Today I read this piece by journalist Iain Martin. In a nut shell he advises the Tories to reign in their instincts to boo and jeer at PMQs, not just because it makes them look bad, which it undoubtedly does, but because they are also making Jeremy Corbyn look good. Here is an exact quote.
‘He’s wooden. He can’t think on his feet. His questions are clunky. There’s no light and shade, no humour. He’s a poor performer. He’s off the scale. And right now the Tory boys who like to boo are not only being rude, they are making Corbyn look better than he is. They’re doing him a favour.’
When I read this I didn’t feel outrage. Despite my passionate support for Corbyn I can see why Mr Martin holds this view. Jeremy is no smooth operator. Some of his delivery is clunky – lacking the deftness of other public speakers. The bit about having no humour I’m far from convinced by. Jeremy can be droll in his own unique way, but then I’ve probably you tubed every speech he’s ever given. And saying there is no light or shade when he speaks is also unfair. But overall I would never put Jeremy up there with some of the great Labour Party orators like Kinnock or Benn. But if I was asked to rate him on his sincerity, conviction and honesty, I’d say he was one of the greats.
And it’s this point Mr Martin is missing. Many of us put our faith in Blair, who was indisputably eloquent and deft at the dispatch box, and we were burned. The new labour years became synonymous with spin and stage management, and as a result they left us cold. Whenever I see Jeremy in his favourite brown jacket I give a little sigh of relief. He is not being taken over by stylists – he is being true to himself.
Sincerity, not spin. Earnestness, not eloquence. Conviction, not clever lines. This is Jeremy Corbyn. It’s why we voted for him as labour leader. It’s why we are more than happy for the Tories to go quiet at PMQs if it means the British public can listen more closely to Jeremy. A quiet, sincere, principled man. That was more than good enough for us.
Maybe, just maybe, the British public will feel the same.
by Michelle (Chelley) Ryan @chelleryn99