Last Saturday I had the chance to sell AWL material to a famous person when I inadvertently bumped into the spin-doctor’s spin-doctor, Malcolm Tucker.
I’d knocked the mobile phone from his hand, but managed to field it before it squelched in the mud, and so seized the moment to launch my sales pitch. He listened for all of the second it took him to check his phone before interrupting.“Is it today’s issue, laddie?”
I began to explain why Solidarity was a weekly paper, but: “Look at the date on this!” exclaimed Tucker, with his characteristic edge-of-losing-it menace. “Fucking June!”
He waved a leaflet I saw had been put out by the CPGB-ML urging the organised working class to “Ditch Labour To Fight The Cuts!” At the bottom, the date read 9 June 2012.
Tucker gestured at the nearby trees. “Does this look like June to you?” he asked. “Are those leaves green with high summer or are they yellow as a Lib Dem’s oilskin and plummeting like their fucking poll ratings?
“And what about this?” He waved another, smaller leaflet. “Some sprog surprised me on Piccadilly. Now, I’m an anarchist myself, but at least I know what fucking day it is!” He stopped waving the leaflet so I could read: “Symbolic Protest or Fight To Win? Strike Now November 30”. It had been produced by the Anarchist Federation.
“But here’s the one,” he said, showing me a Socialist Party leaflet: “24-hour General Strike Now! TUC Name The Day.” I started to argue the emptiness of such a slogan, but Tucker cut me off. “No, no. Not the fucking strike-call. Rosa Luxemburg on a bike! A General Strike’s a prelude to fucking insurrection, not wished for like an iPad at Christmas! TUC name the day? That’ll be the twelfth of fucking Never! No, this is the good bit!”
And he pointed to a tiny line of print: “Text JOIN with your name and postcode to …” “You can join by text! Fucking genius! No chat, no boring meetings, no exchange of fucking ideas, no dues to pay, fuck-all to think about. Just text your fucking postcode and you’re in! Think I’ll do just that. Build my network. Polish my street-cred. Are your lot not doing this?”
His thumbs were a-twitch over his phone, and I realised sadly my chance of a sale had gone.