Written by Jane Bostock

In The News

Man has beard and other front page news

The media’s response to Jeremy Corbyn’s election just distracts from the real issues, says Jane Bostock.

anti-corbyn front pages

This article was supposed to be about Corbyn’s ‘enlightened’ decision to appoint a Cabinet role for mental health. My mother has had significant mental health problems for as long as I have known, so mental health is a passion of mine. Much of my working life has been in the field of mental health so I know first-hand how under-resourced, misunderstood and wholly ignored generally it is. It truly is the Cinderella service of the NHS.

But as I sit here, I’m finding it hard to focus. Corbyn’s got a beard, hasn’t he? Sometimes he looks like he got dressed in the dark. Some of his ties are hand-knitted. It’s all screaming at me from news channels and newspapers.

It seems a huge swathe of the media has gone into meltdown over the election of Corbyn as the leader of the Labour Party. Such is the ferocity and venom directed at him, you could be forgiven in thinking the next General Election is around the corner. Whatever you think about the man, this negative feeding frenzy appears unnecessary a few days into Corbyn’s new job and pretty much five years away from Murdoch et al. really needing to panic.

He’s nothing a politician of today should be, we are told. Too old, unkempt, straight-talking, combative with the media and, horror upon horror, too left-wing. An Old Father Time determined to drag us back to 1975.

What was the first thing he did as leader? He decided not to go on The Andrew Marr Show. What an utter ******* (make up your own swear word here). He instead kept a long-standing appointment to tour a local mental health service. I know, the utter ***********.

While the collective media protest – “Jeremy, you’re not doing it right” – I guess what they mean is he’s not putting his image and ego in priority of local constituency needs. No matter what your politics, I would hope that you see how ridiculous this sounds.

“It’s not just David Cameron, but the majority of career politicians that seem unable to grasp what the average person wants. Compassion for those in need seems very low on any agenda.”

This week, despite knowing Corbyn is a republican; the media’s response to him not singing the national anthem was faux outrage. But what would they rather? He sing his little heart out, tears welling in his raging Marxist eyes? And then be branded a hypocrite by the same outlets?

It was in one of the General Election debates that something summed up today’s political mechanics for me. An audience member asked David Cameron about moral obligations to those in need. He seemed to stare into the middle distance trying to process these weird, unfamiliar words and their meaning. He looked to me like a malfunctioning spambot, processing something he could not compute.

It’s not just Cameron, but the majority of career politicians that seem unable to grasp what the average person wants. Compassion for those in need seems very low on any agenda.

I, for one, am looking forward to watching some straight-talking politicians on the Labour frontbench rather than the dreary identikit posh boys and girls talking endlessly around a subject, in fear of saying the wrong thing, whatever that might be. Say the wrong thing, be human for God’s sake and say something that has meaning!

I don’t know enough yet to have a fully formed opinion of Labour’s new leader and strategy, but I have mind enough to make my own decisions, thanks Rupert. Ridiculous stories about mismatching suits do not help one bit, because, while we focus on these distractions, the long-term issues of real concern, such as the importance of a good mental health service and strategy, may as well be pie in the sky.


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Written by Jane Bostock

A human, like you.