Since discussing the importance of footwear in building the mass movement that will propel Jeremy to power in 2020, thus laying the foundation of the coming socialist republic, I have been wary of issuing any further statements for fear of Fleet Street distortion and misreporting, but thankfully since Jeremy became leader the press has been acting with characteristic restraint. However, the mailbag has swollen with letters from revolutionary cadre asking for clarification and advice on the knitwear issue which prevented me from joining the shadow cabinet. I do not have time to reply to them all individually, but I hope this example – from Thee Faction propagandist Babyface – will address many of your concerns.
Fraternal salutations, comrade!
A friend of mine, a gentleman of about your age, is about to plunge into cardigan-wearing. You’ve long worn them, and have retained your punk rock and hard left credentials, not to mention your cultural commentator status. Any advice for him on picking out a cardigan that lets you hang on to this stuff? Or is it all in the attitude?
Up the workers!
That I have received so much correspondence of this sort in the last two days indicates the magnitude of the issue. At the same time, that my good comrade is reduced to such transparent pretence – asking on behalf of ‘a friend’ – demonstrates how far-reaching in its effects is the Blairite virus and its on-message Stalinism.
I replied thus:
It is of course almost entirely a matter of attitude. It is also important to stubbornly persist in buying the same cardigan – or close enough that the uninitiated cannot tell – for decades. For off the shelf cardigans, Marks & Spencer’s plain black or very dark grey are good starting points, especially if you can find one where the wool is coated in teflon – this prolongs its life, helps a little in rainy circumstances, and enables you on occasion to refer to it as your ‘NASA space cardigan’. It is imperative, though, to cut out the labels so no one knows you bought it at M&S.
On the whole wool vs. blended fabric question, I have my own very clear preference, but at the core of my disagreement with Jeremy is my belief in a genuine broad church that welcomes diversity.
Is it permissible for knitwear entryists to photoshop their cardigan into old pictures on their social media? That is a matter of individual conscience.
All this takes me back a number of years to that odd period a decade or so ago when, at various leftist events, Alex Callinicos would flirt with me. Knowing that I was not a member of his party, but might be of use to it, he would lavish me with fleeting attention, coyly pretending to not quite remember who I was. However, I knew from comrades who had succumbed to his blandishments, that as soon as the seduction was over he would ignore me, and no amount of paper sales would ever win his affections. Even in those days, I did not really sense how toxic his party’s version of democratic centralism would prove, but our not infrequent discussions of couture soon revealed an immovable obstacle – any discussion with other cadre of the revolutionary and dialectical significance of the cardigan would be treated as an attempt to form a faction, resulting in my summary expulsion. There were, it seems, still some sticks that could not be bent.
Now I do not want to risk conjuring up a nightmare image of Jeremy on his Mao-ist bicycle, leading us into a future in which drab hand-knitted sweaters have become not just a re-education tool but a uniform foisted upon all. That, after all, is why we have a free and impartial press.
But it is clear to me that Jeremy’s claims about the superiority of the jumper, even when quoted in context, are irrational, mystificatory and profoundly undialectical.
This issue must be addressed.
And I say to him, as I said to Callinicos all those years ago, my cardigan is my Kronstadt! ¡No pasarán!