Who funded who? Momentum/Jeremy Corbyn

Legal note: there is no intent to denigrate in what follows, rather just a simple attempt to clarify what are to the ordinary party member like me, seemingly quite murky waters.

 

In 1992, Alan Clark famously admitted during the Matrix Churchill trial that he had been “economical with the actualité”.

Today many of us are asking ourselves whether James Schneider’s assertion that Momentum have supported the Jeremy Corbyn campaign with resources and activists is true, following a claim in Dispatches that Momentum have received support from Jeremy’s campaign.

First, we must establish who Momentum are. There are three contender companies vying for this surprisingly-less-than-transparent honour.

  1. Jeremy for Labour Limited. Incorporated 24 June 2015. Previous names Momentum Campaign Limited (23 Oct 2015 – 18 Jul 2016) and Jeremy Corbyn Campaign 2015 (Supporters) Limited (24 Jun 2015 – 23 Oct 2015).Director – Jon Lansman
  2. Momentum Campaign (Services) Limited. Incorporated 24 June 2015. Previous name Jeremy Corbyn Campaign 2015 (Services) Limited 24 Jun 2015 – 23 Oct 2015. Directors – Jon Lansman, Sam Tarry
  3. New Hope for Labour (Data Services) Limited. Incorporated 25 June 2015. Director – Jon Lansman.

What we know from the 2016 register of member’s interests is that Momentum Campaign (Services) Limited made a donation of £50,000 to Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership campaign. Well, let’s stop there…..the answer is clear, Schneider is telling the truth.

But is it the whole truth?

We don’t know to whom or which company the donation was made. Perhaps James can enlighten us as to the specifics?

We don’t know which of the above companies are Momentum, and which are Jeremy Corbyn’s campaign. It’s even possible that none of the directors knows either, nor particularly cares as it certainly seems their interests are inseparable at the moment. Perhaps James could clarify this point for us as well.

But perhaps most interesting is where did the money for the donation actually come from? We won’t know the answer to this until the above companies’ returns are available from Companies House in March 2017, so what follows must be speculation. Since the donation was made by Momentum Campaign (Services) Limited, it is entirely possible that the money originated as fees for services provided for Jeremy Corbyn’s 2015 campaign and/or donations, since all the assets of Jeremy Corbyn Campaign 2015 (Services) Limited became assets of Momentum Campaign (Services) when the name changed in October 2015. Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership campaign could effectively, therefore, have lent money to itself. Perhaps James could clear this up for us?

Additionally, if the loan was granted to Jeremy for Labour Limited, the new name for Momentum Campaign Limited since 18 July 2016, it is even possible that Jeremy’s campaign could have been lending money to Momentum, or that Momentum was lending money to itself. Who can tell what the next change of name will be, or to what purpose each company will devote itself after the current leadership campaign ends? Perhaps James can.

Whether the clear statement James has made is true, therefore, or some kind of a James Schrodinger’s statement where it is both true and untrue at the same time, we cannot tell. What many may judge, though, is that it is neither clear, nor transparent, nor the whole truth.

Alan Clark may well have been proud of him.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brexit – The downside of pulling up the drawbridge is that you’re trapped inside

It’s not a secret that I’m depressed about the Referendum result, nor that I’ve argued with countless Brexiteers before and after the vote about all the lies that were told, all the misconceptions and the many economic factors which will, at least in my opinion, become clear over the coming months and years.

But the single biggest reason I’m sad is not much discussed, yet in my view will have the biggest long term impact on Britain and our position in the world.

Freedom of movement allows all of us to move to live and work anywhere in the EU. I don’t believe anyone has truly grasped the implications of giving that right away, nor that in historical terms it will come to be seen as the most retrograde political decision taken voluntarily by a people for many years.

Just imagine if the German people had decided to undo the Zollverein, the precursor of Germany as we know it today, or if the Italians had decided before WW1, after 40-odd years, to undo the Risorgimento and go back to all their independent nation-states. We would look back at them with incomprehension and wonder what on earth could have impelled a people voluntarily to take such a leap back into the past.

But does it really matter, freedom of movement for UK citizens in the EU? What real use is it, what value does it have…don’t we live in the best country to whose drawbridge they all beat a path, haven’t we already won the prize?

To understand the answer it’s important to understand that I’m thinking primarily of the value of the right to live and work for our young people, those below 30 today, and those who have yet to be born. It’s also necessary to understand how young people of other EU countries think, study, live and work. The most striking difference I’ve found between the young of the U.K. and our neighbours is how normal Italians, Spanish, Greek, Germans etc find it to learn to speak each others’ languages, to study in a different EU country, to move jobs internationally within the EU, to have networks of friends and colleagues from different countries etc etc.. If there exists such a thing as a popular movement which will in time influence political direction, then this modus vivendi may well be it….European political union may eventually come about purely and simply because eventually, so many people will have lived that way and come to wonder why on earth a region of people with so much in common choose to divide themselves artificially into nation-states.

in contrast, UK young people are not so cosmopolitan, are more insular in attitude and practice. Of course, geography plays a part. It’s much trickier to visit different countries for a Brit living in Manchester than for someone living on the French/German/Swiss border, for example. But it’s more than that. There’s a reticence in our character, a fear of speaking other languages, a feeling that we are superior in theory but a worry that in practice the people from other countries we meet tend to disprove that, which doesn’t inspire confidence, and many other reasons which lead our young people to study, work and live somewhere else to a lesser degree than our EU neighbours.

You see, it’s our mindset that’s different from our neighbours’. We are in mind as well as in body, more insular. Again, look to the past to understand: 100 years ago people had the same attitude in general about moving from the North of England to live and work in London. 200 years ago, about moving to the neighbouring county. 300 years ago, about leaving their village. In 100 years to come all Europeans will look at us today and just not comprehend how it was we thought the way we do and why we lived within those constraints. The fact is that many continental Europeans already look at us with that mixture of incomprehension and sympathy now. It’s for that reason we ought to be encouraging and even investing actively in supporting our young people to move to live and work, to gain knowledge, skills and experience from our EU neighbours.

The result is, in terms of their ability to lead organisations and businesses which are international, as increasingly they are, our young people are at an increasing disadvantage compared to their contemporaries. Right now the impacts aren’t too significant but, I predict, the differential which has anyway been growing, will grow greater and greater and ultimately result in a loss of competitiveness for our people and our country. That’s to say nothing at all about the social, cultural, academic and all the other benefits greater exposure to other societies and ways of thinking and co-operating that international experiences can bring. Of course, it’s true that our young people will still be able to study and live in America, Australia and everywhere else outside the EU unchanged. But distance has always made that less easy and it will continue to do so…it’s much easier to live and work an hour and a half’s Easyjet flight away than 6-18 hours, if you still want to pop home at a weekend to see your mum and friends.

I’m a passionate Remainer and will continue to be so until Brexit really is Brexit. But of all the reasons why, this, the concern for our country’s future and our children’s children is the one that is strongest in my heart, yet least mentioned in 140 characters. The trouble with pulling up the drawbridge is that eventually, you will starve yourself to death in your splendid isolation.

@jerryhogg