The Tories need houses, not memes, to win over the young

The Tory party has a new youth wing called Activate to try to win over the kids with ‘memes’ – I believe they’re called – similar to the way that Momentum has built a sort of cult around Jeremy Corbyn. This is in response to the dismal recent Conservative youth vote, which bodes ill for the party. As a party member rather optimistically put it, ‘we’ll only be fine when a Conservative politician can go to Glastonbury and not be booed’. Yeah, I wouldn’t be too hopeful on that one to be honest. Among the under-40s there is an almost visceral dislike of Tories and Toryism, which stems from a number of

Momentum’s attack ad is close to the bone for Corbyn

After the Tories went on the attack this week over student debt, Momentum – the grassroots pro-Corbyn group – has hit back with an attack on… middle-aged middle class voters. Yes, rather than aim their ire at the Tories, the video sees the group make fun of those voters who ‘just don’t get it’ – whether it’s the property ladder, tuition fees or finding a job: Finally someone said it ???? — Momentum ???? (@PeoplesMomentum) July 27, 2017 It’s an interesting tactic. Not least because they criticise a man who ‘got his job at a media agency through his father’. No doubt, Jeremy Corbyn’s son Seb got his job

Everyone in Labour is pretending to get along. It won’t last

Since Jeremy Corbyn’s surprisingly good election defeat, his MPs who previously plotted to get rid of him have been queuing up to pledge their allegiance to the Labour leader. They have been doing this partly because they did make some rather dire predictions about the impossibility of holding their own seats, or indeed of Labour surviving at all with Corbyn at the helm, and partly because most of them are under pressure from the Corbynites in their local party to apologise and show loyalty from now on. Luciana Berger’s local party is demanding an official apology from her to Corbyn for her previous criticisms of his leadership – something she

Corbyn supporters are peddling ‘fake economics’

Labour have been up-in-arms this weekend about a viral Conservative campaign video, which used some dubious editing to suggest that Corbyn said ‘No’ when asked whether he would condemn the IRA. In fact, he said ‘No, I think what you have to say is all bombing has to be condemned and you have to bring about a peace process.’ This still doesn’t sound like a full-bodied condemnation, but, that aside, the Tory video still has far fewer views than a similarly dubious one by a Labour supporting group. The clip, entitled ‘We’re all in it together’ was uploaded by The People For Jeremy Corbyn, a grassroots organisation, last weekend. It features a

Momentum plot to boost Corbyn’s electoral appeal proves costly

Oh dear. The first rule of political plotting: tell no-one, or at least tell very few. So it was a curious move of the Hackney branch of Momentum to write-up and publish online everything they discussed at Wednesday night’s meeting about the upcoming election. Activists for Momentum — the pro-Corbyn grassroots campaign group — have come up with an interesting plan to boost Corbyn’s polling. They suggest Corbynistas to ‘bet a tenner’ on ‘Labour to get the most seats or Corbyn to be the next PM’ as this will mean the ‘odds will shorten and the narrative will begin to change’. Just don’t expect to get your money back…

The Corbynistas abandon Corbyn

Last night Jeremy Corbyn gathered with thousands of supporters on Parliament Square to protest against the government’s failure to guarantee the rights of EU migrants in the UK. Upon hearing the chants of ‘Say it loud, say it clear – all EU migrants welcome here!’ Theresa May performed a sensational U-turn. Britain now has an open doors policy to anyone with a pulse and a dream. Or so might have been the case, had Jeremy Corbyn bothered to turn up to his own rally. Instead, a motley rabble of speakers from such august institutions as Stop the War, the Socialist Workers Party, and the National Union of Students, preached to

We’re seeing the sad death of the once noble Labour party

Sleaford wasn’t terribly good for Labour, was it? Nor indeed Richmond Park. Sleaford was never very Labour friendly – although, even given that, the party’s performance was staggeringly abject. Richmond has not been historically Labour-friendly – but given its current trajectory, towards the achingly liberal and affluent London upper class, you might have expected a better performance than the one they turned in (with an excellent candidate, incidentally, in Christian Wolmar). It has long been a given that Labour will lose vast numbers of seats in the north of England (and the midlands), in a similar fashion to its capitulation, north of the border, to the SNP. But now the

