Corbyn loyalist claims Labour leader suffers “abuse reserved for black people” from enemies out to “destroy him” …
If you are born white, male and into an affluent middle class family, living in Wiltshire, then you have won the lottery of life in the United Kingdom, if not the world …
Such was Jeremy Corbyn, born on the 26th May, 1949 in Chippenham and brought up in nearby Kington St Michael in Wiltshire.
“It’s quite surprising to discover that I am not old enough or posh enough to be the front-runner of this current leadership election,” joked Harriet Harman, a Harley Street surgeon’s daughter and St Paul’s Girls’ School Alumna, shortly before handing the mantle of Labour leader to Jeremy Corbyn.
And, indeed, at 68, Corbyn is a year older than Harman. But posher? He is no champagne socialist (he barely drinks), and while he is MP for Islington North, which includes the grand Georgian houses overlooking Highbury Fields, he is hardly a member of the Blairite Islington Mafia. If Harman is solidly metropolitan upper middle, Corbyn’s poshness is harder to discern. “Or perhaps it’s heavily disguised,” says one who knows him, “because he certainly wouldn’t see himself as posh.”
Corbyn’s parents changed “Manor” to “House” to downgrade its grandness
But hold on, he is called Jeremy. His childhood nickname was ‘Jelly’ (his brother Andrew was “Dumbo”). Another brother, an astrophysicist and meteorologist, is called Piers. And the children grew up in bucolic bliss, first in the village of Kington St Michael, in Wiltshire, and then at Yew Tree Manor in Chetwynd Aston, a hamlet on the Herefordshire/Shropshire border, a pretty red Georgian property that was once part of the Duke of Sunderland’s estate.
Corbyn’s parents changed “Manor” to “House” to downgrade its grandness, a move reversed by the current owner, a retired solicitor.
Last week, there were rabbits bouncing across the lawn, a cockerel strutting under the copper beech, magnolia and wisteria in bloom. The rambling outbuildings are older than the wood-panelled manor, but the Corbyn boys could romp everywhere and fish and play bicycle polo with hockey sticks. “Jelly” built a sundial in one of the outbuildings and put it up in the garden. Every morning in term-time, their mother, Naomi, drove them up the road to Castle House prep school, a private school.
According to Rosa Prince, Corbyn’s biographer, it was a “thoroughly upper-middle-class, scruffy country upbringing”. His father, David, was an electrical engineer, and Naomi studied science at London University in the Thirties, when women made up only 27 per cent of students. They saw themselves as left-wing intellectuals (the house was “full of books”, says one school friend), and their backgrounds were in law and surveying.
Orwell has not troubled Corbyn’s mind
Ma and Pa Corbyn gave Jeremy, on his 16th birthday, a set of the complete works of George Orwell. I am convinced they remain in mint condition, unread. Nothing about Corbyn’s intellectual outpourings suggests his mind has been troubled by the wit, the wisdom and the thought provoking observations and insight of George Orwell.
Orwell has not troubled Corbyn’s mind, but the Corbyns of the early 1930s, led by their principled, working class leader, George Lansbury, troubled Orwell greatly.
I refer you, dear reader, to the second half of George Orwell’s The Road to Wigan Pier and, in particular, this caricature of the membership of the Labour Party of the 1930s …
“lived in the big house and went to a posh school with a posh uniform”
In outlook, Corbyn’s parents were like the Webbs, Beatrice and Sidney, who helped found the London School of Economics, the New Statesman and the Fabian Society. David Corbyn worked a lot in the Soviet Union and even tried to learn Russian, “but it was too hard”
Nonetheless, Jeremy’s less well-off childhood friends remember him as “the boy who lived in the big house and went to a posh school with a posh uniform”.
One has visions of Ma Corbyn visiting the poor in their hovels; dispensing homespun wisdom to the other ranks; distributing home made conserves and apple jam to the lower orders. A sort of Socialist officer class take on noblesse oblige.
By 1967, the working class had risen, according to the Scouse git on the tv
Today, at the drop of a hat, Jeremy condescends and patronises the other ranks, without even breaking into a sweat. He expects them to be happy with a few extra quid an hour on the National Living Wage; a diminishing chance of renting a Council house (thanks to the Brexit for which Corbyn campaigned for forty years) and, at best, a crack at an NVQ3.
By 1967, the working class had risen, according to the Scouse git on Till Death Do Us Part. Somehow, I do not imagine Ma Corbyn would have approved of all the swearing so it seems highly unlikely that Corbyn, during his grammar school years, was ever aware of that carefully drawn archetype of a working class Tory (yes, Jeremy, they do exist) that is Alf Garnett.
