Martin Hannan: Corbyn cowardly to avoid the press

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An empty taxi drew into Edinburgh last week, and Jeremy Corbyn got out.

I know it’s an old gag, 
 first used by Winston Churchill about Clement Attlee, but it sums up what I have begun to feel about the new leader of the Labour Party.

There is very little I could disagree with when he sticks to campaigning against austerity, but Corbyn’s fantasy politics and his frankly naïve approach must be seriously questioned.

For instance, who does he think he is that he can refuse to answer questions from reporters on one of his rare visits to Scotland?

How dare he come to Edinburgh and refuse to meet the Scottish media in a proper press conference except for a few words with the Press Association and a briefing for the slavishly pro-Labour Daily Record? What has the estimable Ian Swanson, political editor of the News and rigidly fair and unbiased, ever done to offend Corbyn?

There may be some people in the Scottish political press, aka the Better Together propaganda pack, that I would not choose to dine with of an evening, but by and large they are pro-Unionist like Corbyn so they were never going to savage him. They have a job to do and had some serious questions to ask, up with which he would not put. That’s cowardice, frankly.

So there he was at Holyrood, with a far from alluring accessory on his arm – Kezia Dugdale. Far from carping from the sidelines, our Kezia was all over Jeremy like a rash.

Regular readers will know that I consider the Scottish Labour Leader to be lightweight. Dugdale, don’t forget, was Jim Murphy’s deputy but couldn’t drop that association quick enough when she decided to go for the leadership.

She won the leadership election fair and square, but then weighed in against Corbyn before it began to look as though he would win, and hey presto, she’s now a Jezza groupie. Consistency, thy name is Dugdale, I don’t think.

Corbyn’s speech at the Labour Party conference was not that of a potential prime minister. No, it was that of the leader of a fringe society within the broader Labour movement – which is precisely what Corbyn is.

He is Mittybyn or Corbymitty, inhabiting Corbydoon or Brigabyn. Take his pronouncement that he would never press the button to fire Trident, even if Britain were attacked by nuclear missiles. I hate Trident and all nuclear weapons with every fibre of my body but even I can see the lunacy of his position – at a stroke he has destroyed the whole basis of Britain possessing Trident, namely Mutually Assured Destruction.

What would a future American president make of this attitude? He or she would probably launch a first strike against Faslane in case Corbyn decided to fire Trident at 
Washington.

His greatest fantasy is that just because he was elected with 59 per cent first preference votes, he can change the Party’s policy programme at will.

That is just complete nonsense, because the Party’s rules are specific: “No proposal shall be included in the party programme unless it has been adopted by conference by a majority of not less than two-thirds of the votes recorded on a card vote.”

Until Corbyn learns about his own party rules, I will not pay him the slightest heed.

Remarks have scuppered trial

As an SNP member, I am disturbed at the allegations against Edinburgh West MP Michelle Thomson.

If it can be proven that Ms Thomson did anything illegal then she should go, but I have always believed that you are innocent unless proven guilty in a court of law, and you have the right to a fair trial and a prosecution that is undertaken without political interference.

All that Thomson’s lawyer will have to do is to point out to the judge that Thomson cannot possibly have a fair trial given everything that has been said about her, particularly by Kezia Dugdale and Ruth Davidson in parliament.

Because they defied the Presiding Officer’s strong advice and made some pointed remarks, Michelle Thomson will never be prosecuted.

Child poverty is disgrace to city

The report on child poverty which is currently before the council is explicit. There are some 15,000 children living in poverty, as officially designated by the UK and Scottish governments, across this capital city.

Every council ward is affected to a greater or lesser degree, and that such a situation exists in this capital of Scotland in this year of 2015 is an absolute and utter disgrace.

We have come to live in a society where food banks are a necessity. I am only amazed that there are not riots every day on the streets of Britain, and that includes Edinburgh.

No comment when tables are turned

When she gets off her high horse about Michelle Thomson, can Kezia Dugdale explain what she is doing about the £10,000 missing from the coffers of her own Edinburgh Eastern constituency where she will be standing in May? Oh, wait, there’s a police inquiry so of course La Dugdale cannot possibly comment.

Only when it’s her own party under investigation, of course.

Good luck Gordon

Let’s all wish an Edinburgh-born footballing figure all the best for Thursday night. Gordon Strachan, formerly of Muirhouse, we sincerely hope you can still get us to Euro 2016.