Lansman of #Momentum damns #Corbyn with faint praise & stabs him in back with #Labour leadership plot

Standard

uniteLogo

Momentum Image

Exclusive: Grassroots group hopes to harness power of UK’s largest union, Unite, and secure succession after Jeremy Corbyn.

A hard-left plot by supporters of Jeremy Corbyn to seize permanent control of the Labour party and consolidate their power by formally joining forces with the super-union Unite can be revealed by the Observer.

The plans, described on Saturday by Labour’s deputy leader Tom Watson as “entryism” and a covert attempt by a leftwing faction to take over the party, were spelled out in detail by Jon Lansman, the founder of the grassroots organisation Momentum, who was secretly recorded addressing supporters at a meeting of a new branch of the organisation in Richmond, south London, on 1 March.

On the tape, obtained by the Observer, Lansman issues a call to arms to Momentum supporters, saying they need to make sure the left is far better represented in key positions at all levels of the party so they have control over the levers of power when Corbyn departs and the succession is decided.

Most controversially, Lansman says that if his ally Len McCluskey secures re-election as general secretary of Unite in an internal election next month, the super-union will then link directly to Momentum by formally affiliating to it, in what critics fear would amount to a massive shift of power and financial resources to the pro-Corbyn left.

Announcing what he implies is a done deal with McCluskey, Lansman tells the audience: “Assuming that Len McCluskey wins the general secretaryship, which I think he will, Unite will affiliate to Momentum and will fully participate in Momentum, as will the CWU [the Communications Workers’ Union].”

The extent to which the left is mobilising behind the scenes and looking to Unite to back it at national and constituency levels will greatly alarm Labour moderates. Lansman spells out how Momentum currently lacks money. His mention of a link-up with Unite will invite inevitable speculation that the country’s biggest union – and Labour’s largest donor – is preparing to give money, as well as organisational support, to Momentum, too.

Labour activist calls for hard left to take over party – audio

News of the plans will also alarm the many Labour MPs who sought to oust Corbyn in a coup last summer, and who now worry that leftwing activists and some Unite insiders are laying plans to deselect them in a mass purge before the next election.

Watson, a Unite member, voiced his deep concern about what he said looked like “a private agreement to fund a political faction that is apparently planning to take control of the Labour party, as well as organise in the GMB and Unison”.

He said it was evidence of the kind of “entryism” he had warned about. “I warned last year of entryism and no one can now doubt that threat is a real one,” Watson said. “For Unite to affiliate to Momentum it would require the approval of its executive committee. I hope Len McCluskey hasn’t made promises without clearing them through the democratic structures of our union.”

A spokesperson for Momentum said: “Jon Lansman was speaking in an aspirational manner about the possibility of Unite and the CWU affiliating to Momentum and stating that if they did choose to do so they would, like other affiliated unions, be able to take part in Momentum’s affairs by having a seat on its national co-ordinating group. Momentum’s constitution allows for up to six places for trade union affiliates, which have been taken up by some unions already.” Momentum sources said Unite had not given it any funds up to now and that there were no current plans for Unite to affiliate to Momentum.

A Unite spokesman said affiliation decisions could not be made by the general secretary alone: “Affiliation to Momentum is a matter for our executive council alone and no discussion on the matter is scheduled.”

At the meeting, Lansman suggested that one urgent task was to boost the left’s representation in key positions – particularly on the national executive committee (NEC) – so it could secure rule changes that would help install a leftwing successor to Corbyn.

It is, he says, “absolutely crucial” that the left is strong enough to ensure there is a change to party rules that currently require candidates for the leadership – in the event of a vacancy – to secure backing from at least 15% of MPs and MEPs. A hard-left candidate is thought unlikely to be able to reach the 15% threshold. But if it can be lowered, then the left’s choice will be in a far stronger position to get on the ballot and follow in Corbyn’s footsteps by winning the vote of the mass membership.

Last night, Gerard Coyne, the Unite official who is challenging McCluskey, said there appeared to be a plot to use union members’ cash to fund the hard left. “This shocking revelation reveals a secret hard-left plot by Len McCluskey to seize control of the Labour party in perpetuity using cash taken from hard-working members of Unite,” Coyne said.

“As far as Len McCluskey is concerned, Unite’s members’ money is his to play with as he chooses, from taking out a loan to allow him to buy a luxury London apartment to propping up the ultra left. This is not what trade unions are for. It is time for a change.”

