James Kirchick

What did Diane Abbott make of my comparison between Corbyn and Bernie Sanders?

What did Diane Abbott make of my comparison between Corbyn and Bernie Sanders?
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Fourteen years ago, while studying at Yale, I spent a summer working for David Lammy. Office drudgery aside, it was a fantastic experience, nurturing an obsession with British politics, culture and journalism that continues to this day. Over dinner, I mention to David the MP my weekend spent at the home of David Starkey. He grips my arm, laughs and marvels at my penchant for accumulating such a disparate collection of friends and acquaintances. My mother says I lead the life of Forrest Gump, which I take as a compliment.

David the MP takes me to the premiere of Death of a Salesman at the Young Vic, where I am introduced to Diane Abbott. What better place to encounter a member of Corbyn’s shadow cabinet than this timeless indictment of American capitalism? Like everyone else, Diane wants my take on the Democratic presidential field.

If you’re going to plagiarise another politician’s speeches, I say of frontrunner Joe Biden, steal from a winner, not Neil Kinnock. When Diane asks for my view of Bernie Sanders, I reply that a geriatric leftist backbencher who has spent his career delivering interminable speeches, boasts scant legislative accomplishments and is hijacking a political party to which he has shown little allegiance is not fit to lead a country. Whether Diane wants to laugh or strangle me, I cannot tell.

This article is an extract from James Kirchick's Spectator diary, available in this week's magazine.