The Conservative Party has always welcomed many conflicting views; often being described as a “broad church”. One could argue that it is the many different flavours of Conservativism that has granted the party such success over the course of it’s history, having spent 29 of the last 50 years in Government. Conservativism caters for many kinds of people, from the highly religious traditionalists to the progressive liberals.
Labour have never been as inclusive as the Conservative Party, tending to focus on just one or two flavours of the left to the exclusion of all the others. Fortunately for the Labour Party they haven’t drifted too far from the centre since Michael Foot, this centrism allowed their single flavour to appeal to as many people as possible and ultimately climaxed with an unprecedented 13 years in Government under Tony Blair and Gordon Brown.
The centrism continued up until the moment that Jeremy Corbyn became the accidental leader of the Labour party. I say accidental because no one actually expected him to win (including Jeremy himself!) and very few people actually wanted him to win, for most Labour Party members he was a protest vote against Blairism; Jeremy is was seen as too extreme by everyone involved, they knew that if Jeremy were to become the Labour leader that he would be unable to win a General Election, but that did not concern them, because he wasn’t going to become the leader.
When the accident did happen, it legitimised the one group who were largely responsible for his victory, Momentum. No longer were they a fringe group of the Labour party chaired by a grey old man dreaming of Stalin. When Jeremy rose the top, he brought Momentum with him, and in doing so he introduced the greatest threat to the Labour Party since its formation.
Momentum stayed fairly low key at first, organising some very effective campaigning events but otherwise it seemed like they were sitting back and reflecting on their victory and celebrating in the way that they do best, by bullying and attacking their political opponents online.
Last year though we saw the first major manoeuvre of Momentum, when they attempted to deselect “moderate” Labour Party MPs for their Blairite views. They tried, they failed, democracy prevailed in the Labour Party thanks in a large part to the strength of the CLP Associations.
Now we are seeing Momentum utilising a new tactic, they are attacking a new point to seize control by going after the councils. Hundreds of moderate Labour councillors are being deselected as Momentum systematically overwhelm the selection votes. They are playing a longer game now, by taking control of the councils and filling the Labour Party with Momentum councillors they are ensuring the next generation of Labour CLP officers are also Momentum members.
Over the course of the next 18 months, we will see Momentum securing and tightening its grip on the Labour Party at the lowest but most influential level; once they have completed their coup the next step will be to retry their take over of the Parliamentary Party, and if they take control of the CLP then nothing will stop their take over from succeeding this time around.
Momentum are in the middle of a hostile takeover of the Labour Party, but they are in a race against time, Jeremy Corbyn is their figurehead and one of few politicians who will tolerate Momentum, but he is also getting old and will no doubt retire soon. Momentum need to complete their takeover before that happens in order to ensure their own survival. Momentum must pave the way for John McDonnell or Chris Williamson or else they risk being outlawed by the sensible politicians in the Labour Party.