Comrades. I’m going to tell you why I think Jeremy Corbyn is the right person to lead this country. First of all, I like the fact that he’s not a typical politician. There’s something refreshing about his refusal to play the media’s game. Ordinary politicians are ready with a quote when a big story breaks, but not our Jeremy. He thinks nothing of switching off his phone and spending the day working on his allotment. Instead of talking to journalists on his way into meetings, he runs them over. When he does do interviews, his refusal to be interrupted speaks of a bold, confident leader who’s comfortable in his own skin. I particularly like his catchphrase and the way his voice goes all high-pitched when he says it: ‘Can I finish?’
Secondly, he’s a man of principle. He has stuck doggedly to his brand of hard-left politics for more than 50 years. The fact that this credo has been an unmitigated disaster in every country in which it has been tried, leading to the suppression of free speech, the imprisonment of political dissidents and mass starvation, hasn’t led to the slightest sliver of doubt or one jot of revision. John Maynard Keynes said: ‘When the facts change, I change my mind’, but not Jeremy. He is as steadfast and reliable as a stopped clock. That’s the kind of man I want as the head of our government in a fast-moving world.
Thirdly, his grasp of international affairs is second to none. He has been on the right side of every major foreign policy issue, starting with the Falklands War, which he correctly identified as a ‘Tory plot’. He opposed the Nato intervention in Kosovo and dismissed as a ‘fabrication’ the absurd claim that the war crimes committed by Slobodan Milosevic amounted to genocide. Indeed, he believes Nato should have been ‘wound up’ after the end of the Cold War, which, like his chief of staff Seumas Milne, he thinks was won by the wrong side. He isn’t so weak-minded that he imagines Nato has any useful role to play in containing Russian aggression and has condemned Britain’s plans to send 800 troops to Estonia as a ‘provocation’.
Whether it’s Vladimir Putin or General Galtieri, Corbyn can always be relied upon to side with Britain’s enemies, never allowing his judgment to be clouded by jingoism. He is particularly sound when it comes to so-called ‘terror’ groups, which he sees through the lens of the anti-imperialist ‘liberation’ movements of the 1960s and 1970s. In this context, it is perfectly understandable that he invited representatives of the IRA to have tea at the House of Commons a few days after it tried to kill Maggie Thatcher in the Brighton bombing.
And we shouldn’t hold it against him that he was on the editorial board of a socialist newspaper when it mocked Norman Tebbit, who had to be dug out of the rubble, saying: ‘Try riding your bike now, Norman.’ Brilliant! No one can accuse Jezza of not having a sense of humour.
When it comes to Islamist groups, he is a breath of fresh air. Don’t expect the usual, knee-jerk response to the cold-blooded murder of innocent women and children from him. He courageously decided to appear on Iranian state television, for which he was paid several thousand pounds, to condemn the killing of Osama bin Laden as a ‘tragedy’ and has frequently expressed his solidarity with Hamas and Hezbollah in their ‘armed struggle’ against Israeli ‘colonialism’. As for Isis, he told Andrew Marr he thinks ‘dialogue’ is the best way forward. ‘I think there has to be some understanding of where their strong points are,’ he explained.
Which brings me to my fourth and final reason for hailing Jeremy Corbyn as the greatest political leader this country has ever seen: security. As his close colleague John McDonnell says, the way to keep Britain’s streets safe from knife-wielding Islamo-fascist psychopaths is to disarm the police. After all, we know just how much harm the police can do when they’re allowed to shoot to kill. As for the policy of nuclear deterrence, Jeremy is quite right to reject it. In an increasingly dangerous world, we should do whatever we can to lower the temperature, including disbanding MI5 and MI6.
Comrades, I urge you to recognise greatness when you see it. This 68-year-old manhole enthusiast is the prophet we’ve been waiting for. Our children will judge us according to how we judged Jeremy Corbyn.
Toby Young is associate editor of The Spectator.