Oh, Mr Corbyn. Potentially the most boring Labour leadership election since, well, the last one, has exploded into life – and all because of you.
Websites are crashing, membership is soaring and the Daily Mail is frothing like a mad dog in the midday sun.
Who are these people storming the gates, demanding democracy in the Labour Party? Oh, cry the professional politicos, it must be deranged old lefties sneaking back into the party so they can vote.
Well, kids of the Labour Party, in my young day I hung about with a whole heap of deranged comrades who were so far to the left of anything that one guy I knew even deliberately disabled one of the indicators on his van because he refused to be seen turning right. Made getting about a right pain, let me tell you. Or a left pain.
Since few sparkly-eyed youngsters will have much experience of the joys of old comrades meeting in a desolate smoke-filled pub in Alloa on a wet Tuesday night in February, let me take you back to the days of rolled-up fags smoked indoors and jackets covered in badges.
The meetings normally ran on for about five hours at time, usually stuck on Item 1 of the agenda, which was usually about something involving boycotting something, picketing someone or, most contentious, should the barmaid be referred to as Comrade?
If Item 2 was ever reached, it probably revolved around sending a stern telegram to the Shah of Iran giving him a severe dressing down, the wording of which would almost inevitably lead to a furious row about an obscure Marxist phrase, where at least one comrade would rise majestically and throw their membership card on the table (tearing in half was also acceptable if it wasn’t laminated) and storm off into the night to set up a rival branch in the pub across the road.
Even getting a round in could create chaos if no-one had checked the anti-apartheid credentials of every product behind the bar.
In short, my young friends who fear entryism, the comrades were never that organised. Rest assured, that’s not who’s crashing your website demanding membership. It’s something much worse. It’s people who want to see change.
Just for the record, what exactly is middle-aged? Well, I’ve done some research for you, and it seems to be about five years older than you are right now, at any time. So that’s a relief. Go back to sleep.
Sweet dreams are not made of these fears
Y’know, for an outfit that likes to hurl the term “Nanny State” about, it’s amazing how often Tories poke their noses into our lives. Mind you, I always thought it ironic that the very people who actually know what a nanny is get antsy when the state ticks them off for doing dangerous things, like dressing up in silly red jackets, getting on horses and tally-hooing about the countryside.
Sleep, says Nanny State. People aren’t getting enough of it. Especially middle-aged folk. We must get better at catching the Zzzzzz at night. They’ll probably appoint a Sleep Tsar who will pop up at the side of your bed with a checklist to make sure you’re doing it right.
What they could do is make sure that the middle-aged don’t have to worry about the state of their children’s schools, the student debt they incur should they finally reach university, and their job prospects when they graduate. Oh, and let’s not forget the middle-aged worry about the treatment their mum gets in hospital and the home care they may or may not be able to access if they need it.
Sort all that out and we will sleep much better, and Mr Osborne can dress up as nanny and tuck us all in at night. Oh lord, that’s an image that’s going to give me nightmares . . . and you. Sorry.
Plastic challengers just don’t cut it, y’Ken
The other challengers are lovely people, I’m sure, but they have the disturbing air of having been taken out of cellophane-fronted boxes, like Ken and Barbie dolls.
Every time Liz Kendall manages to pick up a cup I’m astonished, because I just assumed she’d have those little plastic flipper-type Barbie hands. Do you think Andy Burnham wears eyeliner? It wouldn’t be a bad thing. It would give him the air of a faintly louche 70s rocker who suddenly put on a suit. Yvette Coooper seems like the sort of fantastic woman who runs an inner city primary school, and is darned good at the job.
None of these fresh-faced youngsters ever expected to have their forward progress blocked by a bloke who looks like he should be asking for help to switch on his mobile phone.
Of course I like Corbyn. For one thing, it’s my last chance to see a political party headed by someone older than me.