Around Xmas the massed ranks of the political correspondents were full of how Corbyn’s new team were strategising a turnaround. Spotting that the Brexit and Trump phenomena are widely attributed to a pervasive ‘anti-establishment’ zeitgeist (in some accounts, anti liberal establishment), they determined that Jezza would be positioned as the insurgent candidate, the perfect representative of anti-establishmentarianism: Jezza the authentic, the man of the people, the inveterate rebel – and by no means a liberal.
(Just one link to illustrate – and you can easily find more of this stuff. Chipping in with a perspective from my own rather unexpected window on this world, I can confirm that the impact (as they see it) and simplicity of the Brexit slogan ‘take back control‘ has had a deep effect on Team JC, and they intend to make it their own.)
But then, they must deal with the holy idiot Jezza himself. Once in a while (see this pack of nonsense) he can just about be made to put on a tie and read his lines. But then someone talks to him, and off he goes, right off piste and straight down into the crevasse.
John Humphrys asked if he would like to limit how much fat cats can earn. Corbyn replied. I would like there to be some kind of high earnings cap, quite honestly. When asked at what level the cap should be set, he replied: I can’t put a figure on it and I don’t want to at the moment … Then Humphrys asked him if he was really talking about a law to limit income. At first Corbyn appeared to row back a little bit. I think let’s look at it … I’ve got a view on it … I’m not wedded to a figure on it. But, when pressed again, Corbyn was unequivocal. I would like to see a maximum earnings limit, quite honestly, because I think that would be a fairer thing to do.
You know what, Jezza – I don’t think your team are gonna let you do that. Let’s imagine what he might plump for.
“Well, an MP earns 75 grand, and that’s more than enough for anyone, so, let’s say, £80k? Sounds really generous to me …“
“But Jezza (*collective sigh*), half the management of the Beeb pay themselves a quarter-mill. We gotta keep these people onside!”
“Well maybe 100k – although I can’t quite see how that would go down with those chaps we met last week at the Grimsby Working Men’s Club – that wouldn’t seem like much of an earnings limit to them!“
“Which is WHY we can’t have a limit at all!!”
“Look here, I thought you said we were going to be the People’s Party again! That’s the only reason I agreed to wear that suit last week!”
“Jeremy, trust us on this one … remember? You get to stand on the stage at those big rallies where they love you and wet themselves on the floor; we do the policy. [Cancel that interview this afternoon!] There – have another chocolate digestive; and we’ll go to the pub later. Oh, and we won’t mention this to John – OK?”