Building Momentum for an Open Labour Party

By James Doran / @doran_j

When I heard that Open Labour had been established, I was delighted.

Why, though? I am involved with Momentum. Should I not see Open Labour as a threat?

If we can think of Momentum as a kind of enlarged and updated Campaign Group, then Open Labour aims to do the same for the Tribune Group.

For people who don’t get the references, it is simpler to say that Open Labour is a relative of Momentum.

Those of us who are strong supporters of the platform on which the leader was elected will need to relate to all sections of the party. Closest to us, I feel, are those organising in Open Labour.

I might be wrong, but I feel Open Labour will be supportive of the three main objectives of the platform on which Labour’s leader was elected:

1) Democratise our party to democratise our society

2) Create a vision of Labour prosperity to replace Tory austerity

3) Develop an ethical foreign policy to promote human rights and international co-operation.

In the 2010 leadership contest, I was politically closer to Diane than Ed, but I felt the right Miliband had won. But big problem for Ed was the lack of an organisation that would defend the platform on which he was elected – something that Tony Blair and to an extent Gordon Brown had before.

So commitments to involve members in determining policy were abandoned, and Ed faced threats of a palace coup.

Initial good relations with the wider labour movement were also abandoned under pressure to avoid the “Red Ed” tag.

Without a formal organisation to defend the positions he had taken in the leadership contest, he was isolated. The tragedy is that Compass, an organisation which could have defended his platform, had opened out to be more than a Labour faction. That might make sense for Compass, but what can’t be argued is that it did not leave behind a hole within Labour for active people who supported its politics through the party.

With the pressures we are now under, it is too easy to fear each other. To doubt the good intentions of comrades. So, as someone who supports Momentum, I welcome Open Labour.

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