Tuesday, 15 December 2015
There is a new Star Wars movie out, apparently. The Farce Awakens. Original boxed Star Wars figures – toys made never to be played with but stored, cossetted and later coveted by middle-aged men who came out of cinemas in 1977 not emulating the oh-so-cool Han Solo but considering whether to invest their pocket money on a ridiculous Wookie or the motorised vacuum cleaner R2D2. They are laughing now or rather, if there is any justice, they are gazing up at their still-boxed treasure, wondering what happened to their misspent youth. Things get old. George Lucas is old, Star War is old.
The Labour Party is getting older by the minute, too and the cracks are well past starting to show. Electing the sort of progressive ‘firebrand’ that Jeremy Corbyn seems to represent has exemplified this more than anything. You may not have noticed, Labour, but the man is not exactly the galvanising media whore that last got you elected, back in 1997. The Thatcher-lite New Labour era was the closest Labour ever got since the post-war years to actual popularity, as opposed to the grim class struggle which typified Jezz’s firebrand days. He may be ‘only’ 66 but his politics are as old as communism itself.
Now, I’m going to say something controversial here, but bear with me. Given the rocky road that awaits all politicians these days – life in the goldfish bow of public scrutiny, suspicion and contempt and possibly ending in ignominy as you are pilloried for behaving the way all we imperfect people behave – the price of power must rarely be worth the ephemeral rewards. Why then, do they do it? I have to believe that, like the George Lucas franchise, people keep telling them that what we really need right now is another tedious re-telling of the same old story. But with Labour the farce really is with you.
Far from the new politics he promised, Obi-wan Jenobi has created an enormous rift between the various factions of the fanciful rebel alliance he purports to lead. And just as nobody can reveal the plot of the Lucas movie, few seem to be able to say very much about settled policy for Labour. But what we do have is a growing cast list of heroes and villains and the latest comic relief is provided by the charming Labour MP Jess Phillips. Not content with telling Diane Abbot to fuck off she is now doing her bit for party unity by promising the glorious leader “I won’t knife you in the back, I’ll knife you in the front.” Helpful that isn’t.
Two more hopes... Bob and No.
Well, I won’t be watching Star Wars. I am, after all, no longer twelve. But I am utterly intrigued by the intriguingly dynastic and perennial saga of wrinkly old sages, robotic minions, heinous villains and fairy queens of Labour’s long-running pantomime. Jeremy Corbyn’s travails have only just begun and before he can really begin to take the reins and crack the whip he has to tackle the dissenters; more referee than leader. This winter, the only show in town is The Umpire Strikes Back