Corbyn’s supporters think only they can see how brilliant he is – and they’re right, says Tania Edwards.
I get infatuation. I love Jack Nicholson. It grossed everyone out when I was a kid because he was middle-aged, and now it grosses me out because he’s a grandpa and I’m a smoking hot young wife with a new baby BUT STILL.
I get unrequited love. We’ve all adored someone with a husband, girlfriend, or both, who had no room for us in their lives.
I get fantasy. We’ve all imagined how amazing someone we don’t really know would be if they would only let us in to fix them up. For this same reason, I get Jeremy Corbyn: he exists in the eye of his beholder.
Corbyn is not pretending to be bright, or sophisticated, or morally consistent. He says no to most things, and he’s managed to continue to say no to most people EVEN AS LABOUR LEADER because he doesn’t have to ground any of his opinions in political truth, by which I mean pragmatic truth, because his ideas are further from being realised now than they were when he was on the backbenches, because Labour itself is further from influencing anyone now with him at the helm.
This is of course fine with Corbyn because he’s not interested in influence, he’s interested in an idea of himself as above the thing he purports to want: change.
I GET IT.
As for his supporters, I understand the strangled adolescent angst of the John McDonnells, conspiracy theorists railing against soft coups, hard coups, and middling coups, as if power is a wand to be clawed from the clammy hands of their beloved leader.
I get the Emily Thornberrys, reluctant participants, who, like long-suffering parents, are determined to stick with their strategy, and treat the Corbynistas like a child whose crush they can only contain by ignoring.
But what no one should ignore is that most people don’t share the mad passion for Jeremy. The feverish loyalty of his followers depends on this disconnect. They think only they can see how brilliant Corbyn is – and they are right. As he doggy-paddles back from declaring, to the dismay of the Scottish Labour Party, that he is ‘absolutely fine’ with a second independence referendum, he just looks wet.
We do not see a man of action. Some of us think Corbyn is quite dull and below average intellectually. Lots of us can see that the conflict between his principles and his party is producing, well, not much.
Meanwhile, his half-hearted support of Remain when he wanted to Leave, and his half-hearted support of Sellafield when he wanted nuclear disarmament, reassures even the most angst-ridden Daily Mail reader that he doesn’t have the gumption to achieve any kind of national takeover, and certainly not the scary sort.
If anything, Corbyn’s decision to hang out, at Christmas in Mexico, with Andrés Manuel López Obrador, a man who actually managed to agree with enough people at the same time to see Mexico City Square occupied when he lost an election, was strangely reassuring.
The truth is most people do not want a photo of Jezza in a beret on their mugs. At this rate, Labour will just fizzle out in 2020.
Ironically the only politician LESS relevant than Jeremy Corbyn right now is Theresa May. Because as long as he is in power at Labour HQ, she is safe at Number 10.4567 Views
Tania Edwards is a standup comedian and writer.