My thanks to the person who I won't name for directing me today towards a Facebook site set up by Corbyn fan club Momentum. The first meeting of the Gateshead and Blaydon branch is being held on Monday and apparently the agenda is ruffling a few feathers in the ranks of the Labour party. You can visit the page on this link.
I draw your attention to item 3: "How we intervene in the LP/TU Movement."
"Intervene" is quite an interesting word to use. It is clearly a euphemism for taking control of the Labour party. But what should be even more worrying for the Labour party is the guest list for this meeting. Let me quote:
"Remember you don't have to be a supporter or member of the Labour party to come along." This appeared at the bottom of the agenda.
So what we have with Momentum is a Labour faction encouraging non-Labour members to take part in its attempts to take over the local Labour party, even though those people may not even be Labour supporters (ie they could be opponents of Labour).
In the Lib Dems we set the fashion for internal party democracy decades ago. It has since spilled over, in a limited way, into the other parties. Ours is a membership democracy - based on members who share a common set of beliefs. They have to be signed up and paying their subs to the party to take part in internal party democracy. Momentum, on the other hand, is inviting people who aren't Labour supporters to help them capture control of the Labour party.
The question has to be asked, why are Momentum inviting those who may oppose the Labour party to help them take over the Labour party? Surely Labour should consider that a reason for banning them.
All this however does highlight the mess into which Labour has descended by electing Corbyn as leader. It also highlights the dangers we face in areas which Labour regard as their own fiefdoms, such as here in the North East. A Momentum clear out of the old guard could put the lunatic fringe in control of councils and institutions which play significant roles in the life and affairs of the North East. If the Momentum Tendency seizes control, those bodies will be politicised in a way that will completely undermine them, until such time as the Labour party in our area can be defeated at the ballot box. That's the goal my colleagues and I in the Lib Dems have to achieve.