Nelson’s Column: Jeremy Corbyn and Owen Smith are in need of bullet-proof tests


Something has been bothering me. Though not enough to keep me awake at night.

Whenever I’ve seen a soldier’s 400 year old breastplate in a museum or antique shop there’s always a musket ball dent in it.

Yet it seems implausible that a bullet bounced off everyone who fought in the English Civil War.

As worries go it’s not up there with nuclear war or climate change, but as a history nerd such matters niggle.

I finally found the answer last week in a display at Newcastle’s old castle. Armourers who made this gear shot them with a pistol to guarantee they were bullet-proof – which is where the expression comes from.

There should be a political equivalent to stop politicians shooting themselves in the foot. Let’s call it making them fool-proof.

Jeremy Corbyn was a fool to sit outside a train khazi on his way to Newcastle calling for the nationalisation of the railways.

Had the train really been ram-packed it would have been a foolproof stunt. With seats available it was a foolish one.

On Sunday I took the same 11 o’clock Virgin East Coast service to Newcastle, the floor of which Corbers merrily rolled around 10 days earlier. It was crowded, and only a fool wouldn’t have booked a seat.

Jezza’s leadership challenger Owen Smith was also shot down for saying we should negotiate with Islamic State.

I know what he meant, but it needed expressing differently. Ultimately Britain negotiates with all terrorists, and Smithy knows that because he worked on the Northern Ireland peace process for three years talking to the IRA.

He should’ve said IS must be militarily defeated, and its remnants would need to stop chopping off heads and crucifying people. Then maybe, just maybe, a dialogue might begin.

As Smith himself admitted to BBC Radio 4: You’ve got to weigh your language carefully. I have not been judicious enough about that.

The moment the wrong words come out of politicians’ mouths we leap down their throats. That’s why the more experienced ones never say anything meaningful. Perhaps we should cut them some slack.

Like the breastplate, I’m glad I got that off my chest.

Comic James Martin tweets: Make Islamic State leaders into Pokémon. They wouldn’t last 10 minutes before capture.

A proposed rule change at Labour’s Liverpool conference next month would allow a leader to be nominated by five per cent of MPs instead of 15 per cent as now.

It’s called the John McDonnell amendment because the shadow Chancellor tried twice for the leadership but couldn’t get the 37 signatures required. Thirteen, however, might be within his grasp.

Former minister Caroline Flint is outraged, and rightly so.

She storms: It’s a golden ticket to any maverick, ego-driven, have-a-go MP from left or right.

Carry on at this rate and another candidate with whiskers might end up as leader of the Labour Party – Larry the Number 10 cat.

We laugh at Roman emperor Caligula for saying he could make his horse a senator. So I wonder what people will say 2,000 years from now about a penguin at Edinburgh Zoo becoming a brigadier having already p-p-p-picked up a knighthood. Sir Nils Olav is an honourary member of the King of Norway’s Guard and inspected 50 troops on Monday. Next step up the pecking order? Becoming an MP-p-p-p.

Sir Anthony Jay, co-writer of TV’s 1980s No10 sitcom Yes, Prime Minister, sadly died last week. Yes, PM even predicted the future. One episode deals with how the PM chooses between two candidates for bishop, and Tony Blair later faced an identical dilemma.

As Sir Humphrey put it when told one hopeful had been waiting for years: Long time, no see.

Tony Blair’s old school Fettes College in Edinburgh has hired an internet porn expert to warn pupils of its dangers.

It can be as addictive for young people as drugs or alcohol and I’ve long thought it should form part of sex and relationship education.

So let’s hope Fettes relationship with Toxic Tony doesn’t put other schools off following its excellent example.

Saturday is World Beard Day. If Jeremy Corbyn wants to celebrate he might care to adopt as his personal anthem the song to mark it by Australian band The Beards – You Should Consider Having Sex with a Bearded Man.

News Source MirrorNews

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