Critiquing the Corbyn Clip Crap

Regular observers will have grown used to Jeremy Corbyn losing his marbles at Prime Minister’s Question Time – but never before have those marbles scattered so wildly across the chamber as they did today. Like a deranged late-career performance artist, Jezza wildly changed-up his style: no more the cunning ‘forget to ask the question entirely’ ploy, or that genius googly where he sits down mid-sentence. Today was altogether more cavemanlike, frankly more berserk – and more raw, more terrifying. Jezza used the good ol’ ‘flick and stick’: throw enough paint at the wall and some of it will cling…

‘But he’s doing it for the clips, it’s all for social media!’ says you, an in-the-know political insider. Save that fool-talk for your pathetic and ill-informed dinner parties. It’s quite straightforward: if you took an enormous sh*t-filled fire hose and sprayed its contents all over a blank canvas, you wouldn’t suddenly have the Mona Lisa just by videoing the mess and sticking it on YouTube, would you? Jezza’s Jackson Pollock approach to the art of PMQs meant we were lectured on Windrush, the NHS, schools funding, police funding, Amber Rudd, child poverty, and the macroeconomic situation – all within minutes. Dizzying, ineffective and risible. One feared Jezza was on the cusp of attacking Theresa May over Gulf I, allotments and the lack of publicly-funded raspberry jam…

Why do the political class – hacks and Corbyn aides included – feel that the public (yes – even the young, social media consuming public) are unable to handle the thrill of genuine and sustained political scrutiny? Social media is not a mystical other-world where the rules of reality-based communication are suspended. Delivered well, Corbyn could win in weeks such as these with forensic, concise, scalpel-like questions, laser-guided missiles that expose the failings of a government under pressure, and do so on the most theatrical political stage in the world. And Labour would still be able to edit clips of the whole experience. It’s not that he does not choose to do it, rather, that he is unable to do it…

One character curiously absent from the PMQs clip-a-thon was Speaker Bercow. He yawned throughout proceedings – Newsnight is on late. The last time the Speaker was subject to bullying allegations, Westminster watchers noticed it had the (albeit extremely temporary) effect of calming down the bumptious little Commons goblin, a much-needed valium shot for the over-testosteroned elf. A similar reticence to intervene was in evidence from the chair today – a respite from the flowery, loquacious mid-exchange interventions (which can last up to three minutes). Scandal seems to be his ‘soothing medicament’, perhaps one can be arranged every week… 

Aping the scatter-gun approach we turn finally to Ian Blackford, the living compilation of every dour Scot you have ever encountered, a man with the complexion of a deep-fried Mars Bar and the wit of a sheep turned into bagpipes. He thought he had the smoking gun when he asked May about a statement she had made on immigration in 2013: turned out she was talking about illegal immigration, not about the Windrush generation. How long until recess?

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Quote of the Day

In response to Dominic Grieve’s rumoured plans to request the Government hand over private communication about prorogation to Parliament, Cummings said:

“For a supposedly adequate lawyer who loves the ECHR, Grieve doesn’t seem to realise that his request for private messages is blatantly illegal and will be rejected by the Cabinet Office. We love the rule of law in No10.”


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