Momentum withdrawal of Willsman support is idiotic, reckless and must be reversed

Momentum has announced this evening that it has withdrawn its support for veteran left NEC member Peter Willsman in the vital election for nine places on Labour’s NEC (National Executive Committee).

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The decision comes, at least ostensibly, as a result of his comments – illicitly recorded and leaked this week – challenging the evidence and motives of some of the people behind antisemitism claims.

As analysis of the audio by the SKWAWKBOX showed, while Willsman’s comments will anger some, there was no trace of antisemitism in them – and his comments were both demonstrably accurate and severely misrepresented by those who were calling for his resignation or suspension.

A decision to withdraw support – more accurately to ‘throw under a bus’ – a colleague of long merit and service because of comments misleadingly portrayed by the Establishment media is bad enough.

A decision to do so when it puts at risk the work of years just at the point when the Labour Party is about to be put firmly back into the hands of its members is inexcusable.

And choosing to do so on a day when the Labour right and Establishment have been rocked by the exposure of two false claims about the party’s code of conduct is shameful.

Momentum is now recommending a slate of eight candidates – in a nine-place contest. If this short-sighted decision damages Willsman’s support among members yet to vote, it guarantees at least one candidate will make it onto the NEC who will oppose the key ‘democracy review’ measures that will make it near-impossible for functionaries to disempower the membership again as they did under Tony Blair.

So tight is the balance of power on the NEC at the moment that getting all of ‘the JC9’ onto the NEC is the only way to ensure that those measures are successfully sent forward for Conference delegates to approve into Labour’s rules and procedures and then implemented fully and smoothly afterward.

Not only does Momentum’s poor judgment put the electoral result at risk, it’s also an invitation for the right to try to exert pressure on Willsman’s position on the NEC now, putting the whole democracy review at risk.

Labour’s leadership must send any such attempt away with the contempt it deserves.

The responses to the announcement indicate the level of anger it has caused among Labour – and in many cases – Momentum members:

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In putting the democratisation of the party at risk, Momentum has already done itself and its reputation considerable damage – a further tragedy when it could play such a vital role in raising member awareness and marshalling their support, as it did so effectively during last year’s Labour conference in Brighton.

As an added blight, this move has handed the right a PR opportunity on a platter. The attempts by Blairites and their allies to make hay from the supposed ‘divided left’ when Jon Lansman briefly stood against Jennie Formby for general secretary shows how eagerly they will seize it.

Momentum’s best chance of restoring its status lies in an immediate recognition of the views of its members and those of Labour members in general – and an immediate reversal of its reckless, short-sighted and idiotic decision.

The SKWAWKBOX asks all readers and all Labour members who have not yet cast their ballots to remember solidarity, to see the big picture and the prize at stake – and to vote, without exception, for the full slate of nine left candidates, then tweet and Facebook your choice so the ‘momentum’ of the left’s project is maintained undiminished.

That includes Momentum head Jon Lansman – there is no room for the self-indulgence of a boycott because of tonight’s decision, which would be just as damaging to the project as not voting for Willsman.

That full slate is below:

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98 responses to “Momentum withdrawal of Willsman support is idiotic, reckless and must be reversed

  1. I’ve just unsubscribed from Momentum emails over their decision to drop Willsman from the NEC list and I’ve contacted them to let them know why I’ve done it.
    It surely must be arguable that right-wing members of the Jewish community might be making up anti-Semitic smears to try and harm the Labour party, so Labour should insist on seeing evidence of this supposedly widespread problem.

    • I should add that I’ve already voted for all of the JC9. And I would vote for the same nine again.

    • Shouldn’t all such offenses be reported to the police? I envy the strength of mind one would need to persist being in a group people knowing that anything might happen or be said that would terrify one. Regards

    • I watched two cats over the road having a good old fight tonight. Twas very noisy and fur flew.
      They were so busy with their business they did’nt notice the fox that had been watching them with great interest.
      The rest was history.

      • The Jewish Chronicle describes the tape recording as a ‘bombshell’ So why was it publicised on 30 July when the JC admits that the meeting took place on 13 July?

        They sat on it so that it could be used to cost the left a seat on the NEC is the obvious conclusion. Very obvious synthetic anger.

      • Correction: 17 July.

        they were so shocked by it that they sat on it for 13 days!

