Jeremy Corbyn has gotten a Government Car Service car and a pay increase. Why people on my side of the house are going on about it is entirely beyond me. The leader of Her Majesty’s Opposition has important responsibilities and functions additional to the job of just leading his party.
He must attend important events with his shirt unbuttoned and his tie undone, for instance. He must attend vigorous question-crowdsourcing meetings. He must travel to media interviews to passive-aggressively convey his friendship for terrorists and his hankering after policies which will destroy our economy, our national defence, our way of life and the institutions of our society.
And of course, he must travel without let or hindrance to Westminster, to ask those crowdsourced questions and thank the Prime Minister for answering them. Not at all, Jeremy. The pleasure was all his.
That can’t be done on a backbench MP’s salary and it’s stupid to think of his ‘accepting’ the pay rise and car as hypocrisy. He got himself elected leader of the second largest party. He has to attend a lot more obligatory meetings and he has to manage a busy political life, constituency office and an expansive social engagements list which are the bain of an opposition leader’s life. He’ll have his ear bent by every person he bumps into – and I understand he’s a fairly gregarious chap already.
I may not be a fan of the Labour Party or Jeremy Corbyn’s politics, but I am a fan of the human spirit. He saw a Labour Party which had lost its soul and offered to help them find it – and those of that stripe overwhelmingly endorsed it. When I see him being questioned about why he didn’t sing God Save the Queen, he has the look of someone beaten down by the insignificance of politics-as-practiced. He’s right to reject the bullshit, but he should, rather than saying ‘I will fully take part in all events’, have the courage of his convictions to say:
“You know what? I didn’t sing ‘God Save the Queen’ or implore God to pour his choicest gifts upon her, because I don’t believe that’s important. Neither in my singing nor in my speech do I say things I don’t mean. I have principles to which I don’t expect anybody else to adhere, and because this is a tolerant and respectful society ruled by law and reason I have a right to live by my principles.”
Ironically, this would place Jeremy Corbyn in the role of Howard Roarke and Hank Rearden. Good luck undoing that comparison in your head.