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Jeremy Corbyn Destroys Himself

BBC interviewer Andrew Neil goes full Torquemada on Labour's Jeremy Corbyn (BBC screenshot)

You ever wondered how it was that Romans actually enjoyed watching people torn to shreds by wild animals in the Colosseum? Watch BBC interviewer Andrew Neil’s merciless inquisition of Jeremy Corbyn, which aired this evening in the UK. You can’t watch it on the BBC Player in the US, but the full thing is embedded in the Daily Mail story, or, the Conservative Party is airing it on its Facebook page. Once you see it, you’ll understand why. It’s like Corbyn sat down with Neil as leader of the Labour Party, about two weeks before the election, and proceeded to commit slow-motion political suicide.

The Guardian doesn’t have a review up at this writing, but earlier in the day it published an editorial saying Labour hasn’t done enough to deal with Jew-hatred in its ranks.  Here is its straight news report on the Neil interview, which focuses on how Corbyn refused multiple times to apologize to British Jews for grotesque anti-Semitism within the Labour Party — this, on a day when the Chief Rabbi of the country called Labour out for it, and the Archbishop of Canterbury stood with his Jewish counterpart in solidarity. I kept watching Andrew Neil put the question to Corbyn, thinking, “Why can’t this man say that he’s sorry? Why is he dodging?”

The anti-Semitism thing took up the first 10 minutes of the 30-minute interview, though it could have been dispatched with quickly had Corbyn handled it differently. But the whole thing was just staggering. I don’t know that I’ve ever seen a senior politician destroy himself quite like that in an interview.

From The Independent’s review:

To wonder whether Neil/Corbyn was as bad as Frost/Nixon or Maitlis/York is to ask the wrong question, really. Because the sheer agony of it could not be contained within the parameters of the simple TV interview format.

Anyone idly flicking through the channels and alighting on BBC One at 7pm might have imagined themselves to have stumbled upon one of those old Japanese humiliation endurance game shows as featured on Tarrant on TV, but with the really cruel twist that there was absolutely no prize at the end. Quite the opposite, in fact.

For the sheer range and volume of horrors, it can only really be compared to a montage that has now been quite rightly taken off YouTube, featuring all the horrific injuries suffered by various contestants on Channel 5’s ill-considered extreme sports celebrity show The Jump.


We would learn that everybody who’s ever done anything antisemitic has been kicked out of the Labour Party, apart from everybody who hadn’t been but that isn’t Jeremy Corbyn’s fault because can I finish can I finish can I finish I’ve been an anti-racist all my life can I finish and OK yes the woman who denied the Holocaust did only get a letter but can I finish I oppose racism in all its forms can I finish can I finish if you’d just let me finish?

That’s exactly how it went. Mere words of description can’t convey the horribleness of it. The Telegraph (paywalled) began its review thus:

Andrew Neil’s interview of Jeremy Corbyn was so brutal, the BBC should have shown it after the watershed. How Labour must wish they had. Ideally, long after everyone of voting age was asleep.

The first 10 minutes – a whole third of the interview – were dedicated to anti-Semitism. Under the burning searchlight of Mr Neil’s interrogation, Mr Corbyn floundered. He sounded by turns waffly, defensive, confused, crabby, and clueless.

OK, that’s the Torygraph, you left-wing folks might say. Here’s the Labour-backing New Statesman:

For a party whose electoral strategy is to a large extent predicated on winning the air war over policy, the opportunity cost is huge – let alone with only 16 days to go. But even on the turf Labour believes suits their style of electoral play best, Corbyn struggled. He could not say how a Labour government would fund its £58 billion pledge to compensate Waspi women and admitted for the first time that some earning less than £80,000 a year would end up paying more tax under his government. Neil’s lengthy grilling on his policy of neutrality in a second referendum will have also gone down badly in Labour circles. With the polls tentatively moving in the right direction, it is about as unhelpful an intervention as Corbyn could have made.

You don’t have to know much about British politics to find the interview compelling television. Andrew Neil was a pit bull, but then, he treats all politicians this way. I am hard-pressed to think of an American TV interviewer like him, though Chris Wallace, at his best, is something like this. Watch this short clip of Neil’s recent grilling of Scottish nationalist politician Nicola Sturgeon:

In his own meeting with the fearsome Neil, Corbyn was … well, let’s just say that it is hard to fathom the British people entrusting their nation to a man like this. Watch the last five minutes of the thing, in which Corbyn can’t bring himself to say he would give the kill order to British special forces if they cornered the head of ISIS as he was about to order a terrorist attack. That, to me, is an even bigger deal than the anti-Semitism mess (which is pretty damning), because it has to do with national security and terrorism. Corbyn is a wet-noodle leftist to the marrow. The Daily Mail is nobody’s idea of a left-wing newspaper, but even Labourites will concede that tomorrow’s cover accurately sums up their hapless leader’s interview:

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. A veteran of three decades of magazine and newspaper journalism, he has also written three New York Times bestsellers—Live Not By Lies, The Benedict Option, and The Little Way of Ruthie Lemingas well as Crunchy Cons and How Dante Can Save Your Life. Dreher lives in Baton Rouge, La.

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