Monday, 24 February 2020

The Comeback Kids?

I enjoyed a good laugh courtesy of The Times the other day which poked fun at the idea of Jeremy Corbyn and Ed Miliband both returning to Labour's front bench once  the party's leadership election is finally over. 


Ministers want more jobs for low-skilled Brits. Enter Corbyn and Miliband

By Matt Chorley - The Times

Larry Tesler, creator of the copy, cut and paste computer keys, died this week and Labour is staging its own tribute by doing Ctrl-C Ctrl-V on the past to come up with a plan for the future. The problem is they are copying all the wrong bits. Our only hope is that the annoying Microsoft Word talking paperclip will soon pop up and say: It looks like you’re writing another terrible manifesto. Are you sure you want to do that?

It’s not just the policies either. This week we discovered that the all-new-definitely-learnt-the-lesson-of-four-election-defeats Labour Party is planning two extraordinary exhumations: Ed Miliband and Jeremy Corbyn, back despite popular demand.

Sir Keir Starmer, the slowly drying magnolia one-coat candidate, is said to be considering Miliband as his shadow chancellor. Meanwhile, Rebecca Long Bailey, increasingly channelling Mrs Merton as a project manager on The Apprentice, says she would have Corbyn in her shadow cabinet because she “loves him so”.

I know the government thinks that the unpleasant jobs nobody wants should be filled by low-skilled Brits but this is ridiculous.

This Labour reboot is the Police Academy 7 of British politics: utterly predictable, missing all the good actors and just not funny any more.

It’s as if Labour decided after losing the 1992 election that what it really needed was Michael Foot to draw up a new economic policy. Fans of Miliband point out that he has been vindicated because the Tories have implemented many of his big ideas: capping energy prices, curbing rogue landlords, destroying the Labour Party for a generation.

But it is a sign of the paradoxical pickle that Labour is in that the party now venerates the losers while condemning the winners. They can’t even mention evil Tony Blair by name in case they become cursed and accidentally win an election.

When Blair gave a speech this week to mark 120 years of Labour history I assumed it was about how long this interminable leadership contest has lasted. According to my gestation periods wallchart, you could have got a sow pregnant on election day last year and welcomed a litter of piglets before the new leader takes over in April. (It wouldn’t have been the first time a story started with someone doing something unspeakable with a pig and ended with them running to be prime minister, would it?)

I saw Corbyn in parliament the other day. We didn’t chat. We’ve never really been on speaking terms, what with me thinking he was a thin-skinned, delusional, unpatriotic antisemite, and him not knowing who I am.

But he seemed happy. You could tell because he was clutching a blue plastic carrier bag. Always happiest with his bag of leftie leaflets about Venezuela and coal and Israel and vegetarianism and Margaret Thatcher (and preferably about how the Tories were conspiring with the Jews to oppress vegan miners in Caracas). The leaflets are all hard to read because they are fuzzy photocopies of photocopies, an early form of copy and paste.

But the idea of bringing him back is not just copy and paste politics. It suggests someone has been sniffing the glue.