I went to my first local meeting of the Corbyn-ite Momentum initiative last night. I would say roughly a third of the meeting were familiar activists from outside of the Labour Party and the remainder Labour members. It was a packed meeting but conspicuous by their absence were the much discussed 'new layers' drawn in by the campaign.The meeting was rambling but two clear positions did seem to come out:
There was the 'Labour Left' call of come and join us: Reinvigorate the party with campaigns, but most of all start now to make sure that Labour win the next election. And then there was the 'other view': Corbyn's victory was a victory for anti-austerity, so let's make Labour an anti-austerity party right now by refusing to implement Tory policies at local level.
But the Labour Left say that their councillors won't argue for deficit budgets`- and within the party they won't call for mandatory re-selection to purge the party of those Blairite entrists who won't give up their neo-liberalism.
And so a chasm remains between Corbyn-ite Labour and those of us who welcome his victory but are outside of the party. Creating a 'kinder politics' and talking about a 'social movement' is all well and good, but if we are actually going to fight Tory austerity , growing some balls would be good too.