The left begins to eat itself

As the Parliamentary Labour Party manages to — uncharacteristically — stay out of the headlines for in-fighting, over on the left of Labour trouble is brewing. A bout of civil war has broken out in Momentum, the grassroots group set up to support Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership. The issue? A disagreement over just how democratic the organisation ought to be. The group’s head Jon Lansman — a former Bennite and the brains behind Momentum — has been accused of behaving in an ‘autocratic’ manner after he gave his support to a plan to allow every Momentum member to vote on motions on the future of the party, rather than be decided through a delegate

At all three party conferences, I felt cut adrift

Perhaps it’s age, perhaps disillusion, or perhaps party conferences really aren’t what they used to be, but I have struggled this autumn against something that has seemed to be carrying me away. As with a swimmer drawn from the shore by a strong current he cannot see, I’m trying not to leave but the people on the beach seem to be getting smaller, and the holiday noise, the shouts and laughter, grows faint. I knew my duty on arriving on the south coast for the Liberal Democrats’ annual gathering. It was to sit through conference debates in the vile windowless warehouse that is the Brighton Centre, scarring the waterfront with

Breaking: Jeremy Corbyn wins over a Tory voter

Mr S has an apology to make. On Monday, Steerpike suggested that the news that Paul Weller — a man who wanted to vote for Russell Brand in the last general election — had endorsed Jeremy Corbyn wasn’t such a coup given that Labour need to convince Tory voters of his electability in order to have any chance of gaining power. However, it has now come to Mr S’s attention that the rocker is actually a former Tory. During Weller’s time in The Jam, the singer provoked controversy when he said the band supported the Conservatives: ‘I don’t see any point in going against your own country. All this “change the world” thing is

Corbyn’s latest cheerleader wanted to vote for Russell Brand in general election

With the latest ICM poll putting the Tories on a 17-point lead over Labour, it seems as though Jeremy Corbyn’s beleaguered party are in a bit of a jam. But fret not — they have a plan. Today Momentum have released details of its new initiative ‘Concerts for Corbyn’. The plan is to inspire the nation to vote for Labour with music. What’s more Paul Weller will play at the first of these concerts. Explaining his decision, the rocker said he agreed to perform as he likes ‘what Corbyn says and stands for’. So, is this a sign of the swing voter finally being wooed back by Labour? Alas not. It turns out

Labour moderates find a glimmer of conference hope

Labour’s conference has just waved through a raft of reforms which look set to tip the balance of power on the party’s National Executive Committee away from Jeremy Corbyn and towards the moderates. The wording of the changes which caused the trouble is pretty banal: that the leader of the Scottish and Welsh Labour parties will be able to pick someone to sit on the NEC. But while this might sound like a piecemeal change, make no mistake: this is a blow to Corbyn. The change means that Kezia Dugdale or Carwyn Jones can now either take up their seats, or pick someone else to sit on the NEC (Dugdale

Fraser Nelson

Parliamentarians vs Corbynistas – two tribes at war in the Labour Party conference

Quite extraordinary scenes here at the Labour Party conference. I’m typing this in the main conference hall and have just watched Mike Katz of the Jewish Labour Movement give a short speech against anti-Semitism. This ought to be utterly uncontroversial, but it has become a wedge issue between the two tribes who now make up the Labour Party. Between those who were members before May 2015, and those who joined after. There have two very different outlooks, and are at war with each other. Katz’s speech was cheered effusively, like a rallying call, by about a third of the hall. And, amazingly, heckled by other members. When Katz said: ‘We

Labour’s anti-Semitism problem compared to ‘an over-whipped soufflé’

Although reports and actions in the past year have suggested that Corbyn’s Labour might just have a problem when it comes to Jews, some Labour members beg to differ. At Momentum’s World Transformed festival in Liverpool, a panel made up of Rhea Wolfson, Jackie Walker, Jonathan Rosenhead and Jeremy Newmark came together to ask: Does Labour have an anti-Semitism Problem? Attendees were gifted leaflets, on their way into the workshop, that called for the Jewish Labour Movement — which has ‘used the charge of widespread anti-Semitism in the Labour party to attack the new movement’ — to be expelled from Labour. This sentiment was a common theme throughout the session. Walker — who is vice-chair

