From pram to prang, how Jeremy’s day ended with snapped-elas­tic twang

Daily Mail - - Election 2017 - Quentin Letts watches the Labour leader self-de­struct

JEREMY Cor­byn told BBC1’s The One Show last night that as a tod­dler he was al­ways try­ing to get out of his pram. He also con­fessed he was not much good at school work – bomb­ing his A lev­els with two E grades.

Af­ter the day he had yes­ter­day, his spin doc­tors might ob­serve that lit­tle has changed.

Mr Cor­byn sub­mit­ted him­self to the One Show in­ter­ro­ga­tion, just as Theresa May and her hus­band Philip did a few weeks ago. The One Show is most cer­tainly not about pol­icy and cost­ings of pro­posed govern­ment pro­grammes. Just as well!

For when it came to facts and fig­ures, Mr Cor­byn was yes­ter­day in­fused with the spirit of hap­less duo Lau­rel and Hardy, or maybe TV pol­i­tics com­edy ‘The Thick Of It’.

We did get to see some old photographs of Jeremy in his pram, with his grand­fa­ther and brothers, with his par­ents and as a stu­dent aid worker in Ja­maica, where he was a keen pho­tog­ra­pher. But the cam­era had a light leak in it, he said. Rather like Labour’s man­i­festo did.

The youth­ful Cor­byn was a rangy lad, prone to spots per­haps. Is that why he took up a beard? The im­pres­sion we gained was of a child of priv­i­lege - pri­vately schooled, not un­der pres­sure to earn at home, though he did a pa­per round.

The pro­gramme ended with a sec­tion about his great hobby – man­hole cov­ers. A tele­vi­sion first.

But what a day. From the mo­ment Mr Cor­byn woke up – had he per­haps risked a few pints of Guin­ness on Mon­day night af­ter just about sur­viv­ing his TV de­bate with Jeremy Pax­man? – it went from prang to snapped- elas­tic twang.

Yes, the Cor­byn day brought mo­ments of won­der­ful farce. In some ways he is so hope­less he cheers us up. But it is ter­ri­fy­ing to think this clown might soon be our PM.

Things started calami­tously when he went on Ra­dio 4’s Woman’s Hour to dis­cuss Labour’s pro­pos­als for child­care. Pre­sen­ter Emma Bar­nett asked him if he could tell her how much it would cost. ‘I pre­sume you have the fig­ures,’ she said. Cor­byn, blus­ter­ing: ‘Yes I do!’ Pause. ‘Er­m­m­m­m­m­mmm.’ Cue fran­tic scrab­bling for some sta­tis­tics on his iPad. Phone. Notepad. Any­thing!

Ms Bar­nett, with the air of a dis­ap­pointed tu­tor: ‘Is this not ex­actly the is­sue with peo­ple and the Labour Party - that we can­not trust you with our money?’

Mean­while, from out­side the stu­dio you could surely hear the sound of spin doc­tors, as in ‘The Thick Of it’, beat­ing their heads with their brief­cases, kick­ing the walls, and swear­ing like sergeant ma­jors.

Here was Labour’s big pol­icy of the day and Cor­byn did not know the costs. Bil­lions, schmil­lions. Who cares? It’s only pub­lic money.

Off Mr Cor­byn stag­gered to Mum­snet, the web­site for mid- dle- class, so­cial-ac­tivist moth­ers which is the Guardian­istas’ an­swer to Good House­keep­ing. He ar­rived late. Never a good idea with Mum­snet types.

The launch of Labour’s ‘ race and faith man­i­festo’ in Wat­ford was also a bit of a dis­as­ter be­cause by this point hard-Left Labour on­line loonies were dish­ing out dis­grace­ful, anti-Semitic abuse to Emma Bar­nett. Mr Cor­byn tried to apol­o­gise for this. Too late, re­ally. ANd

who should be the front man at the race and faith event? Why, that fine, up­stand­ing man of the cloth, er, Keith Vaz, the sleaze­meis­ter who was caught with his trousers (or were they an­other chap’s) round his an­kles last year amid al­lega- tions of drugs and pros­ti­tu­tion. You may re­call that Mr Vaz claimed to be a wash­ing-ma­chine sales­man called Jim.

Just to help mat­ters along, Labour front­bencher Barry Gar­diner had a row on day­time telly’s daily Pol­i­tics, say­ing that ques­tions about Labour’s ben­e­fits spend­ing plans were ‘nit­pick­ing’.

And then Emily Thorn­berry, Labour’s an­swer to Hat­tie Jac­ques – she’s the multi-mil­lion­aire lawyer who is re­ally called Lady Nugee – of­fered the na­tion her thoughts on postBrexit food ex­ports to the an­tipodes. There was no point ex­port­ing Bri­tish food to Aus­tralia, quoth her la­dy­ship, be­cause ‘it will go off’.

does she think fresh pro­duce is still trans­ported in the car­go­holds of un­re­frig­er­ated, coalpow­ered ocean steam­ers?

The fu­ture rebel: Cor­byn as a tod­dler

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