Another week, and yet another fierce debate as the battle for the soul of the Labour party continues. Tom Watson has warned of an “entryism threat”, and, for his part, been accused of “a concerted attempt to interfere” in Unite’s general secretary election.
The row follows the publication of a secret recording of a Momentum meeting, which Sunday’s Observer said reveals 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”. In the recording, Momentum founder Jon Lansman says Unite and the Communication Workers Union are likely to affiliate to the left faction. He calls on party activists to mobilise to ensure Corbyn supporters are selected as delegates for this year’s party conference – where a controversial rule change that would reduce the threshold of votes needed for leadership nominations from MPs and MEPs could be heard.
The reality is that this is not a secret plot at all, but the natural machinations of an unpleasant but inevitable internal struggle. Labour First, the “traditional right” faction, has avidly fought to win positions at constituency level. Its own admirable organising efforts ahead of last year’s conference ensured that equally controversial changes to weaken Corbyn’s majority on the national executive were carried.