13 April 2016

PMQs: Is Jeremy Corbyn improving a bit?



This is going to be a very short post. After the last few weeks, in which the Tories have been on the rack over the future of the UK’s steel industry and the Prime Minister’s tax affairs have been all over the media incessantly, one might have thought that the leader of the opposition could not fail to make an impact at Prime Minister’s Questions today. And surely after more eight months in post, Jeremy Corbyn should be improving at least a bit.

But no. Corbyn is dire and was dire again today. The delivery is halting. There’s no fluency or fizz. Whenever he agitatedly tries to build to a point he sounds uneasy and incoherent: raising… the revenue… that people need… for the services that people in this country need.

Cameron to his credit takes this charade seriously – and prepares each week as though he is going out to face Winston Churchill or Tony Blair – but every week it’s only Jeremy Corbyn. The result is like watching Barcelona play Accrington Stanley F.C.

I am not saying this is an easy gig for Corbyn or for anyone. Those of us who write about PMQs and political leadership would as a rule be absolutely terrible at it. What you can get away with as a commentator and hack – the joke that goes much too far, the continual sweep of the broad brush – would be death to most political leaders. But that does not alter the reality that Corbyn is useless at it, and it is a major component of his job.

No one forced him to become Labour leader. It is vital that the government should be held properly to account and that voters should have a decent choice. Corbyn can’t do it. He’s just taking up space and wasting everyone’s time.

Iain Martin is Editor of CapX.