Billy Connolly once observed that, regardless of some within it purporting to be ‘at one with the People’, showbiz wasn’t real life; if it was then a joiner fixing a table would be top of the bill at the London Palladium. I remembered this quote (which, alas, I’m forced to paraphrase) when a music press rumour in the early 1990s claimed that a member of Scouse ‘baggy’ band The Farm had hired a less-affluent friend’s council flat for an interview with a London journalist, in order to pass it off as his own and therefore maintain their contrived image as being ‘the People’s band’. Regardless of their presumed dole-queue origins, such tactics when a degree of commercial success has been achieved are as crass and phony as David Cameron pretending to enjoy a pasty.
Which brings us nicely to our old pal and Keeper of the Socialist Flame, Mr Corbyn. I suppose by being incapable of resisting the urge to criticise him again means I’m part of the media conspiracy with its avowed mission to ‘get’ Jeremy, but he does set himself up for it, alas. How we – The People – cheered last week when Jezza was pictured by a wide-eyed volunteer member of his PR team apparently sat on the floor of a jam-packed, crowded commuter train, suffering for our sins, showing solidarity with the workers by spurning a private first-class compartment and highlighting the plight of passengers deprived of seats on our overcrowded and over-expensive rail network. What a guy! He’s One of Us!
Only, the owner of the train in question, Virgin, today revealed that CCTV footage from Corbyn’s carriage tells a rather different story. Now, of course, Virgin is the company of that Thatcherite Blairite capitalist cheerleader, Richard bloody Branson, who’s clearly part of the conspiracy himself; but we’ll overlook that fact for the moment. Apparently, what the CCTV footage reveals contradicts Corbyn’s theatrical martyr act by showing him and his posse strolling past vacant and unreserved seats in order to find a suitably uncomfortable corner to capture Jezza’s empathetic gesture for commuters/potential voters.
Having done his duty, the director of this fantasy flick yelled ‘cut’, after which Jeremy and gang easily located some comfy chairs to recline in for a good couple of hours before the train arrived at its destination, their work done. What the media – AKA the Guardian – and Jezza’s social media disciples got was precisely what Corbyn’s puppet-masters wanted them to get; and, naturally, they fell for it. The fact that evidence has emerged that proves the whole incident was a choreographed stunt of a kind that all politicians – yes, even St Jeremy – indulge in won’t be accepted, however. It’ll be written off as just another attempt by the establishment elite to blacken Corbyn’s character. Basically, a photo could appear on the front of the Morning Star showing Jezza sharing a bottle of the most astronomically-priced plonk on the market with Prince Charles on board Sir Philip Green’s yacht and they’d still be in denial.
Once an image has been created and circulated, it can be hard to live up to, though that doesn’t prevent the myth-makers behind the scenes doing their damndest to maintain the illusion. Dusty Springfield’s sexuality was always suspected though publicly denied; in the 60s, her team would arrange for her to be photographed at events arm-in-arm with clean-cut and hunky male pop star Eden Kane, complete with ‘are they or aren’t they getting engaged’ gossip drip-fed to the journos present.
The Hollywood publicity machine was in permanent overdrive doing likewise for Rock Hudson at a time when he was so deep in the closet that he practically had one foot in Narnia. In less enlightened eras, such subterfuge was understandable, but now that cynicism accompanies every step a politician takes, who is really surprised at the exposure of Jezza’s cheap shot at playing One of the People? Corbyn’s Svengali Squad knew the billions who’ve supposedly signed-up to Team Jeremy in the last few months would buy it because it was what they wanted to believe, but the general public?
The detachment between People and the person in the spotlight begins the moment the spotlight falls upon them. Corbyn can take to a stage and receive the rapturous reception from his acolytes that was once the preserve of rock stars; none of his acolytes can do likewise, so there’s an instant divide between him and them straight away. Director Richard Lester cleverly played upon this in the Beatles’ film ‘Help!’, when the Fab Four are observed by a couple of housewives heading for their respective front doors in the homes situated next to each other on the same red-bricked terrace; once said housewives have commented how nice it is that John, Paul, George and Ringo haven’t left their working-class roots behind, we see the view from the other side of those four doors and discover they are merely a facade and it’s actually one huge house with four doors side-by-side.
Lester and The Beatles knew it was a fallacy to pretend any member of the band would still be travelling on public transport or popping down to the local corner shop for a packet of fags without being bothered by the real People. And if they knew that fifty years ago, why doesn’t Jeremy Corbyn now?
© The Editor