Welcome to my first column for Red Pepper. I’m delighted, even though I always thought it was a publication for vegetarians rather than left wing extremists. Same thing I suppose. But do not fear, dear readers: I am just like you! No one is more of a leftwinger than me. I just happen to hate all socialist ideas, socialist politicians and socialists in general. So, just think of me as your window into the world of normal people, with normal sensible politics. And who knows, perhaps you may yet be rehabilitated.
Older readers may remember me from when I got a lifetime ban from the Orwell Awards for starting a fight with Francis Wheen. Or perhaps from when I led the march against the Iraq War. Not as a protester, of course, but an attempt to put the demo under citizens’ arrest. (Sorry everyone, but the only time Tony Blair will end up in the Hague is to see Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring.)
One group of criminals who do need locking up is the Labour leadership and its ragtag supporters. Last spring, my delight in seeing the daffodils emerge turned to horror as I viewed my garden from an upstairs window. At some point, the bulbs had been rearranged so that the flowers brightly spelled out “BLAIRITE SCUM” in the grass.
There are several prime suspects for this act of horticultural terrorism. Momentum? Very likely. Wheen? Too soft for his devious mind. Corbyn himself? Odds-on favourite. He has both the experience of running an allotment and a seething hatred of lawns. If he ever gets into power, bowling greens across the country will be turned to mud overnight. I suspect his Momentum hordes will plant profanities with cauliflowers and dump manure in the club houses. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!
Unsurprisingly, I have left Labour and now find myself politically homeless. A fate even worse than being actually homeless, when at least you don’t have to worry about your garden. And where is the charity to hand me a metaphorical sleeping bag and a literal mug of hot comfort soup? Nowhere. Nobody experiences worse treatment than famous people, like me, who just don’t know who to vote for. I was briefly a member of the permamutating Change UK, although that is a barely adequate description. After a moment’s gaze, it morphs again, turning into something infinitesimally different, yet exactly the same. Like a free-form jazz Lib Dems but with even fewer policies. At this election, I really am spoilt for choice.
Simon Hedges tells us he’s an ‘Award-winning Quality Journalist.’
#233: Democracy on the Wing ● Thelma Walker on regional autonomy ● An interview with Clive Lewis ● The World Transformed ● Gender, sexuality and witchcraft ● The globalisation of ‘Asian horror’ ● A tribute to Dawn Foster ● Latest book reviews ● And much more!
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The World Transformed festival gets underway this weekend - here's where and when you can catch some of Red Pepper's editors and friends.
Tom Williams makes the case for organising strategically within the Labour Party
'Sensible' columnist Simon Hedges offers readers a modern day fable from his home village of Greatly-cum-Nutting
As the election of a new General Secretary for Britain's biggest trade union gets underway, Red Pepper speaks to left candidates Steve Turner and Sharon Graham
In this timely book, Matthew Brown and Rhian E. Jones explore new forms of democratic collectivism across the UK, writes Hilary Wainwright.
Labour seems eager to ignore its Islamophobia problem. The Party is making a grave mistake, explain Solma Ahmed, Sonali Bhattacharyya and Mish Rahman
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