Momentum Kids – or Corbyn’s Tiny Trots, as some would have it – is the creepiest thing I’ve ever heard of

The thought of legions of children trading insults like ‘You’re a Blairite, Tommy!’ on the playground gives me the shivers

Jeremy Corbyn is heavily backed by Momentum, who is running an alternative Labour conference with dubious undertones
Jeremy Corbyn is heavily backed by Momentum, who is running an alternative Labour conference with dubious undertones

So, just when we thought Momentum couldn’t do itself any more PR damage, it announced the launch of “Momentum Kids” this weekend – aptly nicknamed “Tiny Trots” by Lib Dem leader Tim Farron. Whether intentionally or not, let’s not deny that the whole concept has some seriously creepy undertones.

The idea was proposed and set up by two single mothers, aiming to get more women involved in politics. This is fantastic in essence, and a great idea – more women should get involved, and this will provide them with the opportunity. But then it starts to get weird.

According to author Alan Gibson, who will be running some programmes during the World Transformed Festival – the alternative Labour conference run by Momentum – Momentum Kids aims to provide an alternative to “an education system that treats [children] only as future productive drones”.

On offer are campaigning workshops and story-telling sessions; one wonders what this will actually entail. “Make your own placard” workshops? “Dialectical materialism – a Russian tale” in picture form? Deselecting Action Man from the play area for his “red Tory” sentiments? A sing-along to Pink Floyd’s “Another Brick in the Wall?” (To be honest, I’m not that opposed to the latter option, as it is a fantastic song/video and I did know all of the words at age 11).

Momentum has not been particularly forthcoming in discussing the content of these workshops – I’m still waiting for their press representative to come back with the specifics about what those workshops will entail – leaving them open to wild interpretation, as per my own suggestions above. And to me, the notion of “promoting political activity that is fun, engaging and child-friendly” to children as young as three is a rather daunting prospect. Yes, provide breakfast clubs, afterschool clubs and whatnot, to enable parents – who are consenting adults, old enough to make their own decisions – to get involved. But introducing political theory and ideology to young children in return for these basic services to their parents could amount to brainwashing. The thought of legions of children trading insults such as “You’re a Blairite, Tommy!” on the playground gives me the shivers.

I don’t know about you, but I feel a little bit uneasy about the mass indoctrination of children from such a young age, when they should be provided with the freedom to form their own views organically. A well-rounded education, which includes many opposing viewpoints and theories, underpins the concept of debate. To simply provide a one-sided narrative breaks that concept down.

Quite rightly, the Momentum Kids programme intends to provide crèches and childcare for women who do not have the time to get involved in political activism because of their “traditional caring roles” – women have the right to be more involved in political activism, if they wish, after all. By providing childcare, Momentum is mobilising a whole new unit of members who previously may not have had the chance to get involved – or weren’t particularly interested in politics, since no party provided concrete assistance for them to get involved. The “democracy” gap is real, and I’m happy to see it being tackled by any group, even if it is Momentum. Nevertheless, political parties making themselves responsible for childcare should always be viewed with suspicion in my book.

Thankfully, we know that when children are told to think or believe one thing, they often go in the complete opposite direction once they hit adolescence – so Tiny Trots might accidentally lead to a generation of flat-capped, tweed-clad Tiny Tories. Which prospect is the more frightening? We’ll just have to wait and see.

Update: Press representative has now come back to me, and confirmed that "banner making" workshops will be taking place at Momentum Kids events

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