Today in my first blog post on my new blog, I have waded publicly into the party debate over Momentum and what it means for the half million strong Labour Movement. On Labourlist there is an article by Richard Angell on what Momentum means and what the implications are for those on the right of the party. I said that rumour and worry aside, the true test for Momentum to be a successful asset to the party will come at the ballot box, maybe as soon as the local elections in 2016. I have always thought that the party needed to work in the community more and that the party has always been at its best when it carries every community with it.
That said, there has been a lot of rumour and speculation lately from the media to members of parliament themselves. Speculation is rife that mandatory reselection favoured by some on the left will be imposed on the Constituency Labour Parties up and down the nation, with some remarking that it means the new leadership will remove MPs opposed to them. While this is pure speculation, damaging as it is to morale in the PLP, defenders of Momentum have said that such rumour is not true.
To state my own position, I do not favour mandatory reselection of sitting Members of parliament, presuming that the incumbent hasn't committed any crime or fiddled expenses. I am a firm believer in Members of Parliament being good constituency MPs regardless of their political beliefs i.e. Ben Bradshaw for Exeter who rebelled against the Labour Whip on Wednesday. Such moves to deselect Members based on their beliefs is wrong and I do not support that. That being said, the hard-lefts apparent entry into Momentum, if you believe the chat on the wire, supporting Jeremy Corbyns Leadership will not calm the nerves of the right. Some will naturally fear a return to the infighting of the 80s.
It is fair to say that the party has been bruised by the long leadership contest this summer and the moderate-right groups who thought they'd inherit the leadership following Milibands departure were proved dead wrong. Power is not a right and it should be handled with the stewardship of humility. Corbyn, as David Blunkett said in the Summer, will be a good Leader of the Opposition, but the test for his entry into Number 10 will come at the ballot box. The people are not stupid, they will look at how he governs the party and how he performs in areas of policy.
The jury is out as to whether he will succeed or not.
The party should unite and the broad spectrum of groups within the party should play the game i.e. campaign to get the Tories out. Collaboration, partnership and engagement should be done by all within the leadership of the party. In politics you identify the problem, talk it other and reach mutual comprise based on partnership. That is the way politics works. Blustering, leaking and posturing like guerillas in the jungle vying for supremacy, does no good and serves no one.