Poor Jeremy Corbyn...now you expect a punch-line, don’t you? Although I will never vote for the man (unless he treads a different path) I do not feel as hateful towards him as many others. In fact I quite respect him; he is virtually the same age as me and I cannot imagine the stress he is going to subject himself to, in what should be his twilight years, feet up in front of the telly. In fact, unless he is very lucky he won’t even have enough time left to write his memoirs, that’s if dementia doesn’t set in before he starts.
He was late throwing his hat into the ring and even struggled to get enough signatories on his nomination paper, I understand he believes those that did support him did so more out of pity than conviction.
Despite everything, he is a man of principle and even though many of his principles sound a warning bell for me, I cannot deny that he has the courage to stand up and say what he believes. While I am a strident monarchist I had to admire him for standing by his guns and not singing the royalist-inspired National Anthem. I guess that if our Anthem were Jerusalem, he might have sung it, except that he probably thinks it pays homage to Israel, which has annexed much of that once-Palestinian city.
Anyway, unlike John Redwood wearing his Welsh hat (the Secretary for State for Wales’ one, not a pointy black witch’s thing), he did not pretend that he was singing and that needed principle and courage because it was obvious the media’s opinion would be vitriolic.
Will he make a good leader of his party? Who knows? I expect that he will listen to his people and develop policies to suit them, whereas at least one of his foreblairs only paid lip service. However, before he can propose anything radical, he will have to examine the constraints imposed upon him by EU rules. Even renationalising the railways is not permitted, so he will have to decide quickly if he is going to opt for withdrawal, which Diane Abbott might claim he did once (at least), or be hamstrung in his wildest ideals.
Will he make a good leader of the opposition? I think he will. Not least because he is not afraid of getting it wrong: he clearly prefers persistence to performance. I am sure he will be a constant thorn in Cameron’s side...a constant prick of conscience.
Will he make a good prime minister? We shall never know; the 2020 election will see Labour decimated and UKIP could even come in the first two. By 2025 he will be 77 and ill-equipped for the role, even with Merkel or her successor there to tell him what to do, if we don’t vote ourselves out first. I reckon he will be sacrificed long before then with the Labour Party opting for a woman, having tried every other option. Just think, the other half of the odd couple could get her chance.
One point of interest, although he wouldn’t shout about it: Corbyn represents the end of a decaying bloodline. He follows Gordon Brown, John Major, Margaret Thatcher, Ted Heath, James Callaghan, and Harold Wilson as party leaders that had the benefit of a selective education, a Grammar or High school, after an 11 plus exam. His predecessors all went on to become prime minister...will he or won’t he represent selective education’s last stand in the face of the ubiquitous public (private) school hegemony?
In the meantime, I salute him, especially when he knew that all his ill-considered past activities would catch up with him and lay him as bare as he was that day with...yes, you know who...in a Cotswold field, one hot summer.