-one thought to tell them in advance what the shadow chancellor was planning: Exclusive: Tories favour rich in new

Momentum’s Brexit fudge would make the Labour party proud

What Momentum thinks about Brexit matters. But is Momentum prepared to ask its members what it really thinks about Brexit? Not yet is the answer, according to Jon Lansman, the group’s founder. And it’s refusal to do so produces a fudge on the hot topic of the day of which the Labour party itself would be proud. While the group’s World Transformed festival has been a hotbed of discussion on all kinds of issues – socialism, Marxism, anti-Semitism, climate change, to name  a few – there’s one topic that isn’t on the menu: Brexit. At least, that is, in so far as coming to a settled position among Momentum members

The latest Labour rift: Momentum vs the trade unions

In the beginning, it seemed as though the Labour civil war consisted of the Corbynistas vs the moderates. Now things aren’t so simple. The first day of Labour conference saw some ugly scenes in the conference floor. However, rather than the hard Left turning on the Blairites, it is a rift between two pro-Corbyn factions: Momentum vs the trade unions. Activists for the pro-Corbyn grassroots campaign group audibly booed the trade unions at several points on Sunday afternoon. Cries of ‘shame!’ were repeatedly heard across the floor. There were two points of disagreement – the democracy review and the priority ballots. Momentum activists were disappointed that the trade union choices

How to be a Corbyn Jew

Being a Jew on the Corbyn left is soul- crushing. In the name of the cause, you must excuse racism in all but its extreme forms. The presence of a real Jew in its midst provides the left with cover. But stray from the party line, and you are not a comrade having a legitimate disagreement. You are a Jew and only a Jew, a corrupted and illegitimate voice that has no place in left-wing discussions. The compromises Jewish leftists must swallow can be seen in the faintly pathetic career of Jon Lansman. In theory, there is nothing pathetic about him. The founder of Momentum is the third most powerful

Momentum isn’t hard left. It’s a theatrical cult

Hard left, my arse. Sorry to be vulgar, but surely that’s how Jim Royle, couch-potato patriarch of that glorious sitcom The Royle Family, would have reacted to reports that the ‘hard left’ Momentum movement is planning a ‘massacre of the moderates’ in the parliamentary Labour party. Don’t get me wrong. Having seized control of Labour’s National Executive Committee, Momentum is itching to purge the party’s benches of MPs who are insufficiently obsequious to Jeremy Corbyn. But calling this fragile political sect ‘hard’ left is silly. ‘Far’ left, perhaps — but let’s not confuse Momentum activists with the powerful Marxist bruisers of 40 years ago. Momentum is more like a cult

Labour Against the Witchhunt welcome Corbynista’s appointment as chair of Disputes Panel

Talk of trigger ballots, deselection and factional manoeuvres is rife in the Labour party after three Momentum candidates were elected on the party’s NEC – tipping the balance in favour of the Corbynistas. Since that election, the NEC moved swiftly to vote to oust Ann Black as chair of the Disputes Panel in favour of Christine Shawcroft. The panel is responsibly for deciding whether to investigate sexist, racist, homophobic and anti-semitic abuse – and given that Shawcroft herself was suspended from the party in 2015 (for publicly supporting disgraced Tower Hamlets mayor Lutfur Rahman), many moderates are concerned over her appointment and what it means for Labour’s disciplinary procedure going forward.

Do Labour MPs have the courage to stand up to Momentum?

As Jeremy Corbyn’s grip over the Labour party tightens, the threat of deselection for more moderate Labour MPs who do not toe the party line is increasing. Labour MPs who are concerned about their futures may be looking for ways to fight back. I can offer one example of how this can be done, from my time working as a special advisor to the Labour MP John Silkin. In 1981, Tony Benn announced he was challenging Labour’s Deputy Leader, Denis Healey, for his job. Labour MPs, with minds of their own, were appalled. They saw the tactic as part of the nasty war being waged in the constituencies by a

Corbyn’s latest triumph

For Jeremy Corbyn and his allies, there has been no far-left takeover of the Labour party or its governing National Executive Committee. It’s true that, this week, Corbyn supporters came to control the majority of the NEC, completing their command of the party apparatus. But they see this as getting rid of the last of the right-wingers and enabling — for the first time — the Labour party to dedicate itself to the interests of the working class. It’s not the triumph of a fringe, they say, but the expulsion of a fringe. The Corbynite agenda of government expansion, mass nationalisation of railways, utilities and more, can now be pursued.

Momentum’s purge of the NEC is a sign of things to come

The election of three Momentum candidates – including key Corbyn ally Jon Lansman – on Monday to Labour’s national executive committee was reluctantly accepted by moderates for want of a better option. Several Labour MPs anonymously complained to the press that they would go independent should the party try to bring in trigger ballots – but the fact these quotes are anonymous shows that no-one is willing to take the fight public just yet. The events of today, however, will give Labour centrists food for thought. With the Corbyn-wing of the party now boasting a clear majority on the committee, members were given a glimpse of what that means in

Sunday shows round-up: Diane Abbott sounds public sector alarm

Diane Abbott – Public sector at risk if migration collapses The Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott has told Andrew Marr that British businesses and essential services such as the NHS require a certain level of migration from Europe after Brexit and that a ‘collapse’ in numbers could pose a serious risk to the UK economy. Abbott claimed that a Labour government would clamp down on bureaucracy with regard to EU migration and that she would implement ‘fair rules’ and ‘reasonable management’: AM: Do you think that the number of people coming here from the EU will go down after Brexit if you’re in power? DA: You should talk to British

The Spectator Podcast: Corbyn 2.0

On this week’s episode we look at the social media revolution which could sweep the Tories away. We also discuss next week’s budget and agonise about the state of the nation with Jeffrey Archer. Whether it’s Jeremy Corbyn, Donald Trump or the Brexiteers, successful politicians seem to have one thing in common: a command of social media. But what about Theresa May and her party? In the magazine this week, Robert Peston is concerned that the Prime Minister might be left behind if she fails to grasp the importance of the internet. He joins the podcast along with Jamie Bartlett, Director of the Centre for the Analysis of Social Media

Labour’s biggest danger is falling for the cult of Corbyn

Labour conference has begun in earnest – earnest being the operative word, as Brighton finds itself swamped with Jeremy Corbyn’s credulous acolytes, buoyant from the success of their hero’s election campaign, just three months ago. Len McCluskey, General Secretary of Unite, told conference this morning that ‘we stand on the shoulder of a giant, and that giant is the Labour manifesto 2017’. Rapturous applause greeted him but it was nothing compared to the applause that filled the hall a few minutes later when a tinsel-furnished portrait of Jeremy Corbyn was paraded across the floor. Currently at #Lab17… #NotACult — Nick Hilton (@nickfthilton) September 25, 2017 It was accepted that