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