How Jeremy Corbyn will handle the whole “Britain is a constitutional monarchy” thing continues to roll on as an ongoing concern. As the leader of the opposition, Corbyn has been invited to a banquet Her Majesty is holding at Buckingham Palace; he was apparently thinking of sending someone in his place. Instead, he’s decided to attend – and use the opportunity to question Xi Jinping directly about China’s human rights record.
It’s worth exploring some of these issues briefly here. China executes the highest number of people annually by quite some margin; many non-violent crimes, such as smuggling in certain instances, are actually capital offences. Of interest to the UK in particular should be the persecution of Christians – given David Cameron likes to reminds us all that we are a “Christian nation”, sticking up for the rights of the faithful worldwide should be the least one would expect.
Thus far, Jeremy Corbyn has been a rather poor Labour leader. But as a campaigner, the man has a long and illustrious history. And if he wants to spend the rest of his time as leader of the opposition questioning dodgy governments about the terrible treatment they dish out to their own citizens, I will genuinely applaud him for that. It may even do a little good here and there. And if it does, whatever else Jeremy Corbyn may do – like embedding decades of Tory government, as a for instance – if he achieves something on this front, there will have been a definite upside to his time as leader of the Labour Party.
He could even become a sort of secret weapon on just such occasions. I can imagine him and Osborne as a sort of double act. George charms them and then Jeremy comes over to give the Saudis or the Azeris or whomever a good earful. Osborne can do a sort of “What I can say? Jeremy’s off the leash. But he does have half a point here, I must admit” thing and who knows, perhaps I’m being overly optimistic, but maybe even a life or two may be saved somewhere along the way.
Anyhow, it’s comforting to have something to cheer Corbyn on for now and again. His concern for human rights abroad is one I share. If only he could figure out that socialism is a bad idea, perhaps I could really like the guy properly.