He’s back. A year after losing a second general election in a row, Jeremy Corbyn has launched his ‘Project for Peace and Justice’ with a video on YouTube. He appears in a natty off-white jacket, with a tinge of blue, like a referee at the Henley Regatta. Speaking in a low, measured voice, as if reading a story to children, he recites an inventory of global problems which he proposes to solve.
Behind him is the project’s slick new signage. The P and the J form an elongated oval, in smart white-striped livery, like the classic layout of the 1970s Scalextric track. This attractive piece of artwork must have cost a packet. And somebody has to pay for it. Which is where you and I come in. Visitors to the website, (confusingly called the Corbyn Project), are asked to donate a fiver or more. Once there’s enough in the kitty, Corbyn can crack on with eradicating hunger, war, inequality and so on.
Of course we already have countless bodies appointed to examine problems and create solutions. And in a sense, Corbyn is simply endorsing the chief principle of Big Government: always hire new staff to address problems being tackled by existing staff. What stands out is the sheer scale of Corbyn’s ambitions. The Versailles Conference had a smaller agenda. He and his pals at the PJ Project – soon to be dubbed ‘the Pyjama Party’ – say they want to tackle climate change, corporate power, nuclear proliferation and human rights abuses. And they’re big on self-determination too. They plan to bestow this political blessing on Sri Lanka, Kashmir, Palestine and the whole of Latin America.
That’s quite a tall order for an MP from London who is no longer a member of his own party. But he can rely on influential friends. Next month, the PJ Project will hold an online rally featuring an impressive team of problem-busters and epoch-makers from around the world. These include Greek sex-god Yanis Varoufakis whose solution to a financial meltdown is to shave his head and pout enigmatically in a leather-jacket. He’ll be joined by a former ANC security expert, Ronnie Kasrils, and by Len McCluskey, the union boss whose enormous salary doesn’t stretch to a disposable razor. Also present will be the permanently outraged MP, Zarah Sultana, and the world-class scientific expert, (and teenager), Scarlett Westbrook.
Further scrutiny of their literature reveals exactly how the PJ Project plans to save humanity. They’re going to ‘back campaigns…commission reports…and provide platforms.’ Those harmless-sounding words refer to three of modern life’s greatest scourges: leaflets, essays and sermons.
That’s the truth about Corbyn’s new jet-set senate. He isn’t really proposing to end the woes of the downtrodden but to use their sufferings to pontificate. And he deserves our sympathy. The poor old boy is facing a three-pronged crisis in his life: irrelevance, senescence and the evaporation of his imagined electability. An active and pleasant retirement is a marvellous thing for a senior citizen. We should all bung him a fiver.