THE POTENCY OF JEREMY CORBYN and the socialist policies he epitomises is seen clearly in Brighton and Hove. They inspired Labour members to overwhelm the backward-looking, humble-pie-eating minority of Labour MPs for whom sorry now seems to be the hardest word.
You may recall that less than a year ago Brighton, Hove and District Labour Party - the biggest party unit in the country - was suspended after electing a leadership team comprising only supporters of Jeremy Corbyn. In March, by which time membership had increased by 45%, the citywide party was split into three Constituency Labour Parties (CLPs): Hove, Brighton Pavilion, and Brighton Kemptown.
To the chagrin of members of Progress - including leading city councillors - all three CLPs elected pro-Corbyn leadership teams. That’s where we were when Theresa May called a “snap“ election, used to justify imposing parliamentary candidates: “There's no time for democracy; there's an election to fight,” they said. Peter Kyle, the sitting Labour MP for Hove, was imposed without reference to members - even though he told anyone who would listen that Jeremy Corbyn was unelectable, incompetent, and lacking leadership skills; most shockingly, he made clear he would “not be bullied into uniting behind a losing leader”.
During the campaign, Mr Kyle’s leaflets barely mentioned Labour or its manifesto - and he never spoke of Mr Corbyn, except when, according to the Brighton Argus, he “stopped short” of describing him as antisemitic. In contrast, Lloyd Russell-Moyle was the most popular would-be candidate in Kemptown, which Labour lost by 690 votes in 2015. Sadly, though, he was selected only after socialists overturned an attempt to install a Hove-based member few had heard of - and who was then imposed (albeit for only 24 hours) on Pavilion, a seat for which she had not even applied.
So how did Labour secure such remarkable results, winning Kemptown with a majority of nearly 10,000 and holding Hove, with an increased majority of more than 18,000? Labour in Brighton and Hove got more votes than all other parties combined - 81,000 votes, of whom up to one in nine is a party member. Labour won more votes in Sussex than in the 1997 landslide. Even in Pavilion, with limited campaigning, Labour increased its vote on 2015.
How we did it is clear. We ignored Labour HQ's defensive, let’s-hold-what-we've-got approach that denied funding to Kemptown; we knew we had to win seats if we wanted a socialist prime minister. We shouted (certainly in Kemptown and Pavilion) about our socialist manifesto.
Momentum Brighton & Hove focused all efforts of 2,500 members and supporters in support of Lloyd Russell- Moyle, while successfully urging the Green Party candidate - who attracted more than 3,000 votes in 2015 - to stand down to unseat Conservative Simon Kirby.
In truth, heroic efforts by hundreds and thousands of Labour members and supporters would have come to nought if it had not been for Jeremy Corbyn and his socialist policies. We haven't time to demand or expect apologies from Labour's right wingers who spent two years conspiring against the Party's members. We have the next General Election to win. We know how to do it. Now we know we can. And soon we will.
was elected secretary of
Brighton, Hove and District Labour Party on
July 9th; the results were ‘voided’ on July
14th; he was suspended on October 26th. He
blogs at www.medium.com/@greghadfield.