  2. If Lansman has had a hand in this as was warned, it should be Lansman’s name removed from the slate and more reason to vote for Pete Willsman.

      • Because of the things Lansman has said against Corbyn would he really be an asset on the NEC? Don’t forget,he tried to run against Jennie Formby.

        Are you saying that in the whole of the Labour Party we can’t find anyone better than Lansman to represent us?

      • It’s not an option at this late stage, though. One hurdle at a time

    • Many WLG members in Wales are NOT voting for Lansman who has become a very divisive character, who many don’t trust.

  3. I voted for Willsman & NOT for Lansman and encourage others to do the same. Criticising Israeli land-theft & apartheis is NOT antisemitic!!!

      • “If you owned a beautiful historic house that until three years ago had been a happy home, and squatters moved in and trashed it, you wouldn’t walk away and build another, far smaller house, or kip in a tent in the local park. You would fight to get it back.”

        This is how Luke Akehurst regards the Corbyn-led Labour Party. His utter contempt for the membership is all too obvious. Disunity will only help him and his allies. Does anybody want to help him?

        I hope not.

  4. I have voted for Willsman and so will others I know in solidarity for the labour party. I too have withdrawn from Momentum.

  5. Have already voted but if I hadn’t would be considering leaving Lansman off rather than Willsman especially in view of Mr Lansmans inept performance on Channel 4 news the other night when he had the opportunity to call out the station for the preceding item in which a schoolgirl linked her being bullied to remarks made by Mr Corbyn. I guess cancelling my membership is a self defeating step but will certainly make my views known. Perhaps change needed at the top with these slates that we all support without question creating too cosy a cartel.

  6. I have just read this and can’t fucking beleive it . I have sent my resignation from Momentum tonight .
    Fucking IDIOTS

    • AND I’VE VOTED FOR ALL 9 AND THAT INC PETE WILSMAN .
      Stuff this stupid virtue signalling decsion , to all those yet to vote I urge you all on the left to vote for ALL 9 on the left slate , it’s the only chance we the membership have of regaining our party !

      • You stupid stupid fools you have handed such a prize to the RW tonight they are in clover land and will really really go for it now , they sense blood and victory as the unity of the left disintegrates and the Momentum Leadership is responsible

  7. I have also resigned from Momentum tonight following their unprincipled, cowardly and bizarre decision.

  8. I haven’t voted yet, but Willsman I’ll vote for – no question – So SkwawkB, what about Landsman for those, like me, who haven’t registered their vote yet?

    • Have to vote for Lansman too. Any lost seat on the NEC is as damaging for the democracy review and the other changes planned for next year. Doesn’t matter who isn’t filling it

  9. “Momentum has announced this evening that it has withdrawn its support for veteran left NEC member Peter Willsman in the vital election for nine places on Labour’s NEC (National Executive Committee).”

    I’m shocked, I tell you, shocked… not!

    “The SKWAWKBOX asks all readers and all Labour members who have not yet cast their ballots to remember solidarity, to see the big picture and the prize at stake – and to vote, without exception, for the full slate of nine left candidates, then tweet and Facebook your choice so the ‘momentum’ of the left’s project is maintained undiminished.”

    I sincerely hope the majority of members heed this call. Lansman can be dealt with, if needs be, in due course.

      • Absolutely not. Job to be done first and the loss of anyone from the slate will be just as damaging. Discipline and priorities – the democracy review comes first.

      • Well there certainly wont be a due course if there is no discipline in steps to reach the end goal! The working class will be back to no economic representation and LP will be back in the hands of liberal imperialists.

        In my opinion this intervention has been carefully timed to finish the job of trashing the left NEC slate.

    • Just remember,when saying Momentum,you mean Lansman.I wasn’t going to vote for him anyway,this has just underlined how right I was.I will be voting for Wilsman.

  10. Step forward the sacrificial lamb! Ashamed to say I didn’t vote Willsman but should have guessed the duplicity of Lansman and his merry crew. I will not resign. I’ll fight on. Fool me once. Shame on you. Fool me twice…..etc.0

  11. OK , sorry, I was so angry i didn’t’ read it properly and now I see that the advice is to vote for Lansman too. I’m sure I will, for the greater good etc, but hard to sit there and do nothing about these people and their ambivalences. I’ve already spent the best part of this evening trying to get my head around John McD. All these loose canons doing their thing on the media. Where is our united front ?

