Momentum are celebrating their third birthday today. What a lot they have to celebrate. Their founding and primary purpose was the election of Jeremy Corbyn as leader and his re-election and continual protection. Their role as praetorian guard is absolute, though Guido is sure they would prefer to see themselves as a revolutionary vanguard. Why have they been so successful where other left-wing factions have always failed to gain control of the Labour Party? You can talk about populism and the maco-economic situation, post-capitalist paradigms all you like, the answer Guido suspects is that they really got the internet. They are digital native lefties.
Miliband enabled it with the £3 joining scheme. Labour’s potential and actual supporters were tired of New Labour’s mix of markets and social justice progressivism, so when a digitally savvy campaign energised people to join and vote – with the genius digital insight of actually linking supporters to the Labour Party website’s joining page – it was their’s for the taking. You also have to give credit to the pied piper of Corbynism, Owen Jones. His post-Chavs celebrity gave him a campaigning platform and he ran with it whole-heartedly, energising a campaign for the leadership against a bunch of triangulating, boring suits who were the New Labour junior B-team. His latter denial of the electability of Corbyn ranks up there with St Peter’s denial of Jesus for core Corbynistas. They owe Owen a massive debt.
It was the internet that enabled the campaign, it was the ignoring of the old school lefties and their methods and language that brought them victory. Also dispensing with endless internal democracy and debates which waste everyone’s time and energy was wise. The usual unpleasantness of the hard left will ensure they seize control of the party machinery entirely for the first time in the party’s history. The Labour Party is likely to be in their grip for at least a decade, if not for ever.
Tories often ask if Guido regrets backing Toby Young’s “Tories for Corbyn“ campaign. He’s not going to win and is likely to split the left and the centre-left, so no. There is of course some risk involved…
Incidentally, Lansman’s Jeremy for Labour Limited through which he controls Momentum, whatever democratic front Momentum put on things, was actually incorporated in June 2015. So is it really their birthday today?