In the week’s least unexpected political news, Jeremy Corbyn was elected as the leader of the Corbyn Party, gaining 59.5% of the vote, thereby slicing out his three rival claimants to the throne in one go. The victor responded by saying that he was elected as Corbyn and would govern as Corbyn and across the realm of upper Islington there was much rejoicing at this news. Those other parts of the country that have in the past occasionally found themselves in uneasy alliance with Islingtonia reacted more cautiously, perhaps waiting to see whether or not the new leader would offer Andy Burnham a job. That there will be nervous times ahead is undoubtedly true. People may be a little quieter in the pubs of Nuneaton while they digest the news, though the bars of Buenos Aires were rowdy. The Argentinian President, Kirchner, said that it was a good thing that Islingtonia had elected a leader prepared to give up half of its claim to the Falklands, a place known across Argentina and Islingtonia as Las Malvinas.

The media was, of course, buzzing with admiration at the scale of The Corbyn’s victory, though no one seemed to be asking the obvious question which is why Mr Corbyn could only command the support of 60% of the Corbyn Party. Or, indeed, why it has taken the best part of 40 years to elect him their leader. The answer to the second question is easier to dispose of, since it has taken 40 years for another party – in this case the party formerly known as Labour – to be thoughtful enough to organise an election in which they could take part. For the previous four decades Corbynites, who think elections are the narcissistic preoccupation of  bourgeoisie reactionary class and the Corbynistas, who hold democracy to be a trap laid down by capitalist war-mongers, have been in brutal combat and so they have never got round to the actual business of holding any.

As to why four out of ten registered members of the Corbyn Party voted for other candidates, this was being put down to the infiltration of the party by assorted Kendallites, Burnham fellow travellers, and mini-Coopers. The expectation is that these people will now be shot. Mr Corbyn presaged this outcome by devoting the first ten minutes of his victory speech to praising their leaders, always a signal in revolutionary circles that pistols are being loaded.

Mr Corbyn’s speech itself was described as “rambling”. There was nothing wrong with that. In the broad coalition of oppressed victim groups that constitute the bedrock of Corbyn support, ramblers are an important component. One can perhaps question The Corbyn for singling them out at the very moment of his sunrise, but we should never doubt either his sincerity or his cunning. One suspects that Mr Corbyn’s speeches, rather like those of Fidel Castro, are going to be something of a test of endurance. Luckily, he seems intent on mainly delivering them to refugees and other groups of people whom you might have thought have suffered already. The Corbyn’s decision on Sunday morning to defy centuries of tradition  and choose to be at yet another rally of the oppressed rather than on the Andrew Marr show is a sign that we might be spared. It does mean though that we will be hearing a lot more of Tom Watson, the newly-elected deputy leader of the Corbyn Party, whose own acceptance speech was brief in the way that the Hundred Years War was brief. Into all our lives a little acid rain must fall.

Earlier in the week, on the day that the woman known to the Guardian as Elizabeth Windsor became Britain’s longest-serving monarch, David Cameron paid tribute to someone whose fortitude, sense of duty and accomplished style has served as an inspiration to us all. But enough of Harriet Harman. Mr Cameron was also obliged to find nice words to say about the Queen since the Commons had decided to pause its normal duties for half an hour to pay tribute. Naturally, we were all far less interested in hearing what scripted platitudes the Prime Minister had brought along for the occasion (“selfless sense of service”) than to discover what views, if any, The Corbyn, held upon the matter. Mr Corbyn, alas, failed to catch the Speaker’s eye, though in truth he probably wasn’t using a particularly large net. It had been reported, rather ungallantly, that when a reporter asked him earlier in the week about Windsor’s upcoming landmark, he had run away. Lucky for The Corbyn that the anniversary did not fall a week later: he will find it harder to avoid such unpleasant duties now that the £3 insurgents have annointed him Leader of the Opposition.

The royal tributes having been dispensed with, the House of Commons turned its attention to Prime Minister’s questions, the last of the BC era. Since this was the last occasion for Ms Harman to lead for Labour, Mr Cameron started to gush. Now it is important to understand the Prime Minister’s motivation here. It is possible that he holds some genuine affection for Labour’s acting leader, as he might for an old family nanny or labrador, but the fact that he went out of his way to compliment her more likely suggests that the Tory modernisation project is kicking back in to gear. Mr Cameron has scruplulously taught his party to approve of, among other things, same sex marriage and the north of England, this being part of the plan to make people believe that Tories are “nice”. With the centre ground of politics likely to be vacated by Labour’s self-destruction, Mr Cameron believes that there are plenty more votes of nice-lovers to be had, though evidently he has to reinforce the message that the Conservatives are worthy of having them. Ms Harman is therefore merely the latest in a long line of items, previously regarded as unspeakable in Conservative lexicography, that the Party must now claim to adore. Judging by the faces behind him as he ploughed on through his encomium, this may be the Prime Minister’s hardest sell yet.

For her part Ms Harman was good enough to thank the Prime Minister for the compliment. In doing so, she revealed that, pitiless though she may be in her feminism, it is not quite of the highest order since, had it been, she presumably would have told him to stop being such a patronising, misogynistic pig. Mr Cameron, it is true, had been wise enough to stick to praising the acting leader’s political qualities rather than telling her what a little corker she looked in her Twitter photo. Even so, he was skating close to the edge of that chauvinistic chasm into which all men are bound sooner or later to tumble.

Ms Harman did not concede that she was insufficiently feminist to be leader of the Labour Party, though she did tell Andrew Neil that she was neither old enough nor posh enough for the job. This was another act of ungallantry aimed in the direction of Mr Corbyn who, at 66, is a year older than Ms Harman. A Trotsyist never likes to be reminded of his age. Nor of the fact that he attended a minor public school, especially by someone – Harriet Harman in this case – who attended a major one.

Advertisements