The Jokes On US: Are you laughing yet?

Jeremy Corbyn is funny, isn’t he? You know. You have to laugh at Jeremy Corbyn, he’s the Labour leader that won’t go away. He’s very funny. Last Friday’s Have I Got News For You made some forgettable “jokes” about Jeremy Corbyn that the audience dutifully laughed at. Ian Hislop made a “joke” about Corbyn not wanting to be Prime Minister or something like that. It was very funny, the audience dutifully laughed and Chris Bryant MP dutifully joined in. It’s all very funny.

I have to keep saying how funny it all is because if I don’t then I risk being accused of being one of those humourless ‘Corbynistas’; or some other equally funny tag. Though, I must admit, there was nothing much in the way of mirth to Hislop’s “joke” about Corbyn, there was far more snide, more sneer, and no substance to it. To hear someone as long in the BBC tooth as Hislop, as long in the political satire tooth as Hislop, trotting out the baseless trope about Corbyn that he doesn’t want to lead Labour into government is quite surprising. I’m sure there are some years left in Hislop’s bite but I would suggest he’s past it and the only reason he is still sitting across from Paul Merton during HIGNFY is familiarity. I’ve no idea what contribution messrs Hislop & Merton make to HIGNFY to bring it to the screen but Hislop’s participation adds little more than a sepia tone to the show, making it feel dated and worn. We’re watching end of the pier but it’s Brighton Pier and burned down decades ago.

What does it matter? True, HIGNFY is probably playing to an audience who are welcome recipients of any narrative that reinforces their already well-established political luditism. Sharp political minds might have listened to the meaningless trope clumsily shoe-horned into a bit that should have been attacking Theresa May and questioned the substance of it before laughing on cue. Sharp political minds might have asked for some basis for Hislops pointed attack on Corbyn, might have asked why Hislop and the ‘establishment’ are so dead set against the notion of Corbyn in Downing Street. Sharper minds still might have taken a step back and wondered why the BBC is still so full of those white BBC Oxbridge men deciding what it is that is and isn’t funny.

David Cameron, yes, THAT David Cameron famously/laughably called Corbyn a threat to Britain’s security.


It was an early shot across the bow to undermine Corbyn’s leadership. We are all currently living through the repercussions of the idiot Cameron’s actions as Prime Minister and his equally idiotic “successor” but the point was to rubbish opposition to the current order.

For the past 40 years Britain has been subjected to a version of capitalism that has created ever greater divides and that chews through public spending whilst it diminishes the capabilities to offer the public services that that money is intended for. Jeremy Corbyn talks of renationalising the NHS and the point gets missed. Declared figures for NHS spending to private providers has more than double from 2009–2010 to 2015–2016 and ever more areas of the NHS are being put out to contractors. The true scale of moving spending associated with the NHS to privateers is intentionally obscure and, once contracted out, public oversight is reduced to next to zero. Jeremy Corbyn talks about renationalising the NHS and, instead of the public noting his statement and querying the way money is being drained from the NHS, the public don’t pay him any mind because he is being reduced as a public figure by the media.

Corbyn made the strongest arguments for Britain remaining within the EU because the reasons many people thought they wanted to leave were as a result of Tory policies, not the EU. He couldn’t have been clearer about that and yet the media ignored or downplayed him, just as they are continuing to do. It may satisfy people like Ian Hislop to give airtime to baseless tropes about Corbyn but it merely fulfills the role of ‘establishment’ lackey, though I don’t suppose the conditions that the Tories are subjecting Britain to negatively impact on Mr Hislop. Not that Hislop is alone.

There are many in the entertainment field who grace Twitter with their insights into British politics. It is clear from many of the ‘celebrity’ contributions just how uninformed, un-insightful, how clueless their views are but also how they don’t balance their ignorance with any sort of humility to offset their follower number. I’ve discussed before that I can partly excuse such people for their utterances because they don’t ask people to follow them or to place any weight on their opinions; some, like Richard Herring seem quite open about the fact that they know little to nothing about politics and it is hardly their fault if people then attribute any sort of special insight to their ill-formed opinions. But, it is the same outlet for drumming up attention for their paying projects, which they understandably exploit. True, they might just be a bit thick and not see any correlation between the potential negative impact of their expressed ill-informed political musings and flogging tickets to a show but maybe they shouldn’t be surprised if people take them to task for it.

Britain is currently under the cosh of one of the worst governments in my lifetime and we have a political system no longer fit for purpose. We have a politico-media circus out of their depth and trashing this country and the quality of life for the majority of the population; slowly strangling Britain, first into submission and eventually out of existence. And part of that circus are smugly trashing the efforts of those of us who can see the need for change and are trying to push for it. The creaking self-inflicted irrelevance of a show like HIGNFY is symptomatic of the politico-media Horlicks brigade who sadly lack enough self-awareness to see that the politics that they know is on its last legs. So much so that they are actually trying to force the current political mood back into the mould of politics past, just as the clueless Tories are trying to drag Britain back to golden by-gone eras.

I have news for them, Britain needs a new politics and we need to re-imagine how our country can serve us and how we can play our part. It may seem that painting the current Labour leadership with a bacon sandwich is the height of satire but it simply underlines just what is rotten with how Britain is run and those running it. Paul Mason provides a thought provoking reflection of current Left political machinations.

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