Tom Goodenough

Labour conference, day two: The Spectator guide

It’s day two of the Labour Party conference. Here’s the Spectator’s guide to what to look out for today: Main conference: 11am: Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell’s speech Fringe events: 9am: ‘You can’t build peace with concrete: ending our relationships with Israel’s illegal settlements’ Speakers include: Jeremy Corbyn (possibly); Emily Thornberry 12.30pm: Where Next for Britain in Europe? Speakers include: Chuka Umunna; John Mann 12.30pm: Brexit: Unite against racism and hatred Speakers include: Diane Abbott 12.30pm: How do Labour win the general election? Speakers include: Angela Eagle 2.30pm: The case for Labour to back electoral reform Speakers include: John McDonnell 5.30pm: What does Brexit mean for students? Speakers include: Malia Bouattia,

How long will the brittle peace at Labour’s conference survive?

Labour conference is now firmly underway in Liverpool, as is the ‘World Transformed’ festival organised by Corbynite grassroots organisation Momentum. Labour MPs and long-time activists are wandering about in a state of bewilderment at the change forged in their party over the past year, perhaps best embodied by the joyful appearance of former Militant bigwig Derek Hatton in the conference hall. Hatton was wearing a press pass, which will leave Corbynistas bewildered: aren’t they supposed to hate journalists? Everyone is trying to appear to be terribly nice to one another now that Corbyn has his even bigger mandate. Conversations between members of different factions rather resemble the afternoon tea scene

Tom Goodenough

Labour’s conference, day one: The Spectator guide

Jeremy Corbyn promised to wipe the slate clean following Labour’s fractious leadership race. Now that he’s officially clinched victory, it’s time for the party to try and do just that at Labour’s annual conference, which kicks off at 11am today. Here, The Spectator has put together a guide of the main events to look out for. This is what’s on today: 11am: Labour’s conference starts The NEC’s chair Paddy Lillis speaks shortly afterwards Fringe events: 5.30pm: The Big Debate: Labour and the economy in Brexit Britain Speakers include: Chuka Umunna; Ed Miliband; Lisa Nandy; Rachel Reeves 6pm: Stop Trident Fringe Meeting Speakers include: Kate Hudson, General Secretary of the CND; John McDonnell; Diane Abbott 6pm:


Reason for cheer at Momentum’s rival conference

While the mood at Labour Conference is notably low this year, across town at Momentum’s ‘The World Transformed’ festival the crowd can be described as buzzing. Although Mr S’s taxi driver dropped him off while remarking that after the leadership result ‘the Monster Raving Loony party has as much chance of winning power as Labour’, the attendees at the Momentum event are in a jubilant mood now their leader has been returned. Well-to-do socialists are spending the day splashing out on ‘Tories are vermin’ mugs, reading the Morning Star and giving out leaflets explaining that the Jewish Labour Movement has ‘used the charge of anti-Semitism to attack the new movement’.

Letting the hard left off the leash

If there is one word that strikes fear and loathing into the hearts of Labour MPs, it is Momentum. This mixed bag of Trots, tankies, cranks and hipsters who delivered Jeremy Corbyn the leadership has become his Red Guards. Its name is synonymous with the new wave of hard-left entryism into Labour, calls to deselect moderate MPs, picketing offices, harassing staff and tweeting bile. So it doesn’t quite fit the public persona that its founder and chief commissar, Jon Lansman, is such an affable fellow. The 59-year-old Lansman is full of contradictions. He is the leader of Britain’s most notorious and divisive political movement, yet Labour colleagues agree he is

Toby Young

What’s right about Momentum Kids

Forgive me if I don’t get too worked up about Momentum Kids. For those who haven’t been following Labour’s internal politics too closely, Momentum is a Trotskyist faction within the party that was instrumental in getting Jeremy Corbyn elected last year and, barring an upset, re-elected this weekend. Momentum claims the main purpose of its new kiddie wing, will cater to three-year-olds and upwards, is to offer childcare facilities to women so they can get more involved in campaigning. But it also acknowledges that Momentum Kids will play an ‘educational’ role. ‘Let’s create a space for questioning, curious children where we can listen to them and give them a voice,’