The officers of Momentum South Birmingham note and welcome the positive general election results for Labour.
This election has seen the return of two crucial things: the masses, and hope.
Nationally, a positive campaign combined with a superb, socialist manifesto have led to a quite incredible surge in support for our party and offered a route map to take us back into power. Huge numbers of Labour activists all over the country have played their part in turning around what looked, just a few weeks ago, like an impossible task. CLPs have reported levels of activism at this general election simply never seen before.
Huge numbers of young people registered and then voted, many enthused by Labour’s socialist programme. We have offered hope in the post-Brexit referendum doom and gloom. We have shown that boldness, radicalism and unapologetic socialism are the way forward for the party and Jeremy Corbyn has been completely and totally vindicated as our leader.
Despite the positivity today it remains galling to think that we could have been in an even stronger position had the PLP and party bureaucracy got behind their democratically elected leader from the outset. Those issues are for resolution on another day but be in no doubt that they have not been forgotten.
Turning our attention to Birmingham, it is heartening to see that all 9 of Labour’s seats in the city stayed red. It is also noteworthy that turnout across the city was significantly up and Labour’s share of the vote increased dramatically; our leader, and manifesto, offered something for the people of Birmingham to believe in, alongside many excellent local campaigns.
In particular, we offer warm congratulations to Preet Gill and Richard Burden who have held the seats of Edgbaston and Northfield respectively despite the two being the Tories top targets in the city – and who both received less than enthusiastic support from Labour’s West Midlands Regional Office, which appeared to have determined early on that both seats were already lost.
The result in Edgbaston was absolutely stunning, with Preet tripling Labour’s majority to seven thousand. An extremely impressive and equally unexpected performance.
The Northfield result was similarly excellent, with a huge, friendly and superbly well-organised campaign leading to Richard doubling his majority and ensuring the large numbers of UKIP voters in 2015 did not get added to the Tories 2017 total in sufficient numbers to take the seat. We would like to place on record our thanks to Northfield CLP for the warm welcome our activists received when we came over to help – and also thank Momentum activists from the other branches across the city and region who did so much as well.
The election demonstrates once and for all that the path that the Labour Party has taken since the election of Jeremy Corbyn in 2015 is the right one. It also demonstrates that the party has an incredibly powerful resource that can lead us back to power – our hundreds of thousands of members. It’s the work of those members, volunteering their spare time to work flat out for the party in the last few weeks, that have brought about this revival.
The members will determine the future of the party. Which means that the members in Birmingham need to start being treated with more respect and afforded their democratic rights. The general election has postponed once again the selection of candidates for the local elections next year. It is simply unconscionable that members who only joined before July 2015 (i.e. probably a minority of the current city membership) will be able to participate. We call on the Birmingham Board to rectify this immediately and to rebuild the local party structures that have withered so badly in recent years (the continuation of ‘special measures’ for several decades in four of our ten CLPs being but one example).
Whilst the results in Birmingham have been excellent, across the wider West Midlands region they have not been, and the dismal performance of the party at the West Midlands Mayoral election just a few weeks ago (which the Regional Office has to take full responsibility for) has shown that there is a problem that is not going away. The current lack of even rudimentary local party democracy is untenable.