Some Right-Thinking Thoughts On Jeremy Corbyn At The Cenotaph, And The Media

by richardhutton

Jeremy Corbyn laid a wreath at the Cenotaph during the Remembrance Sunday service, and instantly drew criticism from all right-minded politicians and journalists in the land; while condemnatory quotations were provided by courtesy of the many courageous, if anonymous members of the right-thinking general public – venting their spleens on the prestigious environs of social media, throughout the two-minutes’ silence of the remembrance service; at the lack of respect being shown to the occasion.

Swiftest to appraise the merits of those participating in the day’s competitive bowing event, was the Guardian. As its brave, nameless authors explained, Corbyn’s behaviour really did fall short of the efforts made by his competitors – both in terms of style and execution. Whereas the leader of the Liberal Democrats averaged a 5.5 once the degree of difficulty – in having to feign humility – had been factored in, the Prime Minister scored a solid 6 throughout. From the starting position, through the approach, to the final curtsy itself, his performance was unimpeachable. What is more, the comb-overs of each participant were without fault. Not a follicle was misplaced, despite the rigours of their performance, and a wind-factor of +1. Both gentlemen were scrupulosity epitomised; with decorum coming out of every orifice.

By contrast, not only was Corbyn’s bow too short, too shallow, and vaguely reminiscent of the manoeuvres that Britain’s oriental foes of old might have made when greeting one another unexpectedly at the entrance of a brothel; but his poppy was the wrong shade of red. As the Guardian’s article therefore rightly concluded: “a slight forward tilt of the forehead was really not sufficient – Mr Corbyn should have gone down on one knee, and promptly patted the buttocks of each and every veteran walking past, while simultaneously singing the national anthem. Nothing less suffices”.

The Telegraph was more perturbed, still. As one of its many authors on the theme pointed out, at length, several times, not only was Mr Corbyn’s nod of the head three degrees short of the minimum which propriety requires, but throughout the day of remembrance itself, Corbyn concealed his disrespectful thoughts in the most cunning manner possible – firstly, by attending the ceremony; and secondly, through paying people respect in a courteous manner. This was nought but a duplicitous ruse, of course. After all – as the Telegraph’s columnist sensibly noted – what could be surer proof of a deranged conspiracy to take the entire country into his power, than behaving like a perfectly reasonable person?

One man who wasn’t fooled, however, was the former defence minister and current government MP, Gerald Howarth – a politician who has spent a lifetime treating other people with the utmost respect; while being a practiced hand at effective bowing and scraping, to any degree necessary. As he explained, in the most reasonable and measured of manners (paraphrased here for clarity’s sake):

“you cannot compromise on respect for our fallen, because it is they who put their lives on the line in the war to end all wars, along with the one which followed shortly afterwards, and in numerous conflicts since – such as the current decade-and-a-half’s worth of effort to make the Middle East and North Africa sit still and behave – who, between them, safeguarded for all of us the freedom not to speak our minds today about the awfulness of warfare. Mr Corbyn really ought to be uncompromising in his gratitude to them – not calling for peace, but urging more wars; if not openly applauding as the British establishment repeatedly thrusts its weaponry into the war-zones of the world, with throbbing military stiffness”.

When asked if the need for uncompromising gratitude and respect extended to the many homosexual men whom Howarth had lobbied to deny legitimacy as service personnel, the Member of Parliament momentarily became unavailable for comment. However, he was nonetheless more than willing to provide a demonstration of the correct way to bow. He began by skilfully dislocating several of his vertebrae, immediately falling slack from the waist up – his torso doubling over, head lolloping uncontrollably – while a veritable river of saliva collected at the corner of his mouth, and his eyelids began to flutter. He then started moving forwards with a shambling gait, while murmuring anon: ‘family values…family values…family values…’; before adopting the final posture of deference, by collapsing into a heap on the ground, ready to be marched over by parading veterans.

The Sun, similarly, saw much to complain about in the minor arc of Corbyn’s temple as he stood before the cenotaph. ‘Bowing simply isn’t bowing’, exclaimed its premier expert on civility and etiquette, Rupert Murdoch; whose minions have successfully paid their respects to deceased combatants and non-combatants alike, on a number of prior occasions: for example, by hacking into their mobile phones, or bribing Ministry of Defence officials to be given access to the emails of fallen servicemen.

A dignified tribute to the fallen

A dignified tribute to the fallen

If there can be a more inspiring sight than that of journalists honouring our fallen servicemen, by using the occasion to make themselves look small by comparison, it could only be the solemnity of those who employ them: bridling with such patriotism, that they momentarily forgot their non-dom tax status. What journalists the length and breadth of Britain’s media know is that it is sweet and right to die for your country; unfortunately they themselves have simply been too busy to do this in their own right, over recent decades. Football articles don’t write themselves, after all; nor will topless models arrange their own photoshoots. Despite these pressing demands, however, tabloid staff nationwide did not waver for so much as two minutes when it came to compelling people to voluntarily pay respect to their front-pages.

