The British relish of the audacity of satire knows no boundaries. Neither politics nor faith is exempt from them. The archive of British political comedy expanded this week with the first night of the new musical campaign Jeremy Corbyn for Prime Minister in London, a festival of music, comedy, poetry and politics. The strapline for the event proclaims “Jeremