“Stop, stop he’s already dead!” If the Simpsons inspired meme was made for anything, it was for Andrew Neil’s evisceration of Jeremy Corbyn last night. Labour spin doctors looking for something to clip out for social media have literally nothing to work with and have been forced today to adopt the “dead cat” strategy by revealing 450 pages of unredacted documents on post-Brexit trade and the NHS. It might just do the trick, but it will be difficult to erase the memory of last night.
The contrast to the ITV debate was stark. There Corbyn had space to speak confidently to an audience with little interruption, a breeze for a man at home on a soap box. The format suited him, and he was able to respond to most audience questions with pre-planned responses and his pleasant demeanour remained unchanged. When pressed by journalists in the past, it has tended to slip.
His impatience for scrutiny and petulant nature was exposed again last night.
If there was a Jeremy Corbyn pull-string doll it would have a contorted face and crabbily say, “can I finish!?”. It’s become something of a catchphrase which comes out every time he faces tough questioning and hints at how temperamentally ill-suited he is for the job of Prime Minister. Every time Neil interrupted Corbyn to try to prevent him trying to veer away onto more comfortable ground rather than giving a straight answer, he responded – can I finish? Can I finish? Can I finish? All it did was emphasise how unconvincing his reponses were on almost every subject covered. There were no positives to take from the thirty minutes.