The Tory Party’s propensity to engage in dirty tricks is well known: already this week, we have seen their press pals briefed by the likes of London’s formerly very occasional Mayor Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson that those ghastly socialists were planning something called a “garden tax”. The Telegraph lapped it up. Some of the more easily led Tory supporters believed it. But it was, as with so much from Bozza, totally untrue.
But now has come an even dirtier trick, this time from the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog, known to be, when push comes to shove, unwavering supporters of The Blue Team. This is to suggest that Jeremy Corbyn, who has just turned 68, is, well, you know, getting a bit forgetful. It’s his age, you see. He has to be taken aside and briefed all the time. Can’t help it, the poor old duffer.
Quite apart from the Fawkes blog being run by someone who was an ardent supporter of Ronald Reagan, a man who was almost 74 years old when inaugurated to his second term as US President, and who by that time was experiencing bouts of forgetfulness, with occasional difficulty in recognising individuals, this is sheer malice.
Corbyn appeared on BBC Woman’s Hour yesterday, and could not remember the headline number for Labour’s free child care promise. It was a brain fart moment, the kind of thing that can happen to anyone, although for a party leader it is seriously embarrassing. Jezza, when questioned later by the BBC’s John Pienaar, ‘fessed up to the moment and apologised for not having his figures to hand.
That was not enough for the Fawkes folks, who then slipped out “Seumas Keeps Having to Correct Clueless Corbyn”, authored by newly anointed teaboy Alex Wickham, who is not known as “Billy Liar” for nothing. The post talked of “how much Jez relies on his aides to bail him out. This is a recurring theme. Time and time again he doesn’t know the party line and has had to be saved by a member of his team”. And there was more.
“Corbyn didn’t know his numbers this morning, and some Corbynistas are trying to dismiss it as a meaningless one off. The truth, evidenced by how often his spokesman has to clarify his random ad-libs to journalists, is that Jezza is a 68 year-old man who is not on top of his brief”. See, voters? It’s an age thing. He’s getting on a bit. Bit slow. He’s getting to the stage where he can’t remember things without being helped.
The sure-footed answer Corbyn gave to Pienaar shows clearly that he has no problem at all remembering things, he doesn’t need aides to bail him out, doesn’t have to be saved by a member of his team, and certainly is on top of his brief.
But what this characteristically nasty smear from the Fawkes rabble shows is that there are no depths to which the Tories will not sink to do the dirty on Jezza. And it will, of course, be totally deniable. I mean, The Great Guido? Nothing to do with CCHQ, honest.