Part One available here.
Thursday 17th September
You might have thought that with things getting really nasty on the Hungarian border, terrorism threats at the highest level since 9/11 and an earthquake in Chile that the sections of the media which are furiously digging for the silver bullet to defeat Corbyn might have given it a break for a day.
Well, no such luck because the revelation has emerged that Jeremy Corbyn once had a fling with none other than Diane Abbott. It was the late 1970s and the pair were wild, free young radicals. Not like now, when they are wild, free old radicals. Mr Corbyn was separated from his first wife, and his tryst with Ms Abbott was the final nail in the coffin of his marriage, as the amorous pair (dubbed the “dreadful duo”) went on a motorbike holiday in exotic East Germany. So, basically all you need to do is imagine The Motorcycle Diaries made by Granada TV.
Whilst this is all passingly interesting, it really is a fluff story. Unless you’re the right wing press, who are saying that this information has come to light after Corbyn failed to intervene in a spat after Monday’s meeting of the Parliamentary Party between Abbott and Jess Phillips MP; the implicit accusation being that Corbyn didn’t stop Abbott because she’s his girlfriend.
Ooooo! Jeremy and Diane, sitting in a tree, planning the overthrow of neoliberalist economics.
The Times has taken it one stage further by publishing a concise history of extra-marital bonking in the Labour party. The paper no doubt published this for your better information: if you’re unsure about the new Labour direction, just be aware that they’re all too over-sexed to know what they’re doing.
Turns out, Labour has been the working-class answer to Made in Chelsea. Everyone flits from one affair to another. Even Michael Foot, who stood up for the ability to love two women at the same time. Maybe this is what Cameron and co. meant when they said that Labour’s a threat to your family’s security. Even now, Jeremy’s planning on popping round to your house, making a delicious Quorn bolognaise, before dimming the lights and asking your wife if she wants to see his unprecedented mandate.
(Sorry. I couldn’t resist.)
Friday 18th September
Focus has finally shifted from Jeremy Corbyn, but only by one person to the left.
Last night, Shadow Chancellor McDonnell appeared on Question Time, which was entertaining just for watching Alex Salmond looking visibly upset that he was no longer the most left-wing person on the panel.
McDonnell has attracted a lot of controversy this week. He has a reputation for being a bit of a bruiser, which on first impressions seems odd because he seems mild-mannered and speaks softly, which is the way with the Corbyn front bench.
However, he is on record as saying that if he could travel back in time he would assassinate Margaret Thatcher, which he later apologised for saying it was a joke, and he is on record as saying that IRA militants should be “honoured”.
It was the latter comment which came under the microscope last night, when McDonnell apologised for it and explained why he used it. He said that he was trying to give Republicans a way of laying down arms “with some form of dignity”, and though he regretted his choice of words, he was arguing for the peace process, but if it was worth it if those words saved one life, and because the peace process was saved.
The direct causal link between the demonstrably controversial words of a then Labour bankbencher (who was on the outside looking in) and the continuation of the peace process is about as clear as the final act of 2001: A Space Odyssey. Furthermore, this apologetic mood for a twelve year-old comment seems to have suddenly descended in the last week, for reasons that I am sure are coincidental.
Nevertheless, apologise he did, and whatever one makes of the man and his motivations, it was a compelling human moment on television. Unless you’re The Daily Mail, who described it as “half-hearted”.For more examples of half-hearted apologies, may I suggest you Google “Daily Mail” and “apologises”.
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