Today is Jeremy Corbyn’s second crack at Prime Minister’s Questions. Coming at a time when the Labour Party are having an internal squabble about….well, everything really, it would a grand moment for Jeremy to inflict some damage on the PM.
But we are pretty much guaranteed that won’t happen. Mostly due to what we saw at Corbyn’s first PMQs, which I will now take the time to review.
The left-wing press were ever so impressed with Jeremy’s efforts (sounding a little patronising in a lot of instances) while the right-wing press very predictably said Corbyn was awful. The way I saw it was it was like the opening over of a cricket match; the bowling side have decided to give the ball to a kid they’ve picked from the stands. The batting side don’t know what to expect at all – it seems like the kid should, statistically speaking, be rubbish, but then again, what if he’s a genius bowler? Or more likely, what if by taking him lightly the opening batsman takes a swipe and skies it? The opening batsman is told by the coaching staff to play six defensive strokes regardless of what comes his way.
So the first ball is delivered – and it’s like a lob you’d get in the nets, straight down the middle, slow as you like. But the batsman had his orders and defends. The second ball is more of the same; as is the third and fourth. The batsman is getting jumpy now – he knows he could have hit every ball bowled in the over to the boundary. But he sticks with the plan and blocks out the rest of the over. Fans of the bowling side cheer their side on. “We had that batsman rattled there.” But keen watchers of the game know the truth.
So will Cameron start hitting Corbyn’s pub team full tosses for boundaries today – or will it be like last time? Or will Jeremy start throwing it at Cameron’s head? This is the problem with the kinder, gentler politics: if you think politics is about class warfare and massive ideological divisions, does using PMQs to have a friendly chat about politics every week with Cameron make a whole lot of sense? Surely if Corbyn’s argument is that this government is literally destroying the country, he must take said government on with whatever he has at his disposal?
Then again, I’m just trying to understand Corbyn and what he’s trying to achieve. I thought I sort of got it a bit during the leadership contest, but going by what’s happened since he won, I’m more confused than ever. Because going back to the cricket analogy: Labour can cheer on all the maiden overs they like, but at some point they really need to start taking wickets.