      • Re “What’s he done?” Nothing to support Corbyn over Hodges’s behaviour, Julie and an article in the Independent that seems to give more credence/validity to the great A.S. con than it deserves. Perhaps it’s personally redemptive for him, but not very helpful in the bigger picture. It’s the lack of a coordinated response that I find so frustrating.

      • It’s what he hasn’t done,won’t do you should be asking. He was on Ch4 news last night giving the kindly uncle routine and expressing his dismay at the left’s “problem with antisemitism”.

  12. Long before this recent thing blew up I had already decided not to vote for Lansman because I had heard him announce (on two different occasions) that he is actually training people up to become “antisemitism investigators” who will interview Momentum members. I am NOT making this up.

  13. Maybe we should all keep calm. I’ve already voted, how many people got an e-mail ballot and voted within a day or 2 of getting it? Momentum knew of PW comments for a couple of weeks, right? Still endorsed him. They send emails asking members if they have voted, who they voted for etc, so they may have a good idea that the JC9 is out in front and on course to win.

    This COULD be a PR move by Momentum, knowing that the JC9 will win the vote. Get to conference, get the changes done. And then PW can stand down — and with the changes in place, there will be a by-election for his position, where we can get another left-wing candidate elected in his place. PW just takes one for the team in the mean time.

    Don’t throw the towel in with Momentum just yet, imo.

    • Nice thought but I doubt it , and why should Pete stand down , he’s done NOTHING wrong , sorry but I disagree .

    • The key thing in all this is that Pete Willsman has done/said absolutely nothing whatsoever wrong, and ‘Momentum’ – whatever that amounts to in terms of decision-making – HAVE got it wrong. Totally, totally wrong! And THAT is it for me, and I have just contacted them to ask them how I go about cancelling my membership. And I think we can all be pretty certain of one thing, and that is that the vast majority of Momentum members are well aware that just about ALL the allegations of A/S against the Left are false and contrived and concocted AND that Pete Willsman is just the latest victim of this black op. INCLUDING Jon Lansman! I would recommend that everyone cancel their membership of Momentum. Enough is enough!!

      (and just for the record, I already voted for the JC9 a few days ago)

  14. Already voted for the whole slate and don’t regret it one bit. Would vote for him again, there is a worrying culture amongst those few in the media who represent the Corbyn side of the party only being too ready to throw other socialists under the bus to attempt to appease the witchfinders. They are playing right into their hands. I can only hope that pete already has enough votes to get a slot on the NEC anyway.

    A part from JC quitting and handing over the reigns to some austerity supporting arsehole no amount of appeasing these Blairite Witchfinders will stop this crusade until they are ready to leave the party after toxifying it then swanning off to start SDP 2.0.

  15. Last week Landsman said “Key measures could come down to a single vote, and we can’t let further reform be endangered by not taking this election seriously”. Well I wonder when is the joke going to stop then? People should not vote for Landsman and make him drop down the list of 9, since we know Anne Black isn’t the worse either it is not such a big risk to take.

  16. I have voted for all of the #JC9 slate and would do so again. Corbyn’s enemies are playing divide and rule. Don’t let them succeed.

    And I will remain a member of Momentum too because it is 40,000 Corbyn supporters not just Lansman. Nothing will be gained by fragmenting Corbyn’s organisational base.

    If you want to register a protest, then do it via email or social.media to Lansman and the other members of the Momentum NCG.

    • Waste of effort , the response will be rubbish and meaningless, Momentum represents a small part of all the grass roots movement and I will continue my support for COrbyn via the grass roots efforts /activities and at CLP level , not via Momentum any more , not until the NCG is reviewed and changed for the better .

  17. If the the left keep chucking their own under a bus while the right give theirs a free bus pass how long before there are no socialists left in the party.

  18. What on earth are the Momentum “leadership” up to? Any comment from CLPD or LRC?

  19. Looks like Lansman has been got at. He has changed and become much more disruptive, strange. As Momentum has no democratic checks or structure he was always a risk.

  20. I have voted, and Lansman got my vote. I expect him to remain on the NEC. How could they do that, no backbone to weather this storm in a teacup, as people like to say.

  21. What’s going on? When you need Momentum to be string in the face of these false anti semitic claims ..it let’s us down, starting with the suspension of Jackie Walker. Well I for one will vote for Willsman but not Lansman. I don’t trust him.

