Meet Momentum, AKA Continuity Corbyn. If its organisers have anything to do with it, it’s an outfit we’ll be hearing from for a very long time.
What is it? According to its website:
‘Momentum is the successor entity to the Jeremy Corbyn for Labour Leader campaign but it is independent of the Labour Party’s leadership. It will work with everyone who supports Jeremy’s aim of creating a more fair, equal and democratic society.’
So it’s ‘the successor entity’, which is nice. How much distilled Trotskyite process and stale committee room air is packed into those three words. In practice, it’s the new name for all those Corbynites who just gathered together to seize control of the Labour Party – as the name implies, it’s a bid to keep that ball rolling permanently.
It isn’t hard to predict what that means in practice. Mission one, keep Jeremy in place for as long as possible. Mission two, force MPs into line or deselect them. Mission three, when the Dear Leader does eventually leave the job, ensure that his anointed successor wins the ensuing leadership election and the revolution continues uninterrupted.
In that sense, this is Corbyn’s Revolutionary Guard, standing next to the levers of power with a big stick to guarantee that they are only ever used in the appropriate way. As with other Revolutionary Guards, that also makes it a deeply conservative organisation – rather than providing momentum, it is there to prevent any change at all, to embalm the Labour Party in its current state forever.
The number of grassroots Corbynites it has managed to carry over from the leadership campaign is unknown. But given the large pool within which it can recruit, and that its plan is to build a new organisation within Labour and the wider Left across the country, its potential to threaten those MPs who fall short of the expected hard left standard is clear. The new politics could involve a lot more enforcement than the old politics.