Andy McSmith's Diary: Solitude and clothes maketh the man

Jeremy Corbyn seems resistant to the prospect nothing can be the same again

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There were looks of unbridled terror on two of the faces backstage on Saturday for the announcement of Jeremy Corbyn’s momentous win, I am told. They were the faces of Jeremy Corbyn and his son, Seb. Corbyn senior seems curiously resistant to the prospect that nothing can ever be the same again for him. During his 32 years as a backbencher, he was a loner who was often seen around Parliament, walking alone, deep in thought.

Those who voted Corbyn in the belief that he would bring a different style of leadership to politics may get what they wished for.

No Dicks, please

Arguably the greatest service the new Shadow Chancellor, John McDonnell, ever performed for the Commons was to unseat Terry Dicks, his ghastly predecessor as MP for Hayes and Harlington.

Dicks had many obsessions, one of which being the way MPs dressed. In one 1984 outburst he  attacked Corbyn for dressing in an “appalling” polo-neck sweater – and Harriet Harman for wearing jeans and a sweater. “Any resemblance between her and a lady was entirely coincidental,” he spluttered.


The National Farmers’ Union tell me they welcome the appointment of Kerry McCarthy as Labour’s Shadow Environment Secretary. Last October, TV presenter Bill Oddie led a squad of nature lovers into the countryside to oppose the culling of badgers. One MP accompanied him. It was Kerry McCarthy. Not much of a meeting of minds in prospect there.

Aussie rules

When news came through that the Australian Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, had been sacked by his own party, just as his former opponent Julia Gillard was sacked by hers two years ago, Tony Blair’s old spin doctor Alastair Campbell tweeted in awe: “My God those Aussies do not mess around when it comes to dumping leaders who clearly aren’t up to it.”

Could he possibly be thinking that this was an example to emulate somewhere closer to home?