When national Momentum campaigned in the media during the European Parliament Elections for alternative policies to Labour’s, it aided Labour’s electoral opponents and undermined support for Labour’s genuinely radical transformative agenda.
This must not happen in the forthcoming general election and Momentum needs to elect an NCG that is determined to prevent a repeat of such public campaigning in any future national election.
Contrary to Momentum’s agreed policy on paper, in the 2019 European Parliament Election campaign national Momentum publicly campaigned through the media, including the anti-Labour press, for alternative policies to those the Labour Party was promoting through its official election campaign.
In March 2019, prior to the launch of Labour’s election campaign, Momentum’s NCG agreed to support the leadership’s transformative agenda. However during the European Parliamentary Election campaign Momentum failed to respect this decision and publicly put forward a series of different policies to those which Labour was setting out in its election campaign. This undermined the Labour campaign.
As would be expected, Labour’s opponents in the press welcomed Momentum’s public intervention into the European election campaign. Articles in the media appeared that were mostly supportive of Momentum’s attacks on Labour policy, for example with such headlines as:
- Momentum says Labour should be more ambitious on climate change;
- Momentum manifesto puts Labour groups on collision course;
- Momentum urges Labour to adopt ‘radical’ pledges in next manifesto;
- Momentum urges Corbyn back four-day working week among other ‘radical’ policies it wants Labour to adopt; and
- Brexit makes Labour look shifty and dull. This is how Momentum’s policy blitz can reboot Corbynism.
At the time, Labour was engaged in a difficult campaign to win support for its candidates in the European Parliament Elections. Momentum’s efforts should have exclusively gone into maximising the Labour vote – not into undermining the Labour message.
In July, following the European Parliament Election, Momentum’s NCG agreed the following policy:
‘This NCG meeting agrees:
‘1) Momentum will in future adhere to its constitutional aim “to work for the election of a Labour government” and will refrain from promoting different policies to those of the Labour Party during national election campaigns.
‘2) Momentum will in future uphold the policy agreed by the NCG in March, and actively campaign in the party in support of, not for alternatives to, the policies set out in the “2017 election manifesto” and “the leadership’s transformative policy agenda”’.
However, as with the NCG policy agreed in March 2019, the above decision in July is just a paper policy. Given how the previous paper policy (from March) was ignored, the only way to guarantee that the July NCG policy (that Momentum back Labour policy) is implemented in all future national elections is to elect NCG members who will ensure it is carried out.
The change needed in Momentum
To ensure Momentum publicly campaigns in support of official Labour policies in all national elections, Momentum’s members need to elect an NCG that is determined to deliver this change in orientation.