Wednesday, 31 January 2018
An Evening with Momentum
On Tuesday 30 January I responded to an invitation from one of the four candidates on the Calder Valley Labour Party shortlist to hear her speak at a meeting organised by Momentum. On its Facebook announcement Momentum advertised this as a “public event”.
Going into the meeting with my wife we were refused admission and asked to leave.When we protested we were referred to Roger O’Doherty who appeared to be in charge. He said that we couldn’t attend Momentum meetings if we weren’t members and suggested that would give us time to go downstairs and drink beer. He didn’t offer to buy any but this was, after all, Yorkshire.
A concerned lady came down to assuage my annoyance and explained that I would not have been admitted to the party’s LGBGT group either. She added that I couldn’t be allowed in because the group would be discussing the candidates.
Now I make no criticism of the candidate, who in the short chat I was able to have with her, before the meeting was very nice and an excellent identity candidate.But Momentum is not a Labour Party affiliate and in the light of Labour’s sad experience with parties within the party, from CND through Militant to the SDP it is legitimate to ask why an organisation which believes in an open democratic Labour Party, and wants to increase participation behaves in a fashion which could be viewed as conspiratorial, even sinister.
The questions which should be answered at, or before, the Labour Party selection on Saturday are:-
1.Why is Momentum behaving like an affiliated organisation when it isn’t?
2. Has Momentum held similar meetings for the other three candidates and were these also closed meetings?
3.Is Momentum as an organisation in Calder Valley backing one or more candidates, or is it opposing one or more .Will any such advice be publicly announced?
As I understand it Momentum is a sectional organisation promoting a series of left wing policies. I am not opposed to these policies but I do see Labour as a broad church with several strands of opinion.These must live together,cooperate with each other and work openly, if our party is to win power in a conservative country with a malign media.