Lansman says on the tape that Corbyn and John McDonnell, the shadow chancellor, personally asked him to exclude members of the Socialist party (the successor to Militant Tendency) from Momentum owing to the embarrassment they were causing. But he made clear to the audience that, despite changing Momentum’s rules so that only people who were Labour members could join, this would not be enforced in such a way as to exclude people. “There is no one to my knowledge in Momentum – certainly not me – who wishes to exclude people. It was important to require Labour party membership in the rules, but it is down to enforcement. No one from the centre is going to tell you to kick people out.”

The Momentum spokesperson explained that its previous steering committee voted to introduce its new constitution to deliver the campaigning movement its members wanted. “As such, new members of Momentum must be members of Labour to join Momentum, and existing members of Momentum have the opportunity to join the party by 1 July.”

Secret tape reveals Momentum plot to seize control of Labour

(Guardian, 18th March 2017)

Jon Lansman of #Momentum puts blame for #Labour’s #Copeland defeat fairly and squarely on #Corbyn

Standard

uniteLogo

Momentum Image

Exclusive: Grassroots group hopes to harness power of UK’s largest union, Unite, and secure succession after Jeremy Corbyn.

A hard-left plot by supporters of Jeremy Corbyn to seize permanent control of the Labour party and consolidate their power by formally joining forces with the super-union Unite can be revealed by the Observer.

The plans, described on Saturday by Labour’s deputy leader Tom Watson as “entryism” and a covert attempt by a leftwing faction to take over the party, were spelled out in detail by Jon Lansman, the founder of the grassroots organisation Momentum, who was secretly recorded addressing supporters at a meeting of a new branch of the organisation in Richmond, south London, on 1 March.

On the tape, obtained by the Observer, Lansman issues a call to arms to Momentum supporters, saying they need to make sure the left is far better represented in key positions at all levels of the party so they have control over the levers of power when Corbyn departs and the succession is decided.

Most controversially, Lansman says that if his ally Len McCluskey secures re-election as general secretary of Unite in an internal election next month, the super-union will then link directly to Momentum by formally affiliating to it, in what critics fear would amount to a massive shift of power and financial resources to the pro-Corbyn left.

Announcing what he implies is a done deal with McCluskey, Lansman tells the audience: “Assuming that Len McCluskey wins the general secretaryship, which I think he will, Unite will affiliate to Momentum and will fully participate in Momentum, as will the CWU [the Communications Workers’ Union].”

The extent to which the left is mobilising behind the scenes and looking to Unite to back it at national and constituency levels will greatly alarm Labour moderates. Lansman spells out how Momentum currently lacks money. His mention of a link-up with Unite will invite inevitable speculation that the country’s biggest union – and Labour’s largest donor – is preparing to give money, as well as organisational support, to Momentum, too.

Labour activist calls for hard left to take over party – audio

News of the plans will also alarm the many Labour MPs who sought to oust Corbyn in a coup last summer, and who now worry that leftwing activists and some Unite insiders are laying plans to deselect them in a mass purge before the next election.

Watson, a Unite member, voiced his deep concern about what he said looked like “a private agreement to fund a political faction that is apparently planning to take control of the Labour party, as well as organise in the GMB and Unison”.

He said it was evidence of the kind of “entryism” he had warned about. “I warned last year of entryism and no one can now doubt that threat is a real one,” Watson said. “For Unite to affiliate to Momentum it would require the approval of its executive committee. I hope Len McCluskey hasn’t made promises without clearing them through the democratic structures of our union.”

A spokesperson for Momentum said: “Jon Lansman was speaking in an aspirational manner about the possibility of Unite and the CWU affiliating to Momentum and stating that if they did choose to do so they would, like other affiliated unions, be able to take part in Momentum’s affairs by having a seat on its national co-ordinating group. Momentum’s constitution allows for up to six places for trade union affiliates, which have been taken up by some unions already.” Momentum sources said Unite had not given it any funds up to now and that there were no current plans for Unite to affiliate to Momentum.

A Unite spokesman said affiliation decisions could not be made by the general secretary alone: “Affiliation to Momentum is a matter for our executive council alone and no discussion on the matter is scheduled.”

At the meeting, Lansman suggested that one urgent task was to boost the left’s representation in key positions – particularly on the national executive committee (NEC) – so it could secure rule changes that would help install a leftwing successor to Corbyn.

It is, he says, “absolutely crucial” that the left is strong enough to ensure there is a change to party rules that currently require candidates for the leadership – in the event of a vacancy – to secure backing from at least 15% of MPs and MEPs. A hard-left candidate is thought unlikely to be able to reach the 15% threshold. But if it can be lowered, then the left’s choice will be in a far stronger position to get on the ballot and follow in Corbyn’s footsteps by winning the vote of the mass membership.

