One of the most extraordinary features of this Labour Party Conference is the Momentum festival which is running in parallel just a mile or so away.

This is called “A World Transformed” and it is a lot more exciting and noisy and sweaty than the conference proper and it takes place in some massive old building that used to be an old church.

It was in one of its many rooms that stalwarts of the Momentum Thanet put on an impromptu workshop in which they shared with other Momentum people the secrets of their success.

Thanet is now famous among political people from across the country as the place which denied Nigel Farage the parliamentary seat he set his heart on winning. And members of Momentum Thanet got laughs and applause when they recounted the famous day when the Thanet Stand Up To UKIP group dumbfounded the massed ranks of Kippers in Ramsgate by meeting them with a continental breakfast and cakes.

Hard on the heels of the successful workshop came an absolutely splendid  huge meeting with star speakers including Matt Wrack of the Fire Brigade Union and Ian Hodson of the Bakers Union. People spoke angrily of the barrage of unfair suspensions they’d experienced as shadowy figures inside the party tried, unsuccessfully, to stop Jeremy Corbyn winning the leadership for a second time.

Most moving was Greg Hadfield speaking about the way his entire local Labour Party in Brighton and Hove has been suspended in the most unjust manner to try to subvert the course of democracy.

Oh, and yes, some bloke called John McDonnell was due to speak, too. Except it was getting very late and he was nowhere to be seen and for a moment or too the organisers seemed to be going potty and it was announced he wasn’t coming.

But then, at the last gasp, he did turn up and he spoke, too. And everybody cheered until the rafters rattled. Seemed a terribly nice chap. I think he’s the Shadow Chancellor or something…




Earlier this year shadow chancellor John McDonnell came to Ramsgate and challenged Thanet to come up with its own alternative economic plan. In this issue we begin the debate, exploring how new initiatives in health, homes, education and jobs could make another, better Thanet possible. ALSO: What’s the way forward for Jeremy Corbyn? The new Thanet Watch is available in independent newsagents and shops across the locality, price 80p. For full list see click on heading above.


This film was screened in March 2016 at a meeting of Momentum Thanet. It highlights poverty and deprivation in Thanet, East Kent and the repeated failures to regenerate the area. Is a new way forward possible, through people power and Jeremy Corbyn?  In the coming months Momentum Thanet will be  canvassing the views and ideas of local people to put together an alternative economic plan for Thanet, which it will present to the shadow chancellor John McDonnell and his treasury team.


mc-Donnell hands uo

People in Thanet could produce a local plan to revive their own area, Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell told a packed audience in Ramsgate on Tuesday 19 January.

Mr McDonnell, a close ally of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, said: “We believe that local people have the knowledge and the know how to turn their areas round. So we’re saying to them, put together your plan, show us where you want to go and we will work with you to help you get there.”

He told the audience that areas like Thanet, one of the poorest parts of south east England, would have a special priority for the next Labour government.

The key, he said, would be investment in infrastructure and education, bringing well paid jobs based on new technologies. “A new Labour government will pick on areas to pilot new ideas for reviving a local economy – and Thanet would be exactly the sort of area to do this.”

Mr McDonnell was speaking at a meeting of the newly formed Momentum Thanet group, set up to campaign for the ideas and policies on which Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn was elected.

Momentum organiser Jackie Walker, who lives in Broadstairs, said: “It was a tremendously successful meeting. Hundreds more came than we were expecting and there was standing room only.”

She added: “The great reception John received shows the huge enthusiasm there is in this area for the new Labour opposition. Jeremy has had some bad publicity in recent months, but our meeting shows public support for him is high and getting higher.”

Momentum Thanet is planning more events for the future. Email for details.


This is an extract from an interview with shadow chancellor John McDonnell. Mr McDonnell is a close ally of the new Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and is interviewed on the eve of his visit to Ramsgate. where he will address a meeting the Kings Theatre, Kings Place, Ramsgate at 7pm on Tuesday 19 January. Entry is free, but booking advisable. Ring 01843 604633 or 07989 070843.