Few things illustrate the change in viewing habits, and indeed our attitude to the monarchy, than the dwindling audience garnered by the Queen’s Christmas Message. Gone are those days in the 1970s when families would ensure Christmas lunch was cleared away before 1500 hours, when the Queen’s thoughts would be shared with the nation, before the afternoon film was screened. Now, around 10% of the population tunes in.
Many are working, yes, even on Christmas Day. Others are away from their homes, visiting relatives and friends. Yet more do not bother tuning in at all. But such is the desperation of our free and fearless press, and the Tory Party which they have in their pockets, that not watching the Queen’s Christmas Message has been turned into some kind of heinous crime - but only if the person not watching is Jeremy Corbyn.
That’s right: the new supposedly devastating attack line from the right is to moan that Jezza might not be watching the Queen on Christmas Day. The Daily Brexit, still sometimes known as the Express, was in the vanguard, sneering “JEREMY CORBYN dodged questions on whether he watches the Queen’s speech on Christmas Day either alone or with his family, saying he ‘usually’ has it on, ‘some of the time’”.
Then came the Murdoch Sun to kick both Jezza and Angela Rayner: “LABOUR's Angela Rayner today claimed Jeremy Corbyn might watch the Queen's Christmas Day speech on catch-up. The shadow education secretary tried to defend the Labour boss, after he was caught out yesterday pretending he watched Her Majesty's annual address to the nation - but said he had it on in the morning”. Yeah, Boo Rotten Unpatriotic Lefties!
And no attack on the Labour leader would be complete without the Mail, which crowed “Jeremy Corbyn allies desperately claim he might have watched Queen's Christmas message 'on catch up' BEFORE it was aired as farce over his TV interview blunder deepens … Angela Rayner has insisted Jeremy Corbyn could have 'watched it on catch up’ … She then claimed he'd actually said he catches up with the speech on Boxing Day … Comes after Mr Corbyn's cringe-worthy exchange with ITV's Julie Etchingham”.
Any more sneering? Ah, but there has to be someone at the increasingly alt-right Spectator to put the boot in, and so it has proved. “It’s a simple question, but one the Labour leader appeared to struggle with during his interview on ITV … ‘You don’t watch it, do you Mr Corbyn?’ Etchingham asked the Labour leader. Oh dear. Another broadcast interview success for Corbyn”. Tee hee hee! Nyaah nyaahdy nyaah nyaah!!
It was left to the Labour-supporting Mirror to relay what Jezza actually does on Christmas Day: “I enjoy the presence of my family and friends around Christmas. Obviously, like everybody else does … And, I also visit the homeless shelter, either on Christmas Day, or the day before, to talk to, and listen to people's lives, about how they could be made better with a government that cared for them”. What most of the press won’t tell you.
Visiting a homeless shelter. Talking to those less fortunate. Maybe including those with mental health problems, victims of broken relationships, those evicted from their homes, and former soldiers with conditions like PTSD. You know, former soldiers - the people the press claims to stick up for. Those they claim Jezza doesn’t care about. Nothing shows the rank hypocrisy of the Tories and their pals to better effect. Another right-wing own goal.
Enjoy your visit to Zelo Street? You can help this truly independent blog carry on talking truth to power, while retaining its sense of humour, by adding to its Just Giving page at