  22. I voted for PW before the furore and would fo so again without hesitation. I’m just sorry I voted for Lansman. Politicking basteds.

  23. I’ve voted for the 9, saw Lansman had twittered earlier that he had too! Switched newsnight off in disgust at Ellman so missed the retraction. Caving in to the narrative laid down by her and her cronies will get us nowhere in this classic witch-hunt mayhem.

  24. Hopefully we can replace this spineless NCG elected board some time in the future, hope at that time you will remind those of us still in Momentum who these people are so we can vote fresh people in.

  25. Blow that, I’m voting for him. How weak to cave in like that when the allegation is nonsense! Craven is the word that springs to mind.

  26. Momentum has done the right’s job for them and split Corbyn supporters. Momentum can no longer be counted as any part of the left. Never mind a second Brexit vote I demand a second NEC vote and it won’t be for Lansman and crew.

  27. Slightly off message. Luciana Berger on LBC,when asked for evidence of AS,offered the example of two Labour councillors suspended this week. One claims his Twitter account was hacked in the other case it is unclear if the remark he made is anti Semitic. An investigation is taking place therefore Ms Bergers remarks are a clear breach of protocol as she is saying they have been accused therefore they are guilty.I would urge everyone to complain to the party regarding this flagrant act.

    • According to the New Truth It is always unclear if any remark made by anyone is anti Semitic.

  28. Ive just joined CPLD as they are still firmly backing Pete Wilsman , unlike the SPINELESS Momentum NCG , my Momentum subs now go to CPLD . Well done CPLD for standing up for the Left !

    • Slighly off topic: it actually costs MORE to be a member of Momentum than to be a member of the Labour Party. And look what Momentum is doing with the money !

    • Agreed – a witty, compassionate and definitive response to the current situation. He also offers a compelling perspective on Hodge “Stand down Margaret” – recommended!

    • Rob, thanks for posting that.

      This bit is so apt:
      “Meanwhile the heat is on any dissident Jews who stray from complete obedience to the Thought Police of the Jewish establishment organisations and complete agreement with the very flawed IHRA document, that 40 Jewish organisations from 15 countries have heavily criticised.

      This is so unlike the Jewish culture I grew up in. A friend posted on a discussion the other day: “Whatever happened to two Jews, three opinions.” I replied: “In a cost-cutting exercise they have reduced it to one opinion.” A joke – only it isn’t. We are letting people impose a form of totalitarianism”.

  29. I will vote Willsman because of recent events but have no confidence in the Fake Left Momentum slate because Momentum is an avowedly pro-capitalist group essentially no different from the Labour right wing. The abandonment of Willsman proves it. Benn, Heffer, Maynard etc must spin in their graves..

  30. How can a movement be built if people abandon it when one thing happens which they’re not happy with? Stay with Momentum! Stay and fight. Discipline!

  31. For me, willsman’s craven apology shows me he’s got no backbone and therefore doesn’t even deserve a nomination, nevermind a seat on the NEC.

    But when you realise the alternative’s eddie f***ing dullard – sorry, izzard…Urghhhhh!

    But I’m not a member, so…

    • I too was disappointed in Willsman’s apology but I get the impression it was for his ‘outburst’ and not what he said, he has rightfully refused to stand down. We need him on the NEC to open up the democratic structures of the Party closed off by Blair. Any one who is hated by Tom Watson is good in my book.

      • Isn’t willsman disliked by galloway too? Sure I read that somewhere.

        If he’s unpopular to those two, representing a fairly wide consensus…That said, I can’t stand either galloway or watson; where would that leave me?

    • It’s people like Izzard who nearly broke the left, with their obsessive faction politicking and personalities over policy.

  32. The left have got to stop running scared every time some Blue Labour type starts accusing people of antisemitism. I’m sick of this. The Labour Party is not the natural constituency of antisemitism and we have to demand that these right wingers produce evidence of it as we are all living through Arthur Miller’s “The Crucible” in actuality. Antisemitism, McCarthy’s “communist infiltration” and the Salem witch-hunts, all entirely fraudulent shams for the furtherance of malevolent ambitions, in this case, of turning Labour back into a Tory tribute act.

    • And WHO exactly is gonna demand it of them? And we hardly need evidence – or lack of it – to know that the vast majority of the allegations are bogus and false and contrived.

