- Tue Nov 26, 2019 9:53 pm
Well, Jeremy Corbyn has just given a big set piece election campaign interview to Andrew Neil.
It was an unmitigated disaster. Neil asked JC about anti-semitism in the Labour Party, Corbyn's proposed "neutrality" in the Peoples' Vote referendum that Labour would set up ("If you're neutral, who would lead the Leave campaign for Labour?") , how Labour would fund the restitution payments for WASPI women given there was no budget for it in Labour's manifesto, and how Corbyn would deal with a situation where British troops had cornered a future ISIS leader wearing a suicide vest like Al Baghdadi was.
All entirely valid questions for anybody aspiring to be PM, and you'd think relatively easy for a properly prepared Labour leader to deal with.
But Corbyn was hopeless. He was trying so hard to be calm that he was practically comatose, though punctuated with his characteristic outbursts of pique ("Andrew, can I just finish?!!!") and sounded, more than anything else really, deadly dull and rather slow-witted. He really isn't clever enough for this sort of thing.
Neil was in no mood to give Corbyn any quarter whatsoever (which is how it should be) and of course, Corbyn tripped himself up on every question. That tedious old "I absolutely condemn all forms of racism, which have no place in the Labour Party or society and I've personally fought all racism my whole life....bla bla bla") formulation isn't really what's needed in response to a question about why the party you lead is so shite at dealing with what could be endemic anti-semitism now but Corbyn hasn't realised this.
Not so much a car crash as a multiple pile-up on a busy stretch of the M25.
In any big set piece leader's TV interview in an election campaign, the question that you always need to ask is whether viewing the leader's performance on TV, an undecided voter would happily decide to cast a vote that might lead to Jeremy Corbyn becoming PM. On this showing, the answer is quite simply "no". In fact it has probably had the opposite effect.
The problem is the same one it has always been for the past four years. The party has elected (twice) an individual who is utterly unsuited to the job of winning an election to return Labour to government, and unacceptable as a putative PM for far too many electors.
This could well have been the moment that Labour's fourth successive election defeat became nailed on.
"The opportunity to serve our country. That is all we ask." John Smith, Leader of the Labour Party, 10 May 1994.