Jeremy was always different from the other boys, even at school
During a talk at the Edinburgh Festival in 2017 Corbyn spoke about his school days, remembering how his posh grammar school was divided between the better-off children who went out shooting birds at the weekends and those who did the beating of the birds, while he did neither. One feels that Corbyn has always been a bit of a prig.
In an interview with ITV on 15th May 2017, Jeremy Corbyn reflected on a “wonderful” and “very liberal” upbringing in Shropshire, but revealed his discomfort at attending a private prep school and then a very posh grammar school.
He said he did not like his grammar school, “because of its selectivity” and “aspects of implicit privilege that all the boys that went there were taught”. In no way, of course, did that sense of implicit privilege infect Corbyn.
Dictum meum pactum
Corbyn does, however, have a tendency to become irritated during interviews, especially when asked to clarify an answer that he has just given. A trait he shares with Nigel Farage, who also went to an all boys’ secondary school, Dulwich College.
One might almost think that as members of the officer class they expect not to be contradicted or cross questioned. Dictum meum pactum, as Nigel’s former colleagues in the City of London might say, and that should be more than enough for the other ranks.
Left Adams’ with two Es at A Level, then went on to teach in Jamaica …
Instead of going to university, Corbyn signed up with Voluntary Service Overseas (later the gap-year choice of Sloanes) for a two year gap year and, despite being a grammar school failure who left Adams’ with two Es at A Level, went to teach in Jamaica, which was then just emerging from its colonial past. He has said that it was a profoundly moving experience, and the exposure to the real hardships of poverty shaped his politics.
Corbyn did enrol on a college degree course on his return from Jamaica, but dropped out after two terms. He then had a number of jobs as a trades union official, never as a shop steward, became an Islington Councillor at 25 and at 33 was nominated to be a Labour candidate in a safe Labour seat.
Corbyn first contested his Islington seat at the 1983 General Election and unsurprisingly won it for Labour. He did, however, get a lower proportion of the vote than his predecessor had received in 1979.
Jeremy Corbyn has been an MP for 34 years now, half of his life, in fact.
Not wealthy because of “where I put the money”
Corbyn also said, during that ITV interview, that despite earning a salary of more than £138,000, he was, he insisted not wealthy because of “where I put the money”, although he refused to elaborate on that.
“I consider myself adequately paid, very adequately paid for what I do. What I do with it is a different matter,” he said.
“I consider myself well paid for what I do and I am wanting to say to everyone who’s well off, make your contribution to our society.”
When pressed on whether he considers himself wealthy, he said: “No, I’m not wealthy because of where I put the money, but I’m not going into that.”
Jeremy does a lot for charity, but he does not like to talk about it?
Nepotism, a discriminatory practice by any other name would smell as rank
Corbyn’s son, Seb, also went to grammar school and then on to Cambridge. On graduation, Seb went to work for Uncle John, his dad’s best mate, John McDonnell.
Seb has never had a job that his dad has not arranged for him.
Corbyn loyalist claims Labour leader suffers “abuse reserved for black people” from enemies out to “destroy him” …
A middle class white man, who, by his own words, was born into affluence and privilege, is experiencing the same sort of abuse that someone from an ethnic minority background may well have had to endure since they first comprehended racism?
Shadow Minister Kate Osamor has said, Corbyn’s Left-wing allies had to “get dirty and ugly” to hit back at “brutal” Labour enemies out to destroy him.
It was shocking that a “‘white man” had been treated so badly, she said and harder to counter than attacks routinely dealt out to “a man of colour” by “the system”.
Would that be the same class system from which Jeremy Corbyn has benefited greatly all his life?
Urgent action needed to secure the Labour leader’s control of the party
Osamor called for urgent action to secure the Labour leader’s control of the party over moderate rebels when she addressed a rally in London on Friday 17th November.
Acknowledging her remark would stir controversy, Osamor said, “I couldn’t believe that, and I’m going to say this, as a white man, he’s been treated the way he has been treated.”
“If he was a man of colour, the way the system has attacked people of colour, I would have accepted that and said, “This is what happens.” I know how to defend that person.”
“But for someone like Jeremy to be attacked in the way he was, it was brutal.”
Corbyn insisted he does not condone or authorise the abuse of any politicians
The Labour leader has, in the past, insisted he does not condone or authorise the abuse of any politicians.
But in an interview in July 2016, he said, “I know that I have received more abuse than I ever used to. But then maybe I’m better known these days. But I receive more abuse than anybody else. The best way of dealing with abuse is: ignore it.”
There you go Osamor, Jeremy Corbyn empathises so much with people on the receiving end of abuse that he suggests they should just grow a pair.
Corbyn a real life David Brent?
In 1970s blokey parlance, Corbyn thinks the best way for dealing with abuse is to grow a pair.
