THIS blog usually lands in trouble when commenting on anything said or done by Oh, Jeremy Corbyn. This is a shame as there is much to admire about the man, not least a stubborn but faithful allegiance to what he has always believed in.
For some reason, whenever seeking the good in Corbyn, at my back I hear the scurrying winds of a ‘but’.
The other day I read about an online insult hurled at middle-aged men who tut about politics, especially with relation to being condescending to younger women giving their opinions. It’s ‘centrist dad’ and is apparently the insult of the moment.
Now I wouldn’t for a moment condescend to young women expressing views about politics, so I hope that slight doesn’t apply. But perhaps I am “Ah, but Man”. That all sounds very honest and idealistic; ah, but. That sort of thing.
Corbyn’s speech yesterday was a very good one in so far as these things can be judged. Mostly he spoke well and his words brought the party faithful to their feet; they loved what he had to say; raised the rafters with cheers as he said: “The Tories are hanging by their fingertips.” And on the BBC News – you know, the one hated by his true disciples – they were shown trooping out with beaming smiles, saying it was Jeremy’s best one ever.
The Corbyn phenomenon is certainly interesting: a man who was always a left-wing outrider in his own party, a bandit in a baggy jumper, has risen to lead his party, as if by fluke. Two years ago, this ascent looked like a crazy experiment that could only end in tears. Now Corbyn’s position at the head of his party is unassailable: he is there for as long as he wants the gig, or until he wishes to hand over to a disciple. And he seems comfortable; seems to be enjoying his moment; and seems in control.
On a morning when time is tight, and the drive to Horsforth awaits, there is no time to dwell on the details. But that ‘clinging by their fingertips’ should perhaps worry those who wish to see a Labour government – and I’d rather see one of those than any other kind.
And it is this: the Tories are very good at clinging by their fingertips; the tips of those fingers are made of iron forged in the heat of long and tedious battles. And even a prime minister as bankrupt and hopeless as Theresa May isn’t going to give up without a fight.
The ‘reviews’ for Corbyn are fairly good this morning, better than expected, with The Times saying that Corbyn was “filling a vacuum of ideas” left by a Tory Party that had failed to inspire voters.
All that is true, and good luck to the man; honestly, and almost without an “ah, but”. The Huffington Post inserts one of those into its analysis, saying that the speech was his “best by far”, but worrying: “Has the nation reached Peak Corbyn?” and asking: “Can he keep this up for five years?”
That is perhaps the biggest question. Corbyn has the impetus right now, as he rides the socialist slipstream of surprise. “Power to the people,” is how the faithful Daily Mirror puts it.
Authenticity is often given as the key reason for Corbyn’s success, and that is surely right: he is the real deal, but – “ah, but” – are the Tories really about the crumble, or will they cling on by the tips of their entitled fingers; that’s what happens all too often.