  33. I think it’s time for a rethink about Momentum. They are too involved with factional candidates and over the years the left has swallowed its own tail arguing about issues like LGBT and minority representation. This has done a lot of damage as all people see is a frantic and continuous politics between factions while a real commitment to finding the common good is ignored. It is this factionalism that has allowed situations like the Turkish family to take over the local party machinery.
    Labour voters outside London think Momentum are a load of right-on luvvies….and they’re not wrong really. Momentum are so hung up on diversity they are alienating the working class.

  34. Rule One: You do not run away under fire. Get back to the front and do your bleedin’ duty.

    • That’s the kind of attitude that sometimes puts me off the Labour Party: some people thinking they can tell others what to do.

  35. This onslaught of attacks must be resisted. See letter from academics in the Guardian stating that this constant barrage of attacks must stop.

  36. Pingback: Momentum withdrawal of Willsman support is idiotic, reckless and must be reversed — The SKWAWKBOX | sdbast·

  37. I’m sure everyone has noticed that those who are out to destroy us have been using trigger words. For example when Pete Willsman says something it’s an “outburst” or a “rant”. You’ll also have noticed that many of their statements a prefaced with an introductory remark intended to influence the reader before they start reading. Along lines of “the Jewish community will be shocked to read….” etc. This is all being carefully organised.

  38. I have cancelled my Momentum membership in disgust. I never did trust Lansman and still don’t, but I dutifully voted the slate. Glad to see that Matt Wrack has come out in support of Pete Willsman.

  39. As a Left-Wing Jew I really resent this action on the part of an organisation that I am part of through Welsh Labour Grassroots, who have also issued criticism of this decision. Furious if Lansman is part of this!

  40. Do not leave Momentum. You are being manipulated into breaking up an important left wing force. People do leave Progress and Labour First over a disagreement – they keep solidarity. Sort problems out – do not create new ones. And vote for the JC9!

    • Simple enough to re-join IF the NCG retract the stupid decision .BUT there HAS to be a MASSIVE protest and the best one that the Momentum organisation might just listen to is the withdrawal of ones support and money !
      This is NOT a minor or trivial issue and I am not referring just to the false AS but the more important one behind it of supporting and defending the principle of free speech , as well as making a principled stand against the victimisation of an individual .
      I feel that if there is no retraction then the Momentum Membership should put forward a vote of NO Confidence in the NCG and demand fresh ballots .
      It is not acceptable for a handful of people on that committee to be able to make such a hugely important decision with very far reaching and long lasting consequences ( ie no JC Labour Govt in power ) without consultation of the wider membership .

      • Unfortunately the fact is that in effect, Momentum is a private company with a Chair (Lansman) and a Board of Directors.

  41. Just cast my votes for all JC9 NEC candidates and Momentum’s slate for the NPF: https://peoplesmomentum.com/2018/03/06/national-policy-forum-2018/

    Dear SB, given this mess is likely to cause a drop in support for Willsman, might it be helpful to pin a blog/twitter post restating the JC9 candidates and your recommendation that JC supporters stick with that slate regardless?

    Anything to cut through the quite intentional smoke screen.

  42. The difference between the Labour Left and the Labour Right used to be that the Labour Right wanted to keep capitalism and the Labour Left wanted to replace it. The tsunami of 40 years of neoliberalism changed all that. The Labour Left capitulated.

    Accordingly we now have Momentum – a left-liberal, non-socialist organisation designed to ensure that the Labour Left never, ever adopts a socialist programme and that the Left retreats to the objective of ‘a kinder gentler capitalism’ (as the first President Bush expressed his own vaunted aim).

    But alas under conditions of globalisation and corporate concentration there is no ‘kinder gentler capitalism’ on offer. Either we adopt the aim of a planned economy based on a large proportion of the economy being in public ownership, or else we enforce neoliberalism brutally like Syriza in Greece. Momentum’s betrayal of Comrade Willsman indicates that the real purpose of Momentum is to ensure that the Labour Left goes down the latter road.

    • Sorry Danny but disagree , yes perhaps Lansman( not proven and I am no fan of his ) was responsible but so was a small grp on the NCG , and they need to be kicked off and replaced , no question . They do not however , represent the whole of Momentum and its many dedicated true socilists who’s only aim is to have a socilist JC lead Govt and there’s 40K of them when I last heard .

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