Momentum vote: only 42% pro-coup

Submitted by Matthew on 1 March, 2017 - 12:07 Author: Simon Nelson

Last month’s elections to Momentum National Co-ordinating Group saw 75% of the 12 seats elected by Momentum members (out of 32 NCG places) go to candidates endorsing the constitution imposed in January.

In the North and Scotland region, the pro-constitution slate won all four seats. In the Midlands, Wales, East and West region they took three, and in the South East Region two. Yet only 42% voted for pro-coup people. Their over-representation was due to this being a first-past-the-post election, so the biggest minority could sweep the board.

The total vote for the candidates explicitly opposing the imposed constitution was 29%, with Rida Vaquas topping the poll in the Midlands and Yannis Gourtsoyannis only 32 votes behind Christine Shawcroft in the South East (Shawcroft received the most votes of any single candidate).

Just 34% of those eligible to vote chose to, despite text and email reminders. We can’t say why more people did not vote, but the view put forward in Momentum HQ — that those who now back the constitution have championed a form of “online democracy” over supposedly inaccessible meeting-democracy — is not at all convincing. It is also notable that fewer people have voted in this election than are required to amend the constitution or even to successfully trigger the use of online voting!

In the other areas that make up the NCG the following positions have been filled: Huda Elmi, Labour Briefing; Barry Gray, Campaign for Labour Party Democracy; Jon Lansman, Left Futures; Carol Turner, Labour CND. The elected officials are Councillors Joseph Ejiofor, Helen McDonald, Emine Ibrahim, Leigh Drennan. We can only presume that the affiliated organisations chose their own delegates to the NCG using whatever methods they chose to.

Both the LRC and Red Labour chose not to recognise the NCG’s status and will not send representatives. Once again Left Futures, which is just a blog run by Jon Lansman, is again represented by... Jon Lansman. The elected officials are made up of one councillor for the North West — vocal coup supporter Leigh Drennan — and three from the south east, with two from the same London borough! It is as yet unclear what the trade union representation will be.

Following the vote the Grassroots Momentum South East Region slate and Rida Vaquas from the Midlands circulated a statement outlining their plans going forward. “Momentum should be committed to its grassroots. We need to strengthen the local groups, build new ones, coordinate between them and develop a vibrant culture of campaigning and political debate. Only such a network and culture can allow us to tackle our key task of organising and mobilising people to transform Labour, as part of the wider task of reviving and transforming the labour movement. There has been much fractious debate recently within Momentum, as a result of bureaucratic manoeuvring. We urge members not to resign or drift out in disgust. Instead we must link up to organise for democracy, active campaigning and socialist policies both locally and nationally.

“We support the calling of a grassroots networking conference for local groups.”