An article in the Telegraph today, “Revealed: The radical hard-left Momentum activists mounting a ruthless purge of Labour“, paints a shocking picture of the pressure group Momentum. I was going to put “Labour” into the description of the organisation, but several of the members of Momentum’s steering committee have spent some time in the past bashing Labour, so it seems unfair to the party.
Yes, it was a Telegraph piece, thus designed with harming Labour and the Left in general firmly in mind. Problem is, it was also all true. In amongst a steering committee of eight we have people who have defended rioters, described Remembrance Day as “like murderers holding special funerals for their victims”, and been found guilty of electoral fraud.
The narrative that right of centre media outlets are trying to construct with articles such as these is that the Left, and by that I mean the whole of it, its broadest definition – soft left, centre-left, liberal-left – are a bunch of Britain-hating vandals who just want to tear down all aspects of liberal democracy. It is an over the top assertion – but given the profile of Momentum’s steering group, only slightly. Every organisation is going to attract some strange types, and that is completely forgivable. However, you don’t take those individuals and present them to the world on your public governing body. There are a whole host of, shall we call them firmly-left to avoid any possible pejorative sounding adjectives, campaigners out there that Momentum could have put on their steering committee. I know several personally I could have recommended. All totally committed to socialism, having never wavered in their support of Labour throughout all of the New Labour years despite being disappointed by them, all with great track records as campaigners. None of them with nasty quotes regarding Remembrance Day ready to be dragged out or criminal records to be exposed. So Momentum had options which it decided not to use.
Again, this helps the Right in establishing their narrative of the current period in which we live: the Tories are the only safe option. Whatever you think of David Cameron, or IDS, or Grayling, or whomever; whatever you think of certain Tory policies, particularly some of the economic ones; regardless of all that, wouldn’t you rather have them running the country than a bunch of rioters who want to dismantle the country’s entire security apparatus? What amazes me is that many on the Left seem totally blinded to this very obvious thing that is taking place before their very eyes, crying that it is all a right-wing conspiracy without bothering to think about how easy groups like Momentum make it for the Right to advance their story.
LORENZO CHERIN says
Excellent piece.I have regularly made it clear to decent well meaning , left leaning members of the Liberal Democrats , who , in common with many in our party are being constructive about Corbyn ,that is all well and good , look near and behind the man !
Those of us who know what hard left is , and are not it , do not like it , and are not like it ,understand we are seeing a new version of the old hard left.This is the NEW LABOUR HARD LEFT!
Having said it as it is , it is not something I relish.New Labour messed up big time , but in their number , before then and since , are good Labour and nice Labour.I urge all there now , who are , if you see a genuine disaster in your party , if you are being vilified and cannot fit in , if you actually believe it is not about a more left wing leader because the numbers show the games afoot and the party s over , or however it can be put that says it as it is by anyone involved, the Liberal Democrats are not a Tory lite party and could be a party for any good , decent , social democrat , progressive , and , yes indeed , Liberal.
There is a place for hard left politics .It is not in a mainstream political party .There is place for the centre left in politics .It is and can be in the Liberal Democrats.