Corbyn by Gary Knight

Jeremy Corbyn Will Devour Everyone You Love – Cartoon Logic

Let’s begin with the Daily Mail. They published a piece last week called ‘Prime Minister Corbyn… and the 1,000 days that destroyed Britain’, which, coincidentally, is also a rejected title for the first Harry Potter book. In it, ‘journalist’ and thriller author David Thomas imagines the first thousand days of Labour leadership contender Jeremy Corbyn’s Prime Ministership. Before I lay into that mess of an article, some caveats. The Mail uses the word ‘imagines’ throughout the article, and under the images of riots in Athens used to illustrate Corbyn’s Britain. It’s written in a vaguely fictional style too. There are even attempts at humour in there. But even if the writer’s intention wasn’t seriousness, this article is still ONE OF THE WORST AND MOST TERRIBLE THINGS EVER PUBLISHED BY A NEWSPAPER, AND WILL REMAIN AS SUCH, NOW AND FOREVER, UNTIL THE END OF TIME.

Some more caveats. I don’t hate the article because it attacks Jeremy Corbyn. That’s largely incidental. I don’t care enough about the outcome of the leadership election to get cross about what amounts to a smear piece against a specific candidate. I’m not sufficiently invested in Corbyn’s fate to worry about defending him, though a victory for him is definitely the most interesting possible outcome, short of the ghost of Clement Atlee possessing the body of a sea lion and sweeping to last-minute triumph.

I don’t hate the article because it’s unsubtle, though unsubtle it certainly is. It’s an unsubtle attack on a political position that we all know the Mail rejects. There’s no debate or finesse. They might as well publish an article called ‘In four weeks’ time, Jeremy Corbyn will win the Labour leadership election, then murder and devour everyone you love and hold dear’. It hardly even counts as writing. It’s more like a drunken fever dream of the arch nemesis in the film of Corbyn’s life, who we later find out was accidentally left off the guest list for Corbyn’s fourth birthday party as a child and has been plotting revenge ever since.

I don’t even hate the article because it simply isn’t the sort of thing the Daily Mail should be publishing. Is it a newspaper or a speculative fiction magazine? I understand that newspapers have it in their purview to publish opinion. This isn’t opinion. It’s fantasy. It’s delusional. Because Thomas is writing from a hypothetical future, everything he writes is reported as if it were fact. But these are facts so far-fetched that the suspension of disbelief required to accept them as part of a fiction could be used to hold a bridge up over a river of lava that flows through a time-travelling chocolate factory on the moon. Haven’t read the article? Let me give you some examples. In the piece, Corbyn sells Trident to Vladimir Putin for tuppence, which causes US President Donald Trump to force the UK out of Nato and place an embargo on British goods.

What?! Why? Why did any of that happen? Why did Putin want Trident? Why did Corbyn sell it to him? Why is Donald Trump President?! Thomas’s portrayal of Corbyn is utterly unbelievable. His motives and actions are ludicrous. As a character, he is bunk. It can’t even be called exaggeration for rhetorical effect. It’s insane. Not convinced? Later, Corbyn describes Islamic State as a partner in the peace process. A partner in the peace process! I mean, who the hell does Thomas think Jeremy Corbyn is? I don’t know much about Corbyn, but the idea he would ever describe Islamic State like that is so obviously a straw man that Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz was recently spotted outside Thomas’s house trying to find the bloody yellow brick road!

It completely fails as a piece of fiction and it completely fails as opinion and it completely fails as news. It’s nothing. The damn thing isn’t even original, for heaven’s sake! At one point in this apocalyptic narrative, Thomas stops to offer us news that, because of the premiership of Corbyn, and I quote, “One Direction went off on a US tour and never returned”. This is it, ladies and gentlemen. The pinnacle of political discourse. We’ve got to the stage where a national newspaper can publish something that amounts to ‘if you support Jeremy Corbyn, boy bands will leave Britain,’ and it’s apparently legitimate criticism.

I mean, it could be an extreme case of Poe’s law, the internet rule that states that without a knowing wink of some kind, parody cannot be distinguished from actual opinion, right? But if it is parody, who is the joke on? The Mail? Its readers? Labour? Corbyn? The Right? The Left? Me? Is it me? Say it isn’t me. What is the point? What is the point? Has anyone, anywhere, been convinced that this is what Corbyn’s Britain would actually be like?

You know what? Stuff it. I don’t even care anymore. If the Mail can write whatever the hell it wants, then so can I. At the end of the article, Boris Johnson becomes Prime Minister, in one of the piece’s more plausible postulations. So here, for you, is Boris Johnson’s first 1000 days of Prime Ministership: bring back hunting, reintroduce slavery, make Latin the official language, sell Britain’s nukes to dolphins, punch Prince Charles, form an alliance with the Westboro Baptist Church and kill orphans. So, you know, don’t ever vote for Boris Johnson.

What about Captain Caveman’s first 1000 days? Why not? Write anything. Make up anything you like and print it. He’d ration hair spray, legalise arson, blow up Disneyland, pump special smells directly into your home, control your minds, take over the media, reveal himself as a lizard person and crack the Earth’s crust into a thousand pieces.

I worry that a time will come when the Mail utterly controls the political debate. Labour is doing well in the polls? Report that their Shadow Chancellor is a Neo-Nazi. The Eurozone is recovering economically? Tell your readers that Parisians and Berliners are fighting on the streets for bread. An immigrant did something heroic? Write that they’re all secretly plotting to kill the Queen.

None of it is true, but that doesn’t matter anymore. Before long, the Mail will make it policy to make up policy. I implore you: as your default response, never ever ever trust anything the Daily Mail prints ever again. And vote Caveman for Prime Minister.

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