No, Momentum the glorious revolution has not come… Yet
I love you both… BUT
As the old saying goes you always hurt the one you love so I hope you’ll believe me and above all engage with those, who like you, have the best interests of Labour at heart. It’s almost impossible to write this without sounding condescending or like I’m talking down to you, or maybe I’m simply not a good enough writer to do so. I’m just adding my voice to the many, far more widely followed than I am, because I think I have something to say that needs saying. So, maybe not a love letter more a Dear John or should that be Dear Jeremy? I hope what follows is a coherent plan for progressive politics mostly stolen from my betters.
So what does Momentum see when it looks at itself maybe this? Thanks, I took this from Twitter.
What looks like achievement and glory to you was just an echo chamber to me, I was there. A glorious gathering of the already converted but do you know who wasn’t there? Mr and Mrs Boringly-Normal from Leighton Buzzard. What’s more they’ll never be there and there’s too many in that demographic who will quite simply not listen to you. You claim “a new kind of politics” all Mr & Mrs B-N see is socialism. They associate Socialism with failure and are quite right to do so.
So what is Momentum all about? This is their mission statement:
Momentum exists to build on the energy and enthusiasm from the Jeremy Corbyn for Labour Leader campaign to increase participatory democracy, solidarity, and grassroots power and help Labour become the transformative governing party of the 21st century.
Let me first of all say how magnificently you do that job, the grassroot groundswell you have created is a wonderful thing, so good in fact I named my blog after you. So why did I put the word Progressive in front of it? The reason is I think you’re regressing, that with one more heave Socialism in its genuine definition could work. I suspect, along with all those Mr and Mrs Boringly-Normal’s that your manifesto is merely your “starter for ten” and that you are not yet fully upfront about everything you intend. So, unless you are prepared to be fully open and honest with us you will make no further progress. Or if you feel you have been, you haven’t convinced many people. It’s doubt like that, that means you can’t even beat a party too ashamed to use its name, as I wrote yesterday. It’s a very strange election, Theresa May’s Team vs Momentum. At least you have the pride in your movement to use its name.
As I have to keep reminding people, this blog is non politically aligned, it’s about economics and that panel you set up was inspirational, you had Pikkety for goodness the Thomas Piketty. You had Richard Murphy renouned tax specialist and Danny Blanchflower. You had Diane Elson, Mariana Mazzucato, Anastasia Nesvetailova, Ann Pettifor and Simon Wren-Lewis. You had MMT specialists, Positive Money and Universal Basic Income all ready to sign up. Think of what they could have done for your presence, they are all massively social media savvy , famous bloggers in their own right with probably a reach of millions. Well connected within universities and brimming with fantastic new modern ideas our country needs, the UK could have been a beacon, a true world leader. What went wrong, how did you screw that up so badly? Ideology, it just had to be about just you didn’t it and your precious project.
As I write this I have no idea what the outcome will be on June 8. I still suspect you’ll lose but the mere fact of me having doubts is testament to how much has changed since this needless election was called. The momentum is with Momentum, to coin a phrase. It doesn’t matter, win or lose it will be for the wrong reasons. You could have led from the front with new economics, finally break from the shackles of Gold Standard policies that are irrelevant in the 21st century. You could be promoting a job for everyone, you could be promoting a universal basic income for everyone, you could be promoting a Financial Transaction Tax backed by the finest minds internationally and the UK. And what do you offer? Socialism and the most half arsed version of Land value Tax I have ever seen. The moment you started talking to grown ups you did a brilliant imitation of Theresa May and collapsed at the first sign of gunfire. And for what? A version of socialism that no longer exists and wouldn’t be accepted if it did.
It’s all very well connecting with your peer group but you’ve got to connect with others too. What about the people who simply don’t want an over-riding state? Oh sure they like the NHS and listen to Radio 4 but they still won’t buy into you. How about the wealth and value creators, natural rebels and highly inventive? Identikit state solutions won’t work for them. How will you deal with our established institutions? What’s that you say down with the establishment? What are you going to replace it with? These things exist for a reason and most have evolved to be good for us. They’re none the worse for watching but you still have to engage and get them onside.
So why should you listen to some two bit blogger with a tiny readership of a few thousand on a good day? I’m part of something much bigger than my small effort which has the advantage of being on the right side of history. I am not asking you to abandon your politics or principles, I’m asking you to abandon your failed economics. You get to achieve all your goals just with different methods. Remember all those people I mentioned above? They’re all derided as Socialists too by the neoliberal right, they are your natural allies.
You are the heart and soul of the Labour party and it’s wider movement. You carry the torch of history and tradition that has spanned generations and built some of our greatest institutions. What you are not is the brain or leader, they require different qualities, compromise and evolution. Your task is to keep them on the straight and narrow. Keep in mind the the UK is small c conservative but small s socialist.
One final point, you have a fight to come especially if you lose and I don’t think you know what it is yet. Those New Labour refuseniks have an agenda that must be stopped. That will be my next blog for Sunday night or Monday. Thank you for reading.