Swanley Momentum at Jeremy Corbyn for Leader rally at Highbury Islington August 15th 2016

Swanley Momentum Year 1

This time last year I’d got over my truculence in saying I would not vote in the General Election, I voted for Labour for the first time since the mid 90s (yes, I never voted for Blair or Brown) and had then decided I’d probably never vote again.

Blissfully unaware at the start of the leadership campaign, I started reading the tweets by Owen Jones (whatever happened to him?). I realised that at last I had the chance to vote for someone whose principles I admired and who had the chance of winning the ballot. I paid my £3 to become a Supporter and found a meeting in Islington to attend where Jeremy Corbyn was speaking. Inspiring? Was Benn a left-winger?!

With the announcement that Jeremy had indeed won I upgraded to full membership and found myself on the party email list. A local meeting in Swanley seemed to be the ideal way to turn my idealistic position into one with a purpose. Well, almost. Maybe I didn’t try hard enough but I still felt I had no real involvemen, uset or purpose.

Then another email arrived announcing the first meeting of the Swanley Momentum group, newly formed and all. I got in contact, found the venue and was even allowed to park my bike at the back of the meeting.

Welcoming? Indeed it was! There was no dreary agenda but introductions and a rapid move into discussing what we could do to have an immediate impact both locally and nationally. Some great ideas were formed, nothing anyone had brought to the meeting to suggest but the evolution of thoughts and ideas into something of our own – a video project aimed at young voters. We also agreed to spend some time leafleting in Swanley to encourage people to register to vote and set up a monthly schedule for further meetings.

A year on and we have held our twelfth meeting with the largest attendance at any meeting, and with almost three times as many keen to be involved but unable to be with us.

Mike Floate at Jeremy Corbyn for Leader rally in Highbury
Mike Floate at Rally for Jeremy

We have been very active, with members being involved in the following:

  • Support of Unite in demanding the reversal of the closure of a care home in Kent
  • Support on picket lines in support of Junior Doctors
  • The establishment of Facebook & Twitter accounts
  • Videos, images and reports of our activities being posted
  • Retweeting and sharing of other posts of importance and interest
  • Attending marches in London against bombing Syria and Austerity
  • Prior to these leafleting at Swanley Station
  • Spreading the word to explain Momentum to members in Westerham
  • Sending motions to the Swanley Labour Party and seeing every one passed
  • Seeking to promote a green agenda
  • Setting the ball rolling for investment in sustainable eco council housing
  • Backing Jeremy Corbyn in a demonstration as the ridiculous coup was unfolding
  • Noting the rise of star performers such as Richard Burgon and Claudia Webbe
  • Being a key part of the decision of the Sevenoaks CLP to back Jeremy Corbyn in the ballot
  • Attending the BAME rally in Islington
  • Supporting Greenwich Momentum in a key public meeting
Swanley Momentum & Junior Doctors on picket line
Mike Floate & Swanley Momentum supporting Junior Doctors on Strike

The coming year promises to be even more interesting and challenging. We have to find further ways of building support for our group, the party nationally & locally and working for Jeremy Corbyn in particular. We will continue to be welcoming, to run with an ideas-based forum with key action points being noted to quickly move things forward. A positive first year promises to roll into an rewarding second.

Exciting? You bet! Why not join us?!!

Mike Floate

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