Meanwhile, in 2017, responsible employers do not tell their staff, male or female, that the best way to deal with abuse, physical or verbal, is to ignore it. Instead they urge their staff to report instances of such abuse to their manager so the appropriate action may be taken.
If Corbyn wants to play the victim card then that is a matter for him, but it is not a practice that any well run organisation, considerate of their staff, would encourage. In fact, they would discourage it so as to deter further instances of abuse that might affect other members of staff.
Corbyn could give David Brent lessons in poor people management.
“No one has threatened to rape Jeremy Corbyn, have they?”
Corbyn angered a number of MPs when, on another occasion, he said that he too had suffered personal abuse.
“No one has threatened to rape Jeremy Corbyn, have they?” one MP asked HuffPost UK.
Corbyn tacitly endorsed the bullying and intimidation of Labour staff
On Wednesday 13th July 2016, Corbyn tacitly endorsed the bullying and intimidation of Labour staff, both women and BAME, by voting against the proposal for a secret ballot at the NEC meeting that day.
Johanna Baxter, a trade union official and a representative of constituency parties on Labour’s National Executive Committee, said she had never criticised Corbyn since his election victory and generally avoided speaking to the press but called the NEC meeting “an utter disgrace to our movement”.
Focusing on the debate over whether to hold a secret ballot on allowing Corbyn on to the leadership ballot, Baxter said the Labour leader’s supporters opposed allowing a secret ballot, though they were eventually outnumbered by the rest of the committee.
“The leader of the Labour party voted against the proposal that we conduct our vote in private in order to protect NEC members who were receiving threats, bullying and intimidation. He voted against it. He endorsed bullying, threats and intimidation, by the fact of that vote.”
“The only reason to vote against that is so the intimidation can continue. It’s the most shameful act I have ever seen. He showed his true colours in that vote. I have had people tweet and post my personal mobile online, directing people to me, directing their mob at me.”
Jeremy can’t be held to account for everyone in the world
“They just say: ‘Oh it’s nothing to do with us, Jeremy can’t be held to account for everyone in the world.’ I’m sorry, but he endorsed it,” she said.”
Jeremy Corbyn was sent the following letter just over a week later:
On 29th July Corbyn responded to the above letter, not in writing, but after being prompted to do so by the media.
Corbyn reiterated his “condemnation of all abuse”, called for a kinder politics
Corbyn said he had responded in a public statement, and reiterated his “condemnation of all abuse” and called for a kinder politics. Take note, Osamor?
Corbyn’s letter also defended the fact that he had not wanted a secret ballot during a Labour NEC meeting, which was to decide whether he could automatically stand in the leadership election. He said he opposed it on grounds of “lack of precedent and perceptions of accountability” and said transparency was important.
John McDonnell was once opposed to trades unions holding secret ballots
Back in the day, John McDonnell was opposed to trades unions holding secret ballots on the grounds every member taking part in a vote should know how each other member had voted. The ‘good old days’ of car park ballots with a show of hands, intimidation, chap next to you holding your hand up for you and similar.
Unsurprisingly, Osamor, such practices tend to be biased against women and BAME folk.
It is very hard to see how Osamor and Corbyn can claim Corbyn is a victim of abuse or harassment in the way or to the level that it is experienced by anyone, who is not an elderly, affluent white male from a very middle class background.
Jeremy Corbyn did not die in Wiltshire for the sins of the working class
Jeremy Corbyn and his disciples may think he suffered for the sins of the working class, the dispossessed (of Glastonbury!) and all those at a disadvantage in our society, whilst he endured the hard life of a middle class white boy in Chetwynd Aston …
They may think Corbyn rose as the saviour of the downtrodden in Islington and that he is now on the road to Calvary that ends at Number 10 and public crucifixion in Downing Street.
Jeremy Corbyn is not a woman, BAME, working class, disabled, gay …
They may think that, it may be true, but it does not make Jeremy Corbyn a woman, BAME, working class, disabled, gay …
To quote Aneurin Bevan, “Damn it all, you can’t have the crown of thorns and the thirty pieces of silver.”
Jeremy Corbyn cannot be Labour leader, possibly a Prime Minister, and also be a martyr for the cause.
If Jeremy Corbyn is unable to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, the insolence of Office, and the spurns that patient merit of the unworthy takes, whilst he is Labour leader then he is unfit to lead the party and, by extension, become the next Labour Prime Minister.
Has Corbyn really lived the life of a Lammy or a Lewis?
Is Jeremy Corbyn leading the Labour Party, because he is a talented, hard working, insightful leader and skilled orator, who has done much for society in his long, well paid political career?
Or because he is a rather unremarkable, awfully mediocre male, who was born into an affluent, white middle class family in 1949?