Blaise Tapp: Don’t scrutinise Corbyn on his appearance

Jeremy Corbyn leaves his home in Islington, north London.
Jeremy Corbyn leaves his home in Islington, north London.
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Regardless of what you think of him, Jeremy Corbyn is currently most talked about man in this country.

Seen by some as the antidote to 20 years of slick, even slimy, politicians feeding us lines they neither understand nor believe in Corbyn has also been subjected perhaps the most brutal character assassination ever witnessed in British politics.

Quite rightly he has come under scrutiny for his policies – the leader of the Opposition would expect nothing less – but the vitriol directed at him from quarters of Her Majesty’s Press has been pretty ripe to say the very least. It is fair to argue that any person with aspirations to be our nation’s next Prime Minister deserves to be put under the spotlight of public scrutiny. But Jeremy has been torn apart as if he were a Gregg’s pasty being devoured by a hungry brickie.

His voting record, the failure to sing the national anthem at a Battle of Britain commemoration, his shadow cabinet selection and even his past relationships have been poured over in great detail.

But perhaps the most stick Jeremy has received has been for his appearance. He is mocked for his dress sense – he has a penchant for shorts and vests that poke out of the top of his polyester shirts.

His inaugural appearance as Labour leader at last week’s Prime Minister Question Time provoked debate not just because he read out questions from members of the public but because he looked like he had got dressed in the dark.

While he and I are poles apart in terms of our politics I do feel a degree of sympathy for chap when it comes to this harsh scrutiny for his lack of sartorial elegance.

Some say that as leader of Her Maj’s Opposition he should take pride in his appearance, especially now that he commands a six figure salary. I am of the opinion that he could not look smart even if he tried.

He even wore a tie and a jacket, for Pete’s sake! I speak as lifelong scruff pot, someone who was said to have had an untidy pram as a baby. At school teachers soon gave up demanding I tucked in my shirt because any garment I pulled on appeared to have a life of its own. It is a curse which afflicts me today. Each day as I bowl into the office at 9.03am I have the appearance of a man who has just done back to back shifts on a dockyard even though all I have achieved at that point of the day is wolfing down a helping of Cheerios. On my wedding day I paid a woman a tenner to comb my hair while a gang of pals, overseen by their partners, laboured in vain to make sure I did not resemble the love child of Albert Steptoe and Boris Johnson on my big day. They nearly succeeded.

I am convinced that some of us would fail to look the ‘business’ even if we had the run of Harvey Nicks and the help of a team of stylists. It just isn’t meant to be and we (try to) make up for it in other ways.There are a number things for which Jeremy Corbyn can be scrutinised on – his appearance isn’t one of them.