UK Politics

After-work pint? Tories can spend next decade in the pub

BY Iain Martin | tweet iainmartin1   /  2 September 2016

I don’t get out of bed every morning looking for opportunities to be rude about Jeremy Corbyn. Having been unnecessarily rude about Nick Clegg for several years, and then probably too harsh on George Osborne, I’ve mellowed, a bit. But honestly. Every day – every single day – Corbyn does or says something so mind-meltingly ill-judged and potentially unpopular that there is no option other than to point it out.

Why? He’s not some harmless fool minding his own business. The man is supposed to be leader of the opposition, holding the Tories to account and putting together a potential alternative government that can be ready to step in if the Conservatives go through one of their regular meltdowns. I’m sorry, but that’s why the rudeness is justified. Staying in post and destroying the Labour party is an act of monumental vanity and selfishness. Propped up by much brighter and more cynical people on the hard left, he is taking up space that might more usefully be occupied by someone else – almost anyone else – who might at least stand a chance of not gifting the Tories a majority of 150+ seats at the next general election. The Tories need at the very least to be kept on their toes.

In that respect, even by Corbyn’s standards, this latest initiative is a belter. He appears to want a crackdown on men (and women?) having a drink after work in the company of their colleagues.

He told those attending an event at the trade union Unison:

“It’s got to stop. It’s got to end. And the behaviour of companies that encourages an ethic of early evening socialisation in order to promote themselves within the company benefits men who don’t feel they need to be at home looking after their children and it discriminates against women who want to, obviously, look after the children that they’ve got.”

Let’s take it one step at a time in an effort to work out what Corbyn thinks he is going on about:

1) Early evening socialisation. Who says that? Drink after work, or sport, or conversations at the bus stop, or coffee and a gossip, will do.

2) In the process of trying to please his audience he blunders into suggesting that it is automatic that it will be women who feel they have to get home “obviously” to “look after the children that they’ve got”. The children that they’ve got?

3) What if drink is involved and the company is paying for some or all of the booze to encourage comradely activity and boost morale? Most of us – women and men – tend to like that, as long as the boss leaves early enough and karaoke is not involved.

4) Are grown adults in the UK really being forced against their will to drink in the pub? Any man getting home late and claiming to his partner that this is the case is lying. He is there because he likes the pub.

5) Remember Corbyn has never worked in a company so has no experience of work outside politics. There are exceptions, but modern companies tend not to promote those who have been indulging in an excess of “early evening socialisation” if that involves getting smashed every night of the week. With such cases they are more likely to get the human resources department involved.

6) How is any of this to be policed or stopped? Will council inspectors tour pubs or leisure centres looking for men engaged in the disgraceful act of early evening socialisation? What’s the point? Isn’t there more for a government to worry about?

7) Never mind the rest of the nation’s workforce. With Corbyn in place the staff at Tory Central Office might as well all go to the pub every night (and day) from here until the next election.

Enough. Enough. There can only be one explanation for this latest daft intervention by the Labour leader. I’ve said it before and this confirms it. He must be a Tory secret agent.


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