momentum

The McDonnell Amendment: Richard Angell vs. Chris Williamson

First published on Labour Vision

Today on Labour Vision we bring you a debate between Richard Angell, (Director, Progress) and former Labour MP, Chris Williamson. We have asked Richard and Chris to answer the following question:

“Would the McDonnell Amendment help or hinder the Labour Party and the people it seeks to represent?”

Richard and Chris were each given 600 words up-front to answer the question, and a further 400 words each to rebut the arguments of their opposite number. Their thoughts are below.

N.B. The McDonnell Amendment is a proposal to reduce the threshold of MP nominations required to allow a candidate onto the ballot for the Labour leadership election from 15% of the Parliamentary Labour Party to 5%. Several MPs, such as Caroline Flint, are strongly opposed to the proposal.

This proposal is the brainchild of Shadow Chancellor, John McDonnell, who twice failed to acquire the requisite number of nominations from fellow MPs. It is argued that, if this proposal were passed by Labour Party Conference in September, then it would be to the considerable advantage of the Labour left.

Enjoy! (more…)

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The wrong Jeremy

First published on Progressonline for ‘the Last Word’

The NHS crisis, progressive alliance ploys and Momentum purges – Progress director Richard Angell has this week’s Last Word

Toby Perkins’ speech to the House of Commons this week on the death of his father was not only a brave personal intervention, but also an important contribution to the debate around the National Health Service. That the story he tells comes from the summer of 2016 shows that the current winter crisis in the NHS is no one-off. It is the result of years of Tory mismanagement, of ill-thought through reorganisation and failure to deliver the funding it needs. (more…)

Copeland challenge

First published on Progressonline for ‘the Last Word’

Jamie Reed leaving parliament

I am personally extremely sad that Jamie Reed – and former author of this column – is leaving parliament in the near year but understand that he must put his family first. His new role people he might be able to get more done for the people of Copeland than he would in parliament in the short run but I know that will be no compensation for his desire to be a public servant. He has worked tirelessly for his community since being elected as the second youngest Labour MP in 2005. He is popular locally and an important working class English Labour voice on the green benches. We will miss his proximity but wish him luck as he pursuits a new challenge. (more…)

No momentum

First published on Progressonline for ‘the Last Word’

The clash between the Trotskyists (Laura Murray’s term) and the ‘alt-Stalinist’ (the Trotskyists’ term) within Jeremy Corbyn’s outrider group Momentum has come to an ugly head this week. Murray, in founder Jon Lansman’s camp, has come out swinging for Jill Mountford of the Alliance for Workers’ Liberty. The accusation is their apparent intentions being that they are preparing Momentum to be an alternative political party. Some would say they are ‘asset stripping Labour’. I could not comment.

But the argument that is being propagated by Lansman – and his media supporters Owen Jones and Paul Mason – is that Momentum minus the AWL would be totally fine. This is not true. (more…)

You cannot win with the Corbyn coterie

First published on the Huffington Post

The first victim of the bullying that surrounds the Jeremy Corbyn leadership personality cult and the associated Momentum crew was not a former leadership candidate or a ‘red Tory’ who served under Gordon Brown – or, worse, Tony Blair’ – but a lovely woman who only joined the House of Commons in 2010. Pat Glass did not support Corbyn over the summer but both served and took promotions (not one, but two) when well-meaning colleagues resigned or were sacked. In January, after Pat McFadden was singled out for calling terrorists ‘adults’ in charge of their own actions, she was asked to replace him, and did. When Lucy Powell resigned, she stepped up to be the shadow education secretary. None of this stopped her local Momentum group standing against and defeating her husband as campaign coordinator of the local party and threatening her with deselection. After two days shadowing Nicky Morgan, she resigned the frontbench and said she will stand down from parliament at the next election. The referendum campaign had been ‘bruising’ and taken too much of a toll. (more…)

Asset-stripping Labour

Momentum is a party waiting to leave a party

First published in Progress magazine

The results of the National Executive Committee elections were disappointing. A clean sweep for the Momentum-backed slate will not be good for plurality, nor party democracy. But we should be proud of the six people Progress and Labour First supported. Ellie Reeves and Johanna Baxter doubled their votes and leave the NEC with a great list of achievements to their name. Bex Bailey polled 67,000 votes and ran a superb campaign. Parmjit Dhanda, Luke Akehurst and Peter Wheeler did well and should be proud. When it feels like you are the lone voice in a party meeting, remember that this ballot shows there are tens of thousands of members who want Labour return to its winning ways. (more…)

Welcome, Momentum, and here’s some friendly advice

First published on LabourList

As I’m the director of Progress, I doubt many will be surprised I didn’t get the email inviting to join Momentum, the new “grassroots network” and “social movement” being built from the Jeremy Corbyn campaign.

I won’t pretend to have tweeted #JezWeCan, but the Labour Party has a rich tradition of groups with very different views and backgrounds. Progress was delighted to have the Guardian’s Owen Jones, Compass’s Neal Lawson, Class’s Steve Hart, and Blue Labour’s Maurice Glasman speak at our last conference – none of them exactly heirs to Blair. We can disagree without being disagreeable. (more…)