Insolent monologues … Alexei Sayle. [Image: Tristram Kenton for the Guardian].

Bouquets for The Guardian, which has published a vividly pro-Labour article by Alexei Sayle.

Brickbats for the same newspaper, though, as it seems to have missed the point by a country mile.

Look at the headline: Why I’ve chosen to join the Labour Party and immediately resign makes it seem that Mr Sayle is making some kind of protest against the new direction of the party under Jeremy Corbyn.

He is – but only in a satirical sense – satirising Labour’s critics, rather than the party itself.

He’s saying, since Jeremy Corbyn became leader, Labour has adopted a sensible attitude that is anathema to the politically-oriented stand-up comic.

In that context, joining Labour signifies his support for the party, while cancelling his membership as soon as the money has been paid is indicative of his annoyance that he won’t be able to make a living uttering “insolent monologues” about the party.

… All of which has gone straight over the head of the Guardian sub-editor who wrote the headline.

Look at his list – the line about “spiders” is mocking the Blairites who are looking for any excuse to harm Corbyn.  The comments about New Labour, the Arab world and newspaper columnists are may be taken at face value.

And the last line, about fear of success?

Well, let’s say Mr Sayle doesn’t seem to think Labour under Corbyn is “unelectable”, as so many critics have tried to suggest.

I formerly believed that if we ceased to be truly disinterested then we wouldn’t be able to fulfil the important task history has ascribed to us. However, I think things have got into such a state now that I am planning to reverse my position. As of today I intend to become a member of the Labour party, then once the postal order has cleared I am immediately going to resign my membership and after that I will write an article in the Guardian giving my ill-thought-out and incoherent reasons for doing so.

These will be:

1. Spiders. I don’t like spiders and I just feel somehow that Jeremy Corbyn is in league with a secret cabal of giant Spanish-speaking spiders, I don’t know why.

2. Demise of New Labour… There was something wonderfully venal and self-serving about the Labour party under Blair, Brown and Miliband that made for great comedy and, sadly, all that seems irrelevant now. Honestly, if Corbyn is going to reform the party in his own image – ascetic, socialist, kindly and ethical – then my next act is going to have to largely be about sandwiches. Nobody wants to see that.

3. The Arab World. As, frankly, something of a Middle East bore, the sort of chap who knows his Hamas from his Hezbollah, it has given me great pleasure over the years to see how all western governments have mismanaged their relationships with the Arab world… Though he was knocked back over Syria, there seems to me to be an alarming lucidity about Corbyn’s attitude towards the region which I don’t like.

4. Disrespect for columnists. While his opponents within the Labour party run around like spooked lemmings every time some journalist says something critical about Corbyn’s policies, Jeremy himself seems unaffected by the bile poured on him by newspaper and magazine columnists… These days the power of the print media is reduced, but that did not stop Miliband and his associates being terrorised by critical words from almost any columnist, while, clearly, Corbyn’s people have decided to pay them no attention. Now I personally don’t think much of the opinions of any of these people, but if we allow their views to be ignored then we are one step closer to anarchy.

5. Fear of success. Some of those of us on the left, rather than a fear of failure, have always possessed a much greater fear of success.

Source: Alexei Sayle: ‘Why I’ve decided to join the Labour party then immediately resign’ | Books | The Guardian

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