Tom Goodenough

What the papers say: Jeremy Corbyn’s day to forget

What the papers say: Jeremy Corbyn's day to forget
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Jeremy Corbyn’s botched relaunch yesterday was successful in only one way: it kept the Labour leader in the headlines throughout the day. Unfortunately his various u-turns on immigration - as well as his unexpected maximum pay cap, which he also rowed back on - ensured this blanket coverage was for all the wrong reasons. And today’s newspaper editorials also make miserable reading for those hopeful that Corbyn might have managed a fresh start in 2017.

It was a ‘day-long carnival of  jaw-dropping buffoonery’, says the Sun, which picks apart Corbyn’s various outings yesterday. The paper says this platform offered an opportunity for Corbyn to deal with the subject of immigration which has left the party looking like ‘sitting ducks’ for Ukip. Instead, Corbyn bungled it by insisting that ‘full single market access, which demands limitless migration, was paramount’. ‘He has made a fool of himself before,; the paper says, ‘But these were uncharted depths of muppetry’.

Even after Jeremy Corbyn’s numerous media appearances yesterday, the Daily Mail says a big question remains: ‘What is Labour's policy on Brexit?’. The paper says that we’re none the wiser after Corbyn’s botched attempt to spell out his party’s position yesterday. Instead, the same old ‘verbiage and risible class war rhetoric’ was dished up and we’re none the wiser about what Labour thinks about this important subject. Yet for all the confusion caused by Corbyn, the Mail says the Labour leader is still capable of a ’breathtaking lack of self-awareness’ - by accusing Theresa May of being the one in ‘disarray’; ‘Talk about pot and kettle!,’ the Mail says. Yet while Corbyn’s woeful day in the headlines yesterday might look comical, it’s far from it, the Mail argues. Instead, ‘when the opposition is as moribund as Labour today and with absolutely no sign of renaissance, democracy is diminished’.

Yet this glaring chasm where the opposition should be offers a perfect opportunity for Theresa May, says the Daily Telegraph. While we’ve known for a while that Corbyn isn’t up for the job of being Prime Minister, yesterday confirmed something else: the Labour leader ‘cannot even manage the rudimentary tasks of political life either’. But this incompetence is a gift to the PM, says the Telegraph, which argues that because of Corbyn’s dismal failure on addressing the issues of immigration and the economy, it ‘gives Theresa May a great opportunity to be bolder on both issues’.

Corbyn might have bungled his message, says the Times. But on fingering inequality as the cause of social turbulence,  ‘he will have struck a chord’. The paper says that while it isn’t true, as Corbyn claimed, that income inequality is worsening, it is the case that the pay gap between chief executives and those lower down the pecking order is widening. The Times points out that, twenty years ago, FTSE 100 bosses earned 60 times the salary of the average worker. Now, the paper says, ‘that multiple has nearly trebled to more than 170’. Maybe Corbyn does have a point after all?

The Guardian agrees with this analysis and says that ‘pay for those running FTSE companies is too high’. It says that it’s not only Jeremy Corbyn saying this. After all, David Cameron - remember him? - once said: ‘The market for top people isn’t working; it needs to be sorted out’. So if Corbyn isn't the first politician to mention this subject, at least the Labour leader is 'showing greater realism’ in trying to deal with the question, rather than just let markets try and fix the problem. Whether he meant to or not, now that Corbyn has got the ball rolling on this subject, he 'should run with it,’ the Guardian says.