Spring is here, a time for rebirth

By Tom Harris

For Lewisham East MP Heidi Alexander, the turning of the seasons has brought a new job opportunity. After her initially promising career as a right-wing plotter in the PLP faltered, Alexander has opted for pastures new.

She’ll now be Deputy to the Mayor of London, inspired by a public spirited passion for safe cycling routes and highly-remunerated bureaucracy.

Alexander often talks about how fervently she supported the campaign to save Lewisham Hospital. Activists in the campaign are less sure this was true, and some of them have pointed out she refused to support the striking junior doctors. Since then she’s clearly been won round to the idea of walking off the job to make a point. We wish her well and look forward to her resigning from many new and exciting jobs to come.

There were other new beginnings in Lewisham this month. Supporters of the Momentum leadership faction embarked on a bold innovation in democracy at Lewisham Momentum’s AGM. Intending to pack the meeting to replace it’s sometimes-dissenting committee, they hit a snag when the library management postponed things due to overcrowding. Ever resourceful, our plucky heroes took their own supporters off to a small public bar and ‘elected’ themselves the new committee.

If only the General Election were that easy: we could get five of us together in a Wetherspoons and be done with it.

The look of the new season is: ‘left-wing’ nationalism. Some readers, stuck with their old-fashioned ideas about internationalism, class solidarity and human brotherhood, might be confused about how nationalism can be left-wing. To these Luddites we say: get with the programme.

Sure, hatred of Europe and migrant workers might normally be the preserve of UKIP and your Uncle Keith after one too many Christmas ales, but why let principles stop socialists joining in! Some workers don’t like immigrants, but really like being English. Therefore, if the left also likes and dislikes those things, we can win them over. After all, what better way to convince people than by conceding to all their points?

Zoe Williams in the Guardian has called for a ‘good nationalism’ which talks about pride in British public services and parliamentary democracy. Oddly though, lots of other countries seem to have those things as well. They must have got some British builders in. Meanwhile, the ultra-Stalinist ‘Red London’ Facebook page has spent the month posting St George memes, in order to show how in touch they are with the patriotic working class (by which they mean the groundsman they once met at their private school).

Some have compared Red London and the new wave of internet Stalinists with the alt-right. We should consider the comparison.

One of these groups is made up of frustrated, misogynistic young men who spend their lives trolling feminists online, ranting about immigration and ‘ironically’ venerating an antisemitic dictator who killed millions. Oh, hang on…

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