When history books are written about the political tumult engulfing Britain right now and the most important days ever are decided upon, then Saturday the 4th June, Momentum Birmingham’s first stall at the People’s Post CWU rally, will feature heavily.
It was however still quite a significant moment for those of us determined to make something of Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership locally. Momentum Birmingham became a real thing on Saturday and it showed how crucial it is to be outward-facing as well as a coalition of the Labour left working to change the party from within.
After coming into town directly from a Labour Party EU stall in Harborne where I was slightly taken aback at the level of vitriol shown towards our Remain arguments, I was in need of a pick-me-up.
Jeremy not attending meant it didn’t get off to a perfect start. I couldn’t help but smile wryly to myself when several people came up to us demanding to know where he was, as if as members of Momentum we were personally responsible. Clearly we have far more power and influence than we realised.
But it was still quite a big deal for the three branches to come together and make a splash at a big local event. Our leaflets were absolutely excellent, (thanks Lucy!), we have some good pictures (thanks Aquila and Jamil!) and there was a guy there who brought a red sheet a couple of sizes too small and who just about carried off his bright blue bicycle shorts (but only just). The three groups came together and had a bright, vibrant presence, generated a lot of interest and we got a number of contacts and hopefully a couple of new members. A huge thank you to everyone from South, Central and North Birmingham Momentum who came along to help, brought stuff for the stall, collected and brought along leaflets, the supporters from Solihull who came along to give us moral support and those who went into the crowd and got our message out there. Personally I was also pleased to see the great response for the Another Europe is Possible literature we had too. Hopefully Momentum can play it’s part in ensuring that the left gets a voice in the EU debate.
It showed that when we all work together we can do really good things, and that it’s crucial that we have city-wide co-ordination to achieve even more than we have already. People who had only chatted on email met for the first time, I put a few names to faces and I had the pleasure of watching someone with a Green Party badge on give out our leaflets. Clearly we are uniting a previous fractious Birmingham left against the common enemy.
Well, maybe. But it would be a nice thought, wouldn’t it.
And we need a banner!