We put those positions to the 2016 PCS conference and lost both. In the case of Momentum we lost by 3 to 1.
Of course we have to ask ourselves why? No speaker said they wanted Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell to lose the leadership of the Labour Party, indeed the opposite sentiment was continually expressed, the NEC claims that it does support Jeremy Corbyn and want him in power, yet why no vote to positively help John and Jeremy?
Firstly the union has form on this. Despite all the plates and vases it has given John McDonnell at every conference he attends and speaks at, PCS has not formally mobilised one activist, nor raised or given one pound of funding to John McDonnell in the last two general elections. Indeed in that electoral sense, IL has mobilised more PCS members to canvass for John McDonnell than the entire national union.
The fact is that the SWP and SP are opposed to the Labour Party and hence want Jeremy Corbyn to lose. Yet it was not the SWP and the SP ‘wot won it’.
Our impression is that many delegates from Scotland voted against Momentum for its links to Labour. For many in Scotland, Labour is still toxic, despite the election of Jeremy Corbyn, owing to its unholy alliance with the Tories in the independence referendum. Many delegates formally or informally now support the SNP and hence will oppose any perceived link with Labour. There will of course be ‘little scotlanders’ who are indifferent to what happens elsewhere in the UK (a plague on all their houses).
Then there are those who equate union independence with being equi-distance to all political parties. In this they have been aided by the union. For years, PCS has made it clear that all parties were the same or at least the Greens were the same as the Labour Party who were the same as Plaid and the SNP. Indeed the whole premise of Make Your Vote Count is based on the notion they are all the same; a Tory pledge by a local candidate is good as one from the LP.
All in IL believe that politics is vitally important to the union and its members, if not all of us equate politics with party politics. For the IL majority the election of Jeremy Corbyn was a pivotal event, hence our support for the affiliations.
The motion that was passed by conference regarding political activity tasked the NEC with reviewing the union’s political activity. Our comrades on the NEC will argue for throwing the weight of the union behind Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell and replacing Make Your Vote Count with Place Your Vote For Those Really On Our Side.