Moreover, as The Sun noted, Corbyn ‘insulted the war dead by wearing such a disgracefully unobjectionable choice clothes – dressed in an invisible donkey jacket, while silently muttering oaths, with his mouth motionless all the while – such that even our own paper’s expert lip-readers struggled to fabricate any damning sentiment’. As The Sun went on to demonstrate, it is always important to take such things as lip-service at face value, because appearances matter. In this regard, Corbyn was dressed in a completely inappropriate manner for the occasion: wearing a dark tie, a dark jacket, and with a red poppy attached to his lapel – this was simply inexcusable. By comparison the Prime Minister was dressed entirely appropriately, in a dark tie, a dark jacket, and with a red poppy attached to his lapel. The contrast could not have been clearer. What’s more, whereas Mr Corbyn’s poppy-wreath quite insouciently comprised only 187 poppies, the Prime Minister’s had been assembled infallibly, with an impeccable 186 poppies – plus one more, as a mark of additional respect.

In fact, for many onlookers, there was no greater embodiment of the Remembrance service than the Prime Minister himself; who led from the front, spontaneously taking to a podium, declaring:

‘Before the election, we vowed that the two-minutes silence wouldn’t be cut; and we have delivered on that – with a below inflation increase of 0%. Now let’s bomb somebody or another in Syria’.

The PM was not alone in setting an inspiring example on this matter – the proud military tradition of those fearless scions, who swell the ranks of the current administration of the Great and Good, is simply second to none: such as the secretary of state for work and pensions, whose valiant efforts – according to his CV – saw him awarded with the George Cross shortly after he had enlisted as a fresh-faced graduate from the University of Perugia. Under his straight and level eye, the barracks stationery cupboard he oversaw never had its integrity breached, even once – not a single paperclip was unaccounted for; whilst he replenished depleted stocks of staples and pencils without fear or favour. His colleague, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, was similarly unflappable during the very darkest hours of Balkans conflict: as the former state of Yugoslavia disintegrated into chaos, not a single dominatrix’s brothel in the entirety of Britain was ceded to foreign forces, while he stood sentry.

By contrast, Mr Corbyn was unable to stoop as low as the Prime Minister, his colleagues, and their journalistic admirers: all veterans of prostration, in their own inimitable way – having spent recent years genuflecting before Saudi Monarchs, assuming an appropriately abject posture in the presence of Chinese despots, or pressing every square millimeter of their faces down to the very same red carpets they had only just unfurled to honour whichever dictator they happened to be selling armaments to that week.

What’s more, quite outrageously, Corbyn had personally hand-written a message on his poppy wreath calling for peace and an end to wars; rather than making one of his personal assistants do it for him, while simultaneously authorising airstrikes on somebody or another overseas. This detracted from the spirit of the day, all told. The Festival of Remembrance is meant to be a joyous occasion, wherein a nation celebrates the glories of warfare – rather than a depressing reminder of what combat actually entails: from the camaraderie of politicians as they gloriously send other people into battle en masse; to the spirit of enterprise which sees arms manufacturers and dealers really pushing the envelope of profit, in a way which should inspire the aspirational everywhere. To such people it really is decidedly inconvenient to mention the p-word. Asking for peace, which would prevent further casualties to British service personnel, shows a lack of concern for the well-being of the self-same; quite unlike cheerleading every act of war, irrespective of how many people get hurt – which is patriotic.

As the leader of Britain’s military helpfully opined on this theme, under intense scrutiny from the hard-hitting interrogations of the BBC’s most rigorous journalism – in between being taken to task over what he was planning to have for breakfast that morning, and questioned on what, precisely, he intended to have as a light aperitif in accompaniment:

“This Corbyn fellow is endangering our national security. It is imperative that we renew our nuclear submarines, so that anyone who looks askance at one of our fishing boats can be pre-retaliated with nukes forthwith, to deter any onset of a future Cod War’.

Members of the public were similarly aggrieved by what they had witnessed. The noble ranks of Britain’s online commentators – on temporary leave from their guerrilla campaign against the PC Brigade’s War On Christmas – still found sufficient time to trawl courageously through the no man’s land of their enemies’ social media accounts; fearlessly unearthing any sign of disloyalty. ‘Shut up!’ explained one. ‘This is a disgrace!’ began another measured comment; ‘Give the pensions of these so-called military veterans’ to Britain’s retired soldiers!’ it continued. A more poignant reflection was offered by a third internet user, however; who saw Remembrance Day as the occasion to honour “My father, an ex-soldier, who bravely fought and nearly died in a pub car-park last year”.

If our brave boys died for anything, after all, it was for the right of the small-minded, everywhere, to fulminate po-facedly about imagined sleights on national honour. Some might suggest that this was largely the reason so many people had met an untimely end in the first place; but such naysayers merely lack sufficient patriotism.

Now, lest we forget, let us all join in a minute’s silence to commemorate those brave, selfless commentators, who lost their marbles fighting tooth and nail to miss the point of Remembrance Day in its entirety.