Sometimes, fact is stranger than fiction and so it is with the twittersphere. Take Jeremy Corbyn – please. Labour’s worst ever leader, a career backbench politician who has never had an original idea in his life and led Labour to a succession of electoral defeats – and I include Brexit in that – and in so doing became a cult figure, almost an angel. But after Labour’s worst election defeat since 1935, Corbyn has returned to his previous role in life; a disloyal disruptor who aligns himself with all the wrong people and all the wrong causes. But the cult remains.
Several weeks ago, Labour’s new leader, Keir Starmer, appeared on Radio Four’s Desert Island discs. We learned much more about him, not least his working class background, making him the first working class Labour leader since Jim Callaghan. And he came across as a thoroughly decent human being. All well and good, until the fans of Corbyn got jealous. Take a look at this:
Unable to bear the idea of the new kid in town getting the prestige gig on national radio, his loyal following create their own Pound Shop version, called Not Desert Island Discs. How do they think of these things? Anyway, expect a rendition of ‘
You can only imagine how Corbyn’s ego must be soothed by nonsense like this. Ever since his Glastonbury appearance, where thousands of middle class students chanted his name, he must have missed the adulation. But now he’s back, if not exactly in the limelight, on a minor stage happily out of earshot. But speaking of Glastonbury, how about this?
Tommy Corbyn, who in his day job sells hemp for a living, tweets about his father. He was so proud. I love the bit where he quotes one of the Glastonbury staff as saying, “Who the fuck are you?” No, sorry. I mean, “You know he got a bigger crowd than Rihanna”. For a moment I was quite impressed. I know who I would prefer to see on stage, but then I realised that this elderly crank had acquired a greater audience than Rihanna: she has never played Glastonbury. So poor old Tommy tries to big up his dad and ends up making a twat of himself. Oh well. Unlike his father and his brother, at least he went to a state school.
As ever in the wacky world of the hard left, there’s always something to laugh about. Corbyn on a fake version of Desert Island Discs and his son recalling the day he outshone an absent Rihanna. Meanwhile, thanks to Corbyn senior, Britain suffers under a hard right government. While the middle class Corbynistas enjoy their twee little dinner parties, with their Haute Cuisine and their craft lagers, it takes a young footballer to shame the government into providing meals for hungry children. While the new Labour Party, happily under new management, fights the good fight over the government’s shambolic handling of the coronavirus crisis, the Corbynistas are squabbling about their messiah being booted out of the parliamentary party for – at the very least – turning a blind eye to antisemitism.
The wacky Labour Grassroots just want to worship Corbyn, as his understandably loyal, loving son tweets absolute tosh.
Jeremy Corbyn’s hero Tony Benn always made a point of decrying what he referred to as ‘personality politics’, unless he was the one engaging in it. When he was my MP in Bristol East, he spoke far more fondly of Enoch ‘Rivers of Blood’ Powell than he did of the people he considered to be the right wing of the Labour Party. To an extent, Corbyn has done the same thing, except that he has no personality at all to speak of.
Twitter is hardly the cheeriest place in the world when it comes to politics and occasionally there are times when it is positively unhinged. And so it is with the cult of Corbyn who is, and has always been, an empty vessel. If you love Corbyn, you don’t care about winning elections. That’s as near to being a political fact as you can get.