Ah! So Jeremy Corbyn is a manipulating, truth-bending, people-scorning politician after all, and not the breath of fresh air he has projected himself to be. What a surprise!

It didn’t really need the Virgin video footage disproving his claim that there was nowhere to sit on a Virgin Train from London to Newcastle to prove him a humbug, if you didn’t already suspect that. All that was necessary was to ponder these two sentences: ‘Is it fair that I should upgrade my ticket whilst others who might not be able to afford such a luxury should have to sit on the floor? It’s their money I would be spending after all.’

The first is a simple attack on capitalism such as might reasonably be expected from an extreme socialist, but it is worthwhile his less extreme fans taking a pause to appreciate what it means. It is a microcosm of what some of those who campaign against inequality mean. Why should people be able to buy advantage? Why should the rich be able to buy better schooling for their children? Why should they jump the queue for operations by paying to go private? Why should they stretch out their legs in First Class on long haul flights while other everyone else tries to get some sleep squashed into their seats in Economy? Why should some be able to afford to live close to where they work while others have a long commute on an over-crowded train? There’s a naïve, but straightforward answer to this. Because that’s what money is for, and it’s why people work hard, at school and afterwards, to have more of it. Easy, easy now, calm down. Yes, I know that for some people, money is a medium of exchange allowing them to eat, clothe and shelter themselves, and that it is only when you have dealt with those needs that you can even consider the whole question of aspiration, and the purchase of advantage. Poverty is an abomination, and of course the state should ensure that basic needs are covered for all, a laudable ambition for the leader of the Labour Party, the architects of the welfare state, and a goal still far from satisfied. But that is quite different from a belief that money should essentially confer no advantage whatsoever, an aim which can only be achieved by state control of employment, remuneration and profit such as we find in present day communist Cuba.

However, Corbyn makes no secret of his far-left ambitions, so none of this should come as a surprise. He has, however, chosen to market himself as a different kind of politician, as one who listens to the people and does not indulge in the pettiness of the Westminster jungle, and will not take part in cheap point scoring in the house, preferring instead to present the real questions of real people in his PMQ exchanges with David Cameron. In the mini-scandal following revelations made in the Panama Papers earlier this year, Corbyn was happy to publish his tax return, having had the advantage of knowing what had happened to David Cameron when he tried to rely on his right to privacy, and how we roared when it was revealed that not only was his income endearingly pathetic, (compared to Boris Johnson’s whopping £3m, mostly from his distinctive brand of journalism) but he had actually paid too much tax. Oh Jeremy. How could you not love a man who looks like that, and who so loves his country and the common people that he would rather err on the side of generosity when all the rest of us were saying that no sane person chooses to pay more tax than they are obliged to do by law? How fortunate that Labour gave him a chance.

Well, here he is playing that game again, and this time failing rather miserably at it: ‘It’s their money I would be spending after all!’ Would you look at that guy? Oh, it gets me here. He won’t even accept that his own money is his.

Endearing? Up to a point – the point at which it becomes idiotic to the point of lunacy or dishonesty. It is exactly the flip of the infuriating and petty-minded logic that has Homer Simpsons of every civilised nation telling public employees ‘I pay your wages!’ Does Mr Corbyn apply this argument to every one of his personal expenses? Is his weekly shopping basket an agony of indecision over which brand of baked beans to buy so that he can accumulate enough extra funds to overpay his tax again? Does he spend a disproportionate amount of time on comparison websites to ensure that his banking, his utilities and his mortgage (Does he have one? That seems wrong…) are all the cheapest that they can possibly be lest he squander some of his now nearly doubled £137,000 salary[1]  on overpriced luxuries, or even worse, buying advantages that aren’t available to those people who don’t earn his sort of cash, but are closer to the national median of £27,600. [2] And then does he realise that he should be doing something a bit more important like coming up with his own questions for the Prime Minister, instead of tinkering with his bills, and get into a quandary about which activity is best value for money for the taxpayer? Of course not. Mr Corbyn will only consider his earned income to belong to us when he can use it as a pusillanimous gesture of solidarity.

Oh but wait. Have I misunderstood? Did he mean it was his expenses? He didn’t mean that his own earned income belonged to the taxpayer, but that by avoiding having to put that extra expense through the Commons expenses ledger, he was saving us all some money. That makes sense. What a guy. What a guy.

Except –where was he going? On his way to a hustings alongside Owen Smith. A Labour Party meeting to decide their leader. Surely he’s not suggesting that the public purse should pay for that, is he?

If he is, then it would better for us all in every sense if he just didn’t go at all.


[1] I can’t imagine the money is at all why he is clinging so desperately to power, though, can you?


[2] Come to think of it, if he doesn’t actually spend some of his money on things which are, in some sense at least, buying a first class ticket while some have to sit on the floor, what does he spend it on?


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