Forgive me if I don’t get too worked up about Momentum Kids. For those who haven’t been following Labour’s internal politics too closely, Momentum is a Trotskyist faction within the party that was instrumental in getting Jeremy Corbyn elected last year and, barring an upset, re-elected this weekend. Momentum claims the main purpose of its new kiddie wing, will cater to three-year-olds and upwards, is to offer childcare facilities to women so they can get more involved in campaigning. But it also acknowledges that Momentum Kids will play an ‘educational’ role. ‘Let’s create a space for questioning, curious children where we can listen to them and give them a voice,’ says one of the group’s founders.
This initiative has been widely lampooned on Twitter and elsewhere because the notion of giving children as young as three a political education smacks of indoctrination and conjures up memories of Soviet school-children being forced to recite passages from the Communist Manifesto. And on one level, it is quite funny, not least because the hand-wringing leftists behind the group appear to be unaware of this historical baggage. It confirms the essential innocence of the Corbynistas, which, on another level, isn’t funny at all. It’s precisely because this new generation of left-wing idealists are so ignorant of history that they cannot foresee the potential dangers of trying to create a socialist utopia.
But the critics of Momentum Kids are also being naïve if they think the education children currently receive in this country is apolitical. In fact, nearly all children at state schools — and probably most at private schools, too — receive a daily dose of left-wing propaganda. Not the hard-left dogma of Momentum, but the understated, soft-left, liberal values that permeate most state-funded institutions, from the Foreign Office to the BBC.