I stopped punching the Corbyn bag a little while back. Part of that came down to getting bored of saying the same thing in different ways; part of it was that the EU speech gave me some hope for the guy. Not much, I stress – but at least enough to give the bloke a little elbow room. He figured out a way to say something that actually affected the wider public debate on something. Now, I’m never going to be a Corbynista, but if he could keep making a difference, who knows?
Then came today’s PMQs. I can’t type a long enough sigh here. Following last week, when Jeremy asked six questions on academisation of schools, Corbyn asked…..six questions on academisation of schools again.
Now, the big topic of the day, I think we can all agree, is the junior doctors strike. Corbyn and McDonnell should be the first to agree with me on this as they themselves joined a march to demonstrate alliance with the striking doctors this very week.
It also happens to be the thing the PM would probably least like to talk about right now. He’d much rather, as it happens, be forced to talk about making all schools into academies as he is – not that Corbyn seems to have noticed this – very proud of his policy on the matter.
Putting aside the fact that Cameron rather likes his academies proposal and enjoys talking about it even more, I really don’t get Labour’s policy on this anyhow. As in, I can’t even work out what it is. Are they against academies full stop or just making more schools academies? If it’s the latter, that makes no sense – if academies are good things, why limit them? And if it’s the former, is the Labour leadership’s counter proposal to just let badly run schools in poor, urban areas go on being badly run, all to the detriment of economically deprived students? If so, why? Is this another example of Labour choosing to see things from a provider as opposed to a consumer perspective? In other words, is this simply a small “c” conservative position that Labour has adopted that doesn’t take into account the idea that improving schools in poorer areas is a vital part of closing the gap between rich and the poor?
That’s enough questions I don’t expect the Labour front bench to have answers to from me – you get my point. Jeremy Corbyn has been leader of the Labour Party for seven and a half months and he still doesn’t seem to get that the purpose of Wednesday at midday is to ask the prime minister a question he doesn’t want to answer.