Willsman clarifies Momentum jibe – but attacks M-democracy under Lansman. Lansman responds

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National Executive Committee (NEC) veteran Peter Willsman was re-elected last week to the NEC in spite of the ill-advised decision by a subset of Momentum’s National Coordinating Group to withdraw support for his candidacy after the misrepresentation by the Establishment of leaked comments by Willsman at the July NEC meeting. Other left groups – including many local Momentum groups – stayed solidly behind him.

After the result, Willsman thumbed his nose at ‘Momentum’ with a pointed statement comparing its politics with that of outgoing NEC member Eddie Izzard, who has self-identified as a Blairite.

But Willsman has now issued a clarification to reassure ordinary Momentum members and local groups that his jibe was not aimed at them – but also added a new barb aimed at Momentum founder Jon Lansman:

For clarification for any comrades who may be confused – my critique of Momentum was, of course, ONLY directed at the Central Committee controlled by Uncle Jon. No one else in Momentum has any, or will ever have any, power or influence whatsoever over Momentum.

Clearly the issue is still a tender one.

The SKWAWKBOX contacted Jon Lansman for comment, who responded:

I think readers will be able to make their own judgement on the quality of Pete’s judgement and his commitment to uniting the Left on such issues as the leadership threshold and open selections.

Update 10.45pm 12 Sep: Willsman has fired back:

Uncle Jon is confused. I have made no public comment on either of those issues. CLPD EC is ìn the process of discussing them both. When has Momentum’s Central Committee discussed them and what is its views on both? I can then feed this into CLPD’s discussion.

SKWAWKBOX comment:

The Willsman/Momentum issue has highlighted valid concerns about Momentum’s democratic processes and there are clearly issues between two of the most influential of the member-representatives on the NEC.

But for the sake of the movement, both men and their supporters need to be focused on the task at hand and the needs of the project and movement. Egos and rivalries must not be indulged – nor must the movement be sidetracked by attempts to keep the Establishment media onside – and that need for discipline applies right across the board, from the NEC to the grassroots.

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  1. I firmly believe that Momentum members need to organise themselves,the central body should be used for communication purposes where meetings and events can be advertised. Personally I don’t need to told centrally how to think, but we do need to be able to communicate among ourselves and the wider community.

  2. So, willsman’s gonna antagonise instead of being humbled by the support he received and cause internal strife on a different front, is he?

    What a guy. Didn’t have the balls to refuse to apologise; but now takes the exact same arrogant stance as the co-operative MP’s who think because they’re elected they’re the dog’s danglin’ bits.

    Well, just like them, willsman isn’t.

    I’m no fan of either he or lansman, but ffs even I’d zip it for now and bide me time for a more pertinent moment in future.

    I really struggle to find a reason as to why the grass roots on the left bother, at times.

  3. The dropping of Willsman from the Left slate was autocratic and it has never been satisfactorily explained to the members of Momentum without whom neither Lansman or Willsman would be enjoying NEC status. Luckily Momentum is bigger than the pair of them.

  4. I don’t like bickering. I am very wary of Mr Lansman. I think that Momentum needs a Democratic review. It appears to be run by a small clique. I am a member. I think it does great work for Labour. But…..

  5. Yes I am afraid perhaps some bourgeois traits from the old left (by behaviour and not age) at the top of Momentum?
    Perhaps they need to learn to let go but perhaps as some suggest may want to take the power for themselves and to be on the top table.
    I believe all Momentum members/Grassroots Labour should select and elect for example the JC9 NEC next time and I have already posted some draft ideas on this, I would get a resolution to my Momentum Group on this but we have not met for 2 bloody years!
    But only those at the top of Momentum/Grassroots Labour can facilitate this so can they practice within what we would like for society as a whole?
    My concern is that many diverse socialist stars who may burst with ideas are being held back but can the old guard (though decent Pro JC socialists) let go though and they can still put themselves forward up against those with new ideas. Watch this space!
    I make these points comradely, the Left should have won the JC9 by much much more and some of the Left are getting fed up of being told top down who to vote for.
    Change or the Right will continue to try to exploit this Left unease!

  6. For me the big issue is the Labour Left’s surrender on its ultimate objectives for the country.

    Gone is the Left’s commitment to a planned economy enforced by public ownership – just at the time when it is particularly needed with the banking crisis, austerity, the housing crisis and Gordon Brown’s reminder that a second financial crisis is looming.

    The emptiness on economic policy creates fertile soil for a government of Syriza style ‘socialist cuts’.

    I suspect Momentum’s role is to see that the Labour Left remains left-liberal in its orientation and does not stray back onto socialist ground

  7. Pete Willsman makes a lot of sense I chose him and he isn’t of mincing his words. Lansman is a supporter of LFI and he isn’t no leftie than Willsman who speaks the truth

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