Last night, Gerard Coyne, the Unite official who is challenging McCluskey, said there appeared to be a plot to use union members’ cash to fund the hard left. “This shocking revelation reveals a secret hard-left plot by Len McCluskey to seize control of the Labour party in perpetuity using cash taken from hard-working members of Unite,” Coyne said.

“As far as Len McCluskey is concerned, Unite’s members’ money is his to play with as he chooses, from taking out a loan to allow him to buy a luxury London apartment to propping up the ultra left. This is not what trade unions are for. It is time for a change.”

Lansman says on the tape that Corbyn and John McDonnell, the shadow chancellor, personally asked him to exclude members of the Socialist party (the successor to Militant Tendency) from Momentum owing to the embarrassment they were causing. But he made clear to the audience that, despite changing Momentum’s rules so that only people who were Labour members could join, this would not be enforced in such a way as to exclude people. “There is no one to my knowledge in Momentum – certainly not me – who wishes to exclude people. It was important to require Labour party membership in the rules, but it is down to enforcement. No one from the centre is going to tell you to kick people out.”

The Momentum spokesperson explained that its previous steering committee voted to introduce its new constitution to deliver the campaigning movement its members wanted. “As such, new members of Momentum must be members of Labour to join Momentum, and existing members of Momentum have the opportunity to join the party by 1 July.”

Secret tape reveals Momentum plot to seize control of Labour

(Guardian, 18th March 2017)

 

Secret tape reveals #Momentum plot to use #Unite to help seize control of #Labour #VoteCoyne

Standard

uniteLogo

Momentum Image

Exclusive: Grassroots group hopes to harness power of UK’s largest union, Unite, and secure succession after Jeremy Corbyn.

A hard-left plot by supporters of Jeremy Corbyn to seize permanent control of the Labour party and consolidate their power by formally joining forces with the super-union Unite can be revealed by the Observer.

The plans, described on Saturday by Labour’s deputy leader Tom Watson as “entryism” and a covert attempt by a leftwing faction to take over the party, were spelled out in detail by Jon Lansman, the founder of the grassroots organisation Momentum, who was secretly recorded addressing supporters at a meeting of a new branch of the organisation in Richmond, south London, on 1 March.

On the tape, obtained by the Observer, Lansman issues a call to arms to Momentum supporters, saying they need to make sure the left is far better represented in key positions at all levels of the party so they have control over the levers of power when Corbyn departs and the succession is decided.

Most controversially, Lansman says that if his ally Len McCluskey secures re-election as general secretary of Unite in an internal election next month, the super-union will then link directly to Momentum by formally affiliating to it, in what critics fear would amount to a massive shift of power and financial resources to the pro-Corbyn left.

Announcing what he implies is a done deal with McCluskey, Lansman tells the audience: “Assuming that Len McCluskey wins the general secretaryship, which I think he will, Unite will affiliate to Momentum and will fully participate in Momentum, as will the CWU [the Communications Workers’ Union].”

The extent to which the left is mobilising behind the scenes and looking to Unite to back it at national and constituency levels will greatly alarm Labour moderates. Lansman spells out how Momentum currently lacks money. His mention of a link-up with Unite will invite inevitable speculation that the country’s biggest union – and Labour’s largest donor – is preparing to give money, as well as organisational support, to Momentum, too.

Labour activist calls for hard left to take over party – audio

News of the plans will also alarm the many Labour MPs who sought to oust Corbyn in a coup last summer, and who now worry that leftwing activists and some Unite insiders are laying plans to deselect them in a mass purge before the next election.

Watson, a Unite member, voiced his deep concern about what he said looked like “a private agreement to fund a political faction that is apparently planning to take control of the Labour party, as well as organise in the GMB and Unison”.

He said it was evidence of the kind of “entryism” he had warned about. “I warned last year of entryism and no one can now doubt that threat is a real one,” Watson said. “For Unite to affiliate to Momentum it would require the approval of its executive committee. I hope Len McCluskey hasn’t made promises without clearing them through the democratic structures of our union.”

A spokesperson for Momentum said: “Jon Lansman was speaking in an aspirational manner about the possibility of Unite and the CWU affiliating to Momentum and stating that if they did choose to do so they would, like other affiliated unions, be able to take part in Momentum’s affairs by having a seat on its national co-ordinating group. Momentum’s constitution allows for up to six places for trade union affiliates, which have been taken up by some unions already.” Momentum sources said Unite had not given it any funds up to now and that there were no current plans for Unite to affiliate to Momentum.

