It's my last day as head of strategic comms & spokesperson for @jeremycorbyn & @UKLabour. I'm proud of what we achieved & gutted that it wasn't so much more.— James Schneider (@schneiderhome) January 24, 2020
The struggle for socialism has entered a new phase & I hope to play my part, just perhaps not by lurking at back of shot pic.twitter.com/kEMtwjTLO6
Schneider's reference to "what we achieved" predictably led to a barrage of criticism. Alastair Campbell retweeted Schneider urging more clarity on what it actually was that Corbyn had achieved. The crushing defeat of 2019 is difficult for even the most ardent Corbynista to spin, but Schneider is not necessarily referencing electoral impact - the lack of detail suggests something much more insidious.
Schneider was a prominent figure in the rise of Momentum and his efforts were rewarded in 2016 with his appointment to Corbyn's closest circle. He joined the shadowy Stalinist Seumas Milne, a man whose strong anti-Western views often escaped scrutiny while the media focused primarily on Corbyn himself. Both men appeared to have identical roles alongside the Great Leader - they're official titles were:
Seumas Milne - Strategy and Communications Director
James Schneider - Director of Strategic Communications
As referenced in Schneider's farewell tweet, both men were regularly seen lurking in the background, but seldom heard. Prior to his appointment to Corbyn's team, Schneider gave an interview in his Momentum role. The interview took place a few days before the 2016 leadership election and questions were being asked about the role of Momentum and its goals.
Clearly what Schneider means when he says he is "proud of what we achieved", is that the hard left have seized control of so much of the party. They are not in complete control, otherwise Rebecca Long-Bailey would have been first on the ballot for the next leadership. That fact alone makes it known that Momentum have not infiltrated nationwide and still have a lot of work to do. What will be worrying moderates right now is how much they have infiltrated the election itself. The absurdly lengthy process and the fact that Corbyn refused to stand down immediately will have sounded some alarm bells. We know how unfairly Labour approach elections - particularly in inner cities, mill towns and university towns - so just how far will the hard left go to retain their grip on the leadership? Momentum has already carried out its own internal ballot of who it should support - and there was just one name on the ballot paper. This is the 'democracy' of the hard left and the truth is that there's nothing democratic about it.
It's not clear what James Schneider will do next, but as the privately educated Oxford graduate son of a chief executive and an established career in journalism under his belt - he certainly won't struggle for opportunities. If the continuity Corbyn candidate wins the forthcoming leadership election, it's unlikely we'll have heard the last of him.