Yes another week, another PMQs self-immolation from Westminster’s very own equivalent of a protesting Buddhist monk who sets himself on fire. Or “doing a Corbyn” as they now know it in Saigon.
So dismal was the Labour leader’s interrogation (he actually only managed to use two of his six questions), today we will look at five unlikely things that could best Jeremy Corbyn in a PMQs matchup. Opponents will be ranked by ease of their victories over the Labour leader.
- Stephen Hawking
“Ah”, I hear you say, “there is no way that Stephen Hawking could beat Jeremy Corbyn, it takes him ages to synthesise his speech and as such he has to plan out all of his sentences far in advance!”. And? Well, both men have to know what they’re going to say before they get to the Chamber and both have an extremely limited ability to deviate off track. However only one of these men is a theoretical physicist who understands the range of possible outcomes he could have to react to, and that is the clincher. Also, he’s easier on the ear. Stephen Hawking wins this bout comfortably, memorably telling Jeremy Corbyn that he’s met black holes with more warmth than him.
- A precocious toddler
It’s fair to say that the Labour leader is better at politics than the average four year old. But what about the exceptional four year old? We’re talking Millie The Trump Girl exceptional here. Assuming they had a booster plinth to see over the despatch box it would actually be a fairly comfortable victory for the young upstart. Advantages would come in the form of a superior factual recall, a smarter outfit (Mum picked it out specially for them), better standards of personal hygiene and crucially greater optimism. An added bonus of course for the potential to break down in tears when old man Corbyn gets all shouty about “OUR ENN AITCH ESS!” CBeebies – 1. Corbyn – Nil.
- An anthropomorphic meerkat who sells car insurance
This is a far closer matchup. Compare the Meerkat ambassador Aleksander Orlov is known for his cheeky-chappy banter and is universally loved despite selling car insurance: no mean feat. He does however have quite a thick Russian accent (politically not very popular at the minute) and a tendency to meander on the subject of Orlov family history (the meerkat equivalent of Corbyn’s “I have a letter here from Laura from Torquay”). Ultimately both sides would go on a fair bit but the wily meerkat would win through his commitment to the free market and pithy catchphrase-based putdown after each statement. Simples.
- A younger Jeremy Corbyn
Specifically a middle-aged Jeremy Corbyn. Obviously this is going to be something of a stalemate seeing as they both agree on more or less everything. Apart from the EU that is. Young Jeremy Corbyn would comfortably demolish old Jeremy’s unprincipled caving here, hitting him with a gem from 1993 when he recognised that the EU “takes away from national Parliaments the power to set economic policy and hands it over to an unelected set of bankers”. Game, set and match to the younger, equally scruffy man, with his victory solidified after he witheringly tells old Corbyn: “You were the future once”.
This would have been an easy victory for the Labour leader if he actually deigned to ask questions. However seeing as today he only managed one question on schools and one on the budget black hole, Apple’s voice activated personal assistant would have simply responded: “sorry, could you repeat the question please?”. Howls of mocking laughter would accompany each robotic request for the Labour leader to actually ask a question until he sat down defeated. Siri wins 4/6 and so would just clinch PMQs.
Of course in light of Siri thrashing Corbyn at PMQs there would come a point at which you have to question whether Jeremy Corbyn is actually a sentient human being. The eponymous test devised by code breaker Alan Turing posited that were one able to have a conversation with a computer that was indistinguishable from that with another human then such spontaneity would have demonstrated “intelligence”. So far during PMQs Jeremy Corbyn has not once displayed this ability to think on his feet and so is best viewed as having achieved the same level of consciousness as that little talking paperclip in Microsoft Word. One’s an annoying, pointless, gimmicky throwback that gets in the way, the other’s the much-loved MS Word paperclip.