A night at the BBC

From Jeremy and Corbyn, Chapter Five – order now on Kindle

Jeremy sighed. At least his friend seemed to have found some spirit, even if he still fudged his words.

‘…rediscover the issues of public service and, err… promotion of council housing in order to solve the housing crisis, which Andy mentioned earlier. I think we’ve got the opportunity to do that now.

‘But if we’re just going to say: “Well, this policy needs changing a little bit, the Tories did this, so we’ll do this, and it’s sort of endless triangulation to get yourself to some slightly better position: doesn’t work. People are looking for some fundamental change in our society that gives them real security,’ he said.

‘So say what it is!’ said Jeremy, poking Corbyn in the ribs.

‘Real security,’ said Corbyn, visibly annoyed with his friend, ‘comes from work, comes from decent public services.’

The crowd again broke into a spontaneous applause, causing Jeremy to become quiet. It was evident that however hedged his friend’s words were, he could do no wrong in the eyes of the audience.

The response was embarrassing the other candidates. Yvette and Liz squirmed, and Andy nodded like a weathercock in wonder.

How is this senior citizen so cost-effectively dovetailing his marginals?

‘Right, deploy the UKIPers,’ sounded the command. Laura moved automatically.

‘For many previous Labour party voters, that meant turning to UKIP in the last election.

‘Now, Glen was a Labour Party voter for many years, and turned to UKIP to vote in the last election. Perhaps we can hear what he wants to say to the candidates here:’

The alien mic moved swiftly over the audience and craned over a tidy looking man in his forties.

‘Um, I’m actually…, I’m actually a fireman,’ he said, retarding Laura’s woven fabric.

‘Fuck!’

‘I’ve been a fireman for twenty years, and we’re faced with cuts, savage – quite savage cuts.

‘Um, as I seen it, before the election, Conservatives were gonna continue with these cuts, and subsequently the cuts are gonna run deeper and deeper. How are Labour going to address this issue, particularly in the public service?’

‘Whothefuckarethesepeople?’

A whining feedback perforated Laura’s ear drum.

‘I thought we had a guaranteed bunch of racists at the ready?’

Then she heard an even angrier voice in the background. Her static interference pleaded with it:

‘We checked the local party… we had promises: All the live wires weeded out – I swear!’

Then, everything crashed into white noise, and she could no longer hear her director’s voice.

‘But just to be clear, Glen,’ said Laura, composing herself, ‘you chose UKIP, rather than place your faith in Labour?’

‘I chose UKIP because I didn’t hear any sign of support from the Labour Party. I certainly wasn’t going to vote Conservatives for what they’ve done to our profession. And I seen UKIP as just another, err, option vote – a protest vote, if you like.’

Laura quickly handed the floor to Liz while the voices continued arguing in her ear. Liz skilfully arranged ‘equality’ and ‘public finances’ with an ‘in order to deliver’ and an ‘under control’.

Laura’s ear finally settled, and an instruction came through:

‘Move on to the immigrants.’

Yvette was waving her hand amiably in the air, but Laura ignored her and declared it was time to move on to the second question, although in truth it was the fourth in fifteen minutes. She was not enjoying herself.

At last the audience showed signs of behaving. Her man in the sweater asked what Labour was going to do about immigration control. Finally. She relaxed and brought in poor Yvette, who was fit to burst.

Yvette had no intention of answering such a silly question, but she needed the air time, and so proceeded to explain the need for sensible debate with sensible answers; doing her level best not to offend the sensibilities of all the sensible voters gathered in the aisles.

‘Let’s deal with immigration,’ she said.

Fair’, ‘enforcement’, ‘rules’, ‘sensible’, ‘reform’, ‘fair’, ‘not unfair’.

Yvette placed the sharp edges of the question in the stream of her imagined three-pound public and pulled out a perfectly spherical pebble that faced all ways at once.

Liz kicked Yvette’s pebble into the English Channel, where migrants jumped on lorries from Calais, and who really should start putting more into the community than they take out. And respect our culture.

That said, it was important to also learn from other cultures. The excellent Australian points-based system, for example, based squarely on the national interest and a commitment to Pacific paradise island housing for immigrants of all creeds and colours – whether they liked it or not.

From Jeremy and Corbyn, Chapter Five – order now on Kindle

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