It has been a bad and good day for Jeremy Corbyn.
On the day David Dimbleby – an establishment figure – stated that Corbyn had been poorly served by the UK media, essentially a right-wing media, Jeremy had to endure this again with the BBC in both their lunchtime and early evening slots. His forgetting the figures for a commitment, if elected to government, to funding universal childcare in his Woman’s Hour interview grabbed all the negative headlines. Sure, he should have known them for the performance element of politicking, and in light of Diane Abbot’s appalling forgetfulness, but in reality it doesn’t matter. He was trying to get them from his tablet; trying to get the exact figures. Perhaps he actually did, but I don’t know and it doesn’t matter. What is worse: forgetting, or telling a lie? Which political party currently campaigning has a tight honest grip on reality and truth?
I think Labour does, in fact. Honest fallibility. Honest intention. Honest caring. That’s a magic three, by the way. I’ll take all of them for their humanity.
And that’s what came across on Corbyn’s ‘interview’ tonight for the One Show. The tweets [and I mean positive ones] are already referring to what a genuine nice person he is, and I’ll go for that too. But the Tories and other miserable strategists will ask: do we want a ‘nice’ person to lead the country, or do we want a ‘strong’ person to lead the country? Before I answer, note how the balancing act of the word ‘stable’ has disappeared from the former mantra. Another U-turn. Another quick strategic shift for politicking.
The answer is, of course, I reject the ‘nice’ tag because the important quality Corbyn demonstrated was his humanity. He is a genuine, humane person. Yes, yes, yes [not so magical, but honest], I’ll take that.
I have been totally reassured in my decision some time ago to join the Labour Party because of the honest integrity demonstrated by Corbyn. I have had my doubts about his ability to lead the Labour Party and the country – both pragmatic and political – and some of those doubts continue for many reasons, but I have no doubt at all that he deserves a chance in the same way that this country deserves a chance at a different kind of political leadership. I obviously agree entirely with his Labour ethos – the undeniable Socialism – but we also deserve that humane and honest and hotdiggitydog trio of attributes.
I put that last bit in because I am actually quite upbeat at the moment about Corbyn’s chances and also because he has shown his own sense of humour.