Momentum South Birmingham offers warm congratulations to all Labour candidates elected in this round of local, Assembly, Mayoral and PCC elections!
In particular, all of the successful city council candidates in Birmingham, where we increased our majority by two with wins in Weoley and Springfield. There were also a number of other tightly fought contests, resulting in narrow defeats, which give hope that even more wards in future will elect Labour councillors.
Momentum South Birmingham activists were heavily involved in a number of campaigns and contributed to ensuring that Birmingham remains “a Labour city”.
But of course the hard work is only just beginning. The reality remains that the council will be operating within eye-watering financial restraints for the foreseeable future. Momentum South Birmingham firmly believes that the Birmingham Labour Party should be doing more to resist cuts to its budget and working alongside the anti-austerity campaigns in the city to build a movement against the heartless and economically illiterate policy imposed on our city by the Conservative government.
It isn’t a case of ‘sharing the cuts out more fairly’ nationally. The entire narrative of austerity is a flawed one and the Labour Party should be opposing it both locally and across the UK.
We’ve seen with the recent U-turn on academisation that sustained pressure can produce results and as the party of ordinary working class people Labour needs to fight tooth and nail to defend the services that we all rely on. Clearly, the council has limited room for manoeuvre at present and the new leadership is a huge improvement on recent years. The council election results are a vindication of that positive change. But more can, and needs to be done.
More widely, the results across England will hopefully quieten the poisonous undermining of the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn. The hostility of the media we can take as a given, as any challenge to the centre-right status quo is met with unrelenting hostility and a daily drip-drip of negative headlines and dishonest and trivial reportage. It is typical of their desperation that they try to pin the blame on Jeremy for the hugely disappointing results in Scotland, results which have actually been a generation in the making.
The attitude of many prominent figures within the Labour Party however is hugely disappointing. A number of MPs and party ‘grandees’ appear to be happy to destroy the party rather than support the democratically elected leader, one chosen overwhelmingly by all sections of the party last year on a platform of socialist, anti-austerity policies, policies that the Momentum campaign here in South Birmingham and nationally passionately believe that the Labour Party can and should be elected on in 2020.
South Birmingham Momentum is a democratic organisation and believes in a democratic Labour Party (and there is much work to do in this regard); clearly no one, including our leader, is above criticism. But the daily attempts to undermine him by many in the PLP are invariably motivated by careerism and a desire to return Labour to the worst days of the Blair era, making Labour virtually indistinguishable from the Conservatives. That is not the answer. The economic crisis of 2008 showed beyond question that the old certainties no longer applied and a new set of democratic and socialist policies are required. These will take time to win support but it can be done. We implore the MPs who have made it their goal to undermine the leadership and membership of the party to think again and remember that they are only there because of the members. And in September 2015 the membership made their feelings very clear.
Momentum South Birmingham welcomes everyone and anyone who shares our aim of a socialist Labour government in 2020. Please join the Labour Party and please join Momentum if you haven’t already. We have a once in generation opportunity to change British politics for the better.
These elections are just the beginning.
Momentum South Birmingham