Politics has always been more about personalities and less about policies than it should be. But I don’t remember it being quite this juvenile, quite this spitefully unpleasant before.
Labour leaders – with the curious exception, for a few years, of Tony Blair – have always been a target for the vitriol spat by some of our national press. Jeremy Corbyn no doubt knew it would be his turn the moment he was elected party leader. The moment, in fact, his candidacy for the job was announced.
But I don’t suppose even he imagined just how unfairly, how unremittingly, how childishly he would be dragged through the mud. How much he would face of the kind of undignified inanities normally reserved for unsuccessful England football managers. And along with that, almost worse, the sneering and trivialising attitude of the BBC.
One effect of all this nastiness has been to weld a pretty solid support for him out of those of us who always saw a decent, honest man trying genuinely to do his best. So it’s with deep sadness and regret that I now have to say I’ve had it with Corbyn.
I’m still sure he’s a remarkably nice bloke for a politician. But as a leader he is a disaster. The momentum is gone, wasted. And that’s not entirely the fault of the press.
Corbyn’s incomprehensible decisions over this past fortnight to bow down before the government have torn another great rip through the fabric of his already tattered and threadbare party.
And by agreeing before the Brexit debates began to back the triggering of Article 50 regardless, he gave up any possibility of salvaging anything from the wreckage. The debates became almost pointless. EU citizens here, and UK citizens abroad, abandoned to their fate and to a government that breaks its promises left, right and centre.
Corbyn now says he’ll fight for two years to get an exit on the best terms. But he’s too late. The fight’s happened, and he threw in the towel before the first bell.
Seeing the performance of Owen Smith on Question Time last week, I wondered for the first time if the wrong man won the Labour leadership contest. It’s a bit late for that too.
Smith and the Norwich South MP Clive Lewis are among very few people to come out of this whole affair with credit. Others are Nick Clegg – too late to redeem him from his colossal error of judgement in 2010 – and the best Tory PM we never had, Ken Clarke. Too late all round.
I could fill this page most weeks with my thoughts on Brexit. I don’t suppose I could change your mind, though, whichever way it’s made up. And I couldn’t change the sorry fact of where we are as a country.
But I’m sick and tired of being called a “remoaner”.
Apart from the fact that it’s a pathetic, school-playground sort of insult, it doesn’t come near expressing how angry I am. Or the urgency of the argument.
It’s as if I was in the back seat of a car heading faster and faster towards a cliff-edge, yelling at the driver to watch where she’s going. While she takes her hands off the wheel to turn round in her seat and tell me to stop moaning.
It’s enough to make me start calling certain people bad names.
Ronald Coyne must be a right charmer. Only truly delightful young people video themselves burning £20 notes in front the homeless.
Give him a few years and this official (ex-official now) of the Cambridge University Conservative Association will probably be in the Cabinet. Chancellor perhaps, given his respect for both money and the disadvantaged. He seems the type.
The attempt by some of the press to smear Nicola Sturgeon by describing him as “a member of her family” is pretty rich, though.
His dad is the brother of the ex-husband of Sturgeon’s husband’s sister. That’s a pretty extended family. I must be related at least that closely to thousands of people I’ve never even heard of. By my calculation, it puts Coyne and Sturgeon only one degree of separation short of the six that are supposed to link you to everybody in the world.
Paul Dacre, the editor of the paper Wikipedia no longer trusts enough to be a source of accurate information, is probably related at least that closely to all sort of undesirables – socialists, people on benefit, refugees, people who fancy Diane Abbott…