What started as a movement to propel a quiet man to power has become a magnet for violent, unprincipled and self-aggrandising bullies, writes the Daily Mirror’s columnist Fleet Street Fox.
“They have damaged not only the reputation of Corbyn and forced him into contortions over his beliefs, but are killing the Labour Party. There are many members of Momentum who are good and kind. Activists who just want to do their bit to help Corbyn along. But even the most blind of faith must admit that Momentum is not a political party. It’s not a movement or a cause or a religion.”
According to the columnist, it’s a company. Or rather, three – Jeremy For Labour Limited, Momentum Campaign (Services) Limited, and New Hope For Labour (Data Holdings) Limited.
“None of these companies have yet filed accounts so we have no idea if they’re making a profit although Momentum membership costs from £5 to £500 a year. There’s also no mention of these firms on Momentum’s well-edited Wikipedia page. Interestingly the Momentum website refers to itself mostly as ‘an organisation’.”
The “organisation” boasts about 12,000 members and a code of ethics espousing “participatory democracy,” “fair and honest debate,” “safety and self expression.”
“And while I am sure there are among its members any number of decent souls, it’s also home to the sort of people who scream abuse, hurl bricks as well as brickbats, threaten, bully and intimidate,” writes Fleet Street Fox. “It doesn’t seem to matter to the keyboard warriors that Corbyn’s asked them to stop or the code of ethics of their ‘organisation’ says there’s no place for it. Perhaps that’s because Corbyn is their friend.
“Without those 12,000 psephologically-unimportant people, a worrying number of whom are ignorant, anti-Semitic, woman-hating bullies, he would have as much chance of leading the Labour Party as of winning a three-legged race on roller skates. That’s why despite knowing all the above Corbyn still talks to them. He asks them to be nice while allowing them to be awful, and lets them flush out and away all those millions of Labour supporters who find their tactics appalling.”
Fleet Street Fox also notes that “the bullies of Momentum flout its code of ethics, ignore the Labour Party’s founding principles and can’t comprehend electoral reality”.
“If Corbyn loves the Labour Party as he says he does, if he abides by its principles come what may and abhors bullying, sweatshops, hatred and the ignorant screaming of a privileged few, he needs to tell Momentum he wants no more of it or them.”
In a separate report, the Express online noted that Labour’s General Secretary Iain McNicol has threatened to identify and punish those involved in the alleged personal abuse and intimidation that has rocked the already destabilised party. This unprecedented move follows yet more allegations of harassment by “Corbynistas” against the leader’s critics within the party and Westminster.
“For a fair debate to take place, people must be able to air their views in an atmosphere of respect,” said McNicol. “They shouldn’t be shouted down, they shouldn’t be intimidated and they shouldn’t be abused, either in meetings or online.”