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I remember the day I first lost my heart to a Trotskyist. 

A chap my brother went to school with had pestered me to do a quick hatchet job on the organized left for the tabloids, as one does, and so I found myself, one blisteringly hot day in late capitalism travelling down from Norfolk to North bloody London to help create the personification that was to become the scruffy bearded scourge of unelectable, infantile leftist disorder.   

Spent the first evening learning Cuban folk songs for that weekend’s Solidarity fund raiser. Spent the second at another fund raiser for Nicaraguan Solidarity. Solidarity was big in North London. Next day, down in Parliament Square for Solidarnosc. Back when the Poles stayed in Poland. For him, it was a question of democracy. The only strikers the Tories loved, the BBC's favourite anti-communist trade unionists! he was fond of pointing out, ad nauseam.  On the Thursday we made mad passionate all over the kitchen pine. Full-blown Trotskyist infiltration. I got pavlova in my hair. I was young and free. Well, relatively. God, it’s been an age since I had so much filled time that I haven't had to plan. Back then, stuff just happened to you.
These days, he's taking evening classes in leadership: Chairperson Mao of the state feminist left in his cream jacket looking every bit the bit part, a mannequin from Marx and Sparks, apart from the beard, the brand, the white wisps of wit and wisdom and experience etched in each fold of his face that scream trust me I'm a man of the left, a person of principal whose time has come. Who would've thought? When I knew him he wasn't exactly athletic, but if they gave gongs for rumpy pumpy, the comrade had a wiry persistence and dogged commitment to the cause that certainly medalled in London, Islington North. Beijing and Moscow, not so keen on Trots. 

Bit like my editors.


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