Thursday, December 3, 2015

NByNW Diary: Hilary Benn's Mysterious Phone Call

Thursday 3rd December
Hilary Benn wakes up. Same time as he does every day. Nothing feels any different from any other day.
Hilary Benn’s phone rings. He answers
“Hampsted 001138, Benn Household, Mr Benn speaking.”
“Is it safe?” says the posh voice on the other end of the line.
“I hope so,” says Mr Benn. “I’m still in my pyjamas”.
“You cannot know who I am.”
“You sound like Tristram Hunt.”
“No, no. I’m definitely not him.”
“I’ll take your word for it,” said Mr Benn, putting his trade mark specs on.
“I am a member of the insurgency.”
“Insurgency?” asked Hilary.
“Against Jeremy Corbyn.”
“I thought he was the insurgency.”
“We’re the insurgency against the insurgency,” said the posh voice.
“That’s rather confusing. Like a party with a leader and foreign secretary with completely different foreign policies.”
“Okay. We’re like the rebellion in Star Wars.”
“Don’t let a Corbynista hear you say that,” warned Mr Benn. “They’ll beat you to death with a plastic lightsabre.”
“The point is – we’re trying to save the Labour party from Corbyn.”
“Oh, but he’s a decent man and he has a mandate,” said Mr Benn.
“No! Hilary – your speech last night. It’s changed the way people see you. People are talking of you as a future leader. A future Prime Minister.”
“Oh – I’m not interested in that. I just want to do my job and my duty and then come home and cook excellent vegetarian food, washed down with ginger beer.”
“No!” said the voice once more. “It has to be you.”
“Look, last night I just spoke from my conscience and said what I thought was right.”
“Yes, and it was the first time a Labour moderate did that since Robin Cook. It was electrifying.”
“I just want to go and have my Corn Flakes and go to work.”
“Look – when Corbyn speaks from his conscience, all of his fans think that he’s some kind of vegan, atheist Jesus. When one of us speaks from his conscience, the Corbynistas think that we’re evil, agnostic Jesus. But you could be different.”
“I want an atmosphere of free debate and to work with the elected leader of the Labour Party.”
“Fine!” shouted the angry voice. “Do you not want power?”
“Oh,” replied the other voice, audibly shocked. “Really? I don’t understand.”
“I just spoke my mind not because I wanted to advance my career but because I thought it was right. You’d think that a supporter of Corbyn would admire that.”
“You think they might?” asked the voice.
“I hope they will,” said Benn.
“Good luck with that.”

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