(1) Corbyn's Relaunch
The political relaunch is always a soul-destroying exercise, forever associated with doomed leaderships: IDS, Brown, Miliband (several times) ... One supposes the corps of political hacks must get a sort of professional kick from it - they, after all, are the primary target, it being the sole aim of the exercise to get just the faintest soupçon of a favourable review out of them.
|March to the gallows|
D-Day will be announced; a speech will be carefully crafted; a bizarre venue, supposedly of deep symbolic significance, will be chosen; a fake audience will be invited (on terms of bewildering secrecy); the speech will be rehearsed, then re-crafted; focus groups will be hastily convened; sound bites will be trialled, then trailed; should we brief Michael Crick? - but he'll just remind us of when we said the exact opposite fourteen months ago?; packages will be prepared for the Sundays; every broadcasting studio will be awarded an exclusive interview in a logistical plan requiring SAS precision to deliver the leader hither and thither across London over a six hour period; the speech will be re-crafted (again); big packs of Tena-pants for grownups will be procured and distributed; favours will be exchanged with news editors (OK, how about if you are the only paper to be given the full text in advance?); pre-spun headlines and gobbets that it is hoped will command the airwaves on D-Day are issued in strictly embargoed press-releases; the leader's best suit is dusted down and his shoes polished (do I really have to wear a tie?); the pre-spinners make their final calls to maximise the chances everyone gets the message on Jeremy 2.0 (sic) ...
And then - the sun rises on D-Day and HMS Corbyn (Corbyn the corvette: there is no battleship of that name) heads for the beaches. Carnage! He runs ashore miles away from the intended target and Oberst John Humphrys is well-prepared. The leader forgets all his special training and looses off a clip of non-issue ammunition that misfires. By midday he is well off the intended track and his staff are obliged to hatch a new plan from scratch and insert a lavish retraction in the afternoon's speech - thank the Lord they are all former journalists and can turn out that crap at 500 words to the hour - and pretend they are delighted with the outcome: "am told Team Corbyn pleased" - (Norman Smith, BBC).
Yes, that's what they did alright: a classic reverse-ferret. You know it, because "Mr Corbyn's office are said to be relaxed about his unscripted early-morning remarks on capping pay, and are pleased that it dominated the headlines". That's relaxed as in senna-pods and syrup-of-figs. *Said to be relaxed* is code for chewing the carpet, sobbing.
And how did it go down with the political hacks? Pretty much the best Corbyn's office could muster was "all publicity is good publicity". Anyone taking comfort from that is way too easily satisfied - and clearly didn't read the actual write-ups. "Still a coherent message on Brexit eludes him"; "his proposals flipping around like a dropped hosepipe"; "Corbyn could no more approximate Trump-esque barnstorming rhetoric than he could fly". And that's just the Guardian writers. The fragrant Laura K summed it up in her closing words on the 10 O'clock News: "doomed to fail".
And since the re-launch? More of the same, including mockery of the utterly contrived parrotting of Trump's "rigged system" meme in the desperate belief Corbyn can ride the anti-establishment wave that is deemed to sweep all before it. It's hard though, isn't it, to associate that dynamic metaphor with the man whose instinctive posture when riding is ... crouched on the floor of the train. Behind the lavatory.
(2) May's Speech
Bit of a contrast here. Nicely trailed; everything kept tidy; pretty respectful write-ups. Nine-out-of-ten. Contrasted pointedly and favourably with Corbyn everywhere, in fact. And actually revealing something worthy of note: she's concluded (as have we all) that by their churlish demeanour over the past several months the eurofed-leadership leaves us with no alternative but to plan for Hard Brexit. Hurrah (or YAY!, according to choice.)
A couple of other highly encouraging things. (i) P.Hammond properly onside - at last, but hey, he got there in the end - and coming onto the dancefloor with a nicely choreographed and plainly worded newspaper interview for German consumption. (ii) That fantastic story in the Guardian that had me so happy last weekend. The one with the leak from a briefing for MEPs by M.Barnier, where he said they badly needed a special deal with the City. How very convenient - and so beautifully timed. Leaks like that put the bastards on notice that if they reckon to hold any planning meetings in nice, comfortable offices in Brussels or Strasbourg, or use telephones, or email ... GCHQ will have 'em for supper.
Grown-ups - 3. Kindergarten - nil (points deducted for fielding a player out of his league)
(3) Rick Parfitt RIP
Anyhow, it's the weekend, and a proper C@W tribute is long overdue to the great Rick Parfitt of Status Quo, whom we lost last month. Take four minutes out and enjoy this. Sorry, I know the pic below is not of the man himself - blame the blogger/youtube embedding function. But the song is one of his. A great intro - and quite a lot more than 3 chords ...