For some time now I have been considering whether to take a serious peak at what Momentum do. Yesterday I took the plunge and paid my £10 joining fee.
Over the years I have joined a number of Labour bodies on various wings of the party; I am currently a member of Compass and have been in Progress and the Fabians. I also have association with a number of special interest groups too. Joining is one way of expanding one's political horizons.
I have never enjoyed being pigeon-holed in my politics, not least because I find it hard to pinpoint myself on the left-right spectrum. I am definitely a socialist, but whether I am always in the centre-ground depends on what the issue is. I recall a debate, many moons passed, when I was asked whether I was 'New' or 'Old' Labour; my response then was that I was 'just Labour'. Besides, Labour is a broad church, and we all want the same thing - a Labour Government.
It is no secret that I supported Liz Kendall and Owen Smith in the last two Labour Leadership contests. I also stated on several occasions that I would respect the outcomes and support whoever was victorious; I am not about to renege on that promise. I do reserve the right to be a critical friend. I was a fan of Blair, but some of his policies incensed me . Even our heroes let us down eventually.
I still have my reservations about Corbyn, but he was victorious, is the Leader, and we have to get on with it. Many of my friends are his fans, many are in Momentum. Many of our candidates will be in Momentum, will be Corbynistas, and I will want to see them as victorious as candidates from other parts of the party. It is quite possible I will be campaigning alongside them, and the many activists who have also joined the Mo-mob.
It seems sensible to me to reach out. There is bound to be common ground. We all want Labour candidates elected, and our fight for equality and social justice unite us.
It is possible that Momentum will reject me. I know that some there consider me a Red Tory, which, if nothing else, ignores a substantial campaigning track record. If they can allow me in to see what they are about then there is the possibility that we can reach accord, that we can support each other over the issues where we agree. And where we disagree? Well, in politics disagreement and debate are part of the landscape. Who knows? I may be able to win them over, and I am sure that they will believe that they can convince me.
One thing is true though; if all in the Labour Party do not pull in broadly the same direction then it will be our opponents who prosper. Like it or not, Momentum contains a substantial body of Labour Party members and those of us who have been wary of this party-within-a -party have to work out how we can work with them.