You don’t need to like Jeremy Corbyn to admire the fact he stuck to his guns on the national anthem.
DID you see him at that Battle of Britain memorial service?
Standing there in his two-sizes-too-big suit and red tie (so he does own one after all) and his top button undone?
Talk about scruffy. He made Michael Foot’s donkey jacket look like Yves Saint Laurent.
And then, when they struck up the national anthem, he had the brass neck to stand there and do absolutely nothing.
Not a single note passed his lips. Nothing. Nada. Zip.
Who the hell does this Jeremy Corbyn think he is, anyway?
That has pretty much been the response in the wake of the new Labour leader’s decision not to sing God Save the Queen this week.
Vast swathes of the nation are in uproar over the fact he was quite happy to belt out the Red Flag alongside Billy Bragg at a rally for refugees, but when it came to a tribute to the airmen who saved our bacon in the Battle of Britain he suddenly went all Harpo Marx on us.
Scandalous, isn’t it? Erm, well, not really, no.
Where do I start? Probably with the fact that Jeremy Corbyn may be known as ‘JC’ to his socialist disciples, but he doesn’t actually believe in God.
Then there’s the small matter of the bloke being a republican – which means he doesn’t believe in the Queen either.
All this leads me to suspect (although some people clearly still need this spelt out for them) that singing a song called God Save the Queen isn’t something Jeremy Corbyn does an awful lot of.
Ah, they say, but this toerag needs to put his personal beliefs to one side every now and again.
Not singing the national anthem was an insult to those airmen he was meant to be honouring.
Hang on though. I’m pretty sure those wartime heroes were fighting to save us from fascism, a system that makes people give up their personal beliefs and conform unless they want something very nasty to happen to them.
In other words, they were ready to give their lives to preserve the right of someone like Jeremy Corbyn to stand there and refuse to sing the national anthem.
And you don’t have to be an atheist or want the Queen to go the way of Marie Antoinette to admire the fact he refused to buckle under pressure and stuck to his guns.
The thing is, plenty of people have been saying that although they might not agree with his hard-Left agenda, at least we’ve finally got a party leader with principles.
But you can’t have it both ways. You can’t praise the guy for bucking the trend of identikit politicians who say one thing and do another, only to then lay into him when he stays true to his beliefs.
They say Corbyn is a ‘conviction politician’ – but half the country seems to want him convicted of high treason and chucked in the Tower of London with the key thrown away.
It would be easy now he’s leader for him to start softening his image and saying the kind of things people want to hear, even if he doesn’t believe a word of it.
But isn’t it refreshing to finally have someone in politics who isn’t a reed in the wind, willing to pull the wool over our eyes for the sake of a few easy votes?
Sadly, Corbyn has now said he will sing the national anthem at public events for the sake of party unity. But at least his first Prime Minister’s Question Time proved the difference between Labour and the Tories – which had become so blurred over recent years – is now blindingly obvious.
On the one hand, you have a Labour party committed to providing a better safety net for society’s neediest. On the other a Tory party that believes in aspiration and getting people to lift themselves up by their bootstraps.
This means we can at last make a proper decision at the ballot box.
And that defiance over the national anthem? It proves some of the smoke and mirrors that have poisoned British politics for so long are finally being swept aside.
That’s got to be a good thing, right?
World Cup’s a big deal for us
I KNOW most of Leeds is more interested in seeing the Rhinos lift another Super League title, but the other code is heading here as part of the Rugby World Cup.
Regardless of where your allegiances lie (most up here reckon union is for southern softies who spend all their time kicking rather than running), this is a massive deal for the city.
Ok, so Canada against Italy and the USA taking on the Scots aren’t the biggest games in the tournament.
But there are still tickets available for both games next weekend – and it would be a crying shame if the TV cameras panned across rows of empty seats in what’s meant to be a hotbed of rugby.
The prices aren’t too outrageous either. Twenty quid will get you a half-decent seat – a fair bit cheaper than a Leeds United game.
I know there will be a fanzone in Millennium Square and events leading up to next weekend, but I’m not sure enough has been done to advertise the World Cup coming here.
It’s considered to be the third biggest sporting event in the world. Getting these games is a feather in the cap for Leeds, which, as usual, hasn’t shouted about it enough.
Still, at least the game’s chiefs haven’t followed the lead of their cricketing counterparts and flogged the telly rights to Sky, then wondered why youngsters aren’t playing the sport any more.
It’ll all be on ITV. Even more reason for Leeds to make a decent fist of it.
Service is Virgin on the ridiculous
VIRGIN media are in town today parading their “world-first” high-speed selfie photo booth on Briggate. Apparently it’s to mark its “ultrafast broadband network expansion”.
What is a high-speed selfie I hear you ask? Well, it’s basically the experience of being photographed while you’re buffeted by winds of up to 270mph, giving the effect of G-force on your boat race with (it says in this press release) “hilarious” results.
Amazing. But I’d be even more impressed if Richard Branson’s lot were capable of wiring my TV, phone and broadband properly.
A year after signing up and the cables are still danging across my front hedge.
They’ve been cut twice so far. Once by a passing scrote with a pair of scissors (or at least that’s my hunch) and the second time by my mum with a pair of garden shears.
You can keep your high-speed selfie stunts, Richard, I’ll be cancelling my contract in the morning.