Daily catch-up: Labour’s new leader – the honeymoon postponed

John McDonnell, Jeremy Corbyn’s shadow chancellor, promised to ‘transform the idea of leadership’ in the Labour Party

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Jeremy Corbyn’s decision to give his first speech on mental health was an excellent one, as was that to appoint a shadow minister for mental health, Luciana Berger.

Apart from that, his debut has not gone so well. Particularly worth reading is this account from Darren McCaffrey of Sky News of the reshuffle as overheard in the committee corridor outside the Labour whips’ office on Sunday night. The honeymoon that I thought the new leader might enjoy in public opinion has been postponed.

I have written for The Independent on Sunday and yesterday’s Independent on Corbyn’s election, the most extraordinary event in British politics since the universal franchise. (As Daniel Finkelstein noted, Corbyn’s election was surprising and consequential but not necessarily significant.)

Bagehot in The Economist agreed that, is even less forgivably than being unelectable, Corbyn is boring.

I also wrote a “What he said and what he meant” analysis of Corbyn’s victory speech. If that was the first that a normal person had seen of him – there was a clip on the BBC News on Saturday night – the impression would have been of a shouty man shouting about poverty and inequality. As Anthony Adams said, “people will decide within 24 hours if Labour made a choice they can live with or not”. Janan Ganesh agreed: “That’s exactly how it works. A quick but deep judgement.

• Also well worth reading is this joint interview by Michael Segalov with Corbyn and John McDonnell, his shadow chancellor, from April 2015. McDonnell, who said in 2010 that he wished he could go “back to the 1980s and assassinate Thatcher”, admitted his comments were “sickening” and “distasteful”. Perhaps he wishes he could go back in time and not say them.

Later in the interview McDonnell said: “Let’s be clear, we don't believe in leaders.” Segalov thought this was weird for someone who tried to be leader in 2007 and 2010, failing to gain enough nominations. Sour grapes? “McDonnell faltered, slightly, for the first time,” said Segalov.

“We believe that leaders should be following the masses. We only ran in leadership campaigns to get our ideas across, to use it as a platform.

“One of the first things we’d have done, had we won, was transform the idea of leadership within the Labour Party.

That is indeed one of the first things they’ve done.

• The Top 10 in The New Review, the Independent on Sunday magazine, was Computer Game Characters. This was to mark the 30th anniversary of Super Mario (although Mario himself was named in 1983, having been born as Jumpman in 1981).

• And finally, thanks to Moose Allain ‏for this news just in:

“Sad to hear that William Tell’s son has died. He will be missed.”

Comments