A Unite spokesman said affiliation decisions could not be made by the general secretary alone: “Affiliation to Momentum is a matter for our executive council alone and no discussion on the matter is scheduled.”

At the meeting, Lansman suggested that one urgent task was to boost the left’s representation in key positions – particularly on the national executive committee (NEC) – so it could secure rule changes that would help install a leftwing successor to Corbyn.

It is, he says, “absolutely crucial” that the left is strong enough to ensure there is a change to party rules that currently require candidates for the leadership – in the event of a vacancy – to secure backing from at least 15% of MPs and MEPs. A hard-left candidate is thought unlikely to be able to reach the 15% threshold. But if it can be lowered, then the left’s choice will be in a far stronger position to get on the ballot and follow in Corbyn’s footsteps by winning the vote of the mass membership.

Last night, Gerard Coyne, the Unite official who is challenging McCluskey, said there appeared to be a plot to use union members’ cash to fund the hard left. “This shocking revelation reveals a secret hard-left plot by Len McCluskey to seize control of the Labour party in perpetuity using cash taken from hard-working members of Unite,” Coyne said.

“As far as Len McCluskey is concerned, Unite’s members’ money is his to play with as he chooses, from taking out a loan to allow him to buy a luxury London apartment to propping up the ultra left. This is not what trade unions are for. It is time for a change.”

Lansman says on the tape that Corbyn and John McDonnell, the shadow chancellor, personally asked him to exclude members of the Socialist party (the successor to Militant Tendency) from Momentum owing to the embarrassment they were causing. But he made clear to the audience that, despite changing Momentum’s rules so that only people who were Labour members could join, this would not be enforced in such a way as to exclude people. “There is no one to my knowledge in Momentum – certainly not me – who wishes to exclude people. It was important to require Labour party membership in the rules, but it is down to enforcement. No one from the centre is going to tell you to kick people out.”

The Momentum spokesperson explained that its previous steering committee voted to introduce its new constitution to deliver the campaigning movement its members wanted. “As such, new members of Momentum must be members of Labour to join Momentum, and existing members of Momentum have the opportunity to join the party by 1 July.”

Secret tape reveals Momentum plot to seize control of Labour

(Guardian, 18th March 2017)

 

“a home in #Unite for members of Jewish community, as there is for every faith,” says Gerard #VoteCoyne

Standard

web_top_photo_banner_-_gc_rgb

The challenger for the leadership of Unite, Britain’s biggest trade union, has issued a devastating critique of current general secretary Len McCluskey’s relationship with Britain’s Jewish community.

Gerard Coyne told the JC he believed three senior members of Unite, with close links to Mr McCluskey and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, had chosen to “defend the indefensible” when they backed two individuals at the centre of an antisemitism enquiry at Oxford University’s Labour Club.

Mr Coyne, head of Unite’s West Midlands branch, also insisted that under Mr McCluskey’s hard-left leadership the union had wrongly “singled out” the Israeli-Palestinian conflict when “for many of our members it is not something at the forefront of their minds”.

He said he was confident of ousting Mr McCluskey, who he believes is “obsessed with trying to run the Labour Party and the country at the same time” in a ballot of the union’s 1.42 million members later this month.

Responding to last week’s JC investigation which revealed how three Unite representatives on Labour’s NEC had been behind a decision not to issue warnings to two students accused of antisemitism and bullying, Mr Coyne said: “My view has always been, when dealing with discrimination as a union official, it is with those on the receiving end of the allegations where you start.

“You don’t start by defending those who are accused of having made the inappropriate comments.

“First and foremost, our representatives on Labour’s NEC are there to do a role on behalf of Unite. They are not there to be putting resources into defending the very people accused of wrongdoing. We don’t defend the indefensible. I don’t think that is right.”

Hostility to Israel and Zionism has been a constant feature of Unite’s political stance under its current leader, who was elected general secretary in 2013.

Mr McCluskey went so far as to claim Labour’s antisemitism crisis was manufactured for “political aims”, describing the controversy as “mood music” exploited by enemies of Mr Corbyn.

That opinion was passionately shot down by Mr Coyne. “We must be representative and supportive of all groups we work with,” he said, accepting that many British Jews have a negative impression of his union’s attitude.

“If we don’t do this, then we undermine our own strength, our own unity. We have seen growing levels of hate crime, be it with the Jewish, the Islamic or eastern European communities coming under attack.

“The debate does seem to be getting more vicious in tone — so it might be focused first on the Jewish community’s religious beliefs, and then on to everything that flows from that in terms of the state of Israel. The fact is we have had to have a specific investigation into antisemitism within the Labour Party. How it has been allowed to grow there is an anathema to me.

“To be saying that claims of antisemitism are actually a smokescreen for something else; that is one big cop out.”

Mr Coyne also argued that Unite’s leadership had taken the union in a hard-left political direction that does not represent all members’ interests.

“The Arab-Israeli conflict — to many of our members up and down the country it is not something at the forefront of their minds,” he added.

Mr Coyne, who grew up in West Bromwich and is from an Irish immigrant family, was keen to highlight and celebrate the contribution made by British Jews to the movement.

“Look at Manchester, Leeds and to a lesser extent Birmingham — the Jewish community was intrinsically linked to the fundamental beliefs of the trade union movement,” he explained. “There was a core sympathy with left-leaning politics. I don’t understand at the moment the sense that this isn’t acceptable.”

Urging Jews to re-join Unite, Mr Coyne says: “There is a home in Unite for members of the Jewish community, as there is for every faith.”

(The Jewish Chronicle, Friday 17th March 2017)

Gerard #Coyne Says Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not a priority for #Unite members #VoteCoyne

Standard

web_top_photo_banner_-_gc_rgb

The challenger for the leadership of Unite, Britain’s biggest trade union, has issued a devastating critique of current general secretary Len McCluskey’s relationship with Britain’s Jewish community.

Gerard Coyne told the JC he believed three senior members of Unite, with close links to Mr McCluskey and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, had chosen to “defend the indefensible” when they backed two individuals at the centre of an antisemitism enquiry at Oxford University’s Labour Club.

Mr Coyne, head of Unite’s West Midlands branch, also insisted that under Mr McCluskey’s hard-left leadership the union had wrongly “singled out” the Israeli-Palestinian conflict when “for many of our members it is not something at the forefront of their minds”.

He said he was confident of ousting Mr McCluskey, who he believes is “obsessed with trying to run the Labour Party and the country at the same time” in a ballot of the union’s 1.42 million members later this month.

Responding to last week’s JC investigation which revealed how three Unite representatives on Labour’s NEC had been behind a decision not to issue warnings to two students accused of antisemitism and bullying, Mr Coyne said: “My view has always been, when dealing with discrimination as a union official, it is with those on the receiving end of the allegations where you start.

“You don’t start by defending those who are accused of having made the inappropriate comments.

“First and foremost, our representatives on Labour’s NEC are there to do a role on behalf of Unite. They are not there to be putting resources into defending the very people accused of wrongdoing. We don’t defend the indefensible. I don’t think that is right.”

Hostility to Israel and Zionism has been a constant feature of Unite’s political stance under its current leader, who was elected general secretary in 2013.

Mr McCluskey went so far as to claim Labour’s antisemitism crisis was manufactured for “political aims”, describing the controversy as “mood music” exploited by enemies of Mr Corbyn.

That opinion was passionately shot down by Mr Coyne. “We must be representative and supportive of all groups we work with,” he said, accepting that many British Jews have a negative impression of his union’s attitude.

“If we don’t do this, then we undermine our own strength, our own unity. We have seen growing levels of hate crime, be it with the Jewish, the Islamic or eastern European communities coming under attack.

“The debate does seem to be getting more vicious in tone — so it might be focused first on the Jewish community’s religious beliefs, and then on to everything that flows from that in terms of the state of Israel. The fact is we have had to have a specific investigation into antisemitism within the Labour Party. How it has been allowed to grow there is an anathema to me.

“To be saying that claims of antisemitism are actually a smokescreen for something else; that is one big cop out.”

Mr Coyne also argued that Unite’s leadership had taken the union in a hard-left political direction that does not represent all members’ interests.

“The Arab-Israeli conflict — to many of our members up and down the country it is not something at the forefront of their minds,” he added.

Mr Coyne, who grew up in West Bromwich and is from an Irish immigrant family, was keen to highlight and celebrate the contribution made by British Jews to the movement.

“Look at Manchester, Leeds and to a lesser extent Birmingham — the Jewish community was intrinsically linked to the fundamental beliefs of the trade union movement,” he explained. “There was a core sympathy with left-leaning politics. I don’t understand at the moment the sense that this isn’t acceptable.”

Urging Jews to re-join Unite, Mr Coyne says: “There is a home in Unite for members of the Jewish community, as there is for every faith.”

(The Jewish Chronicle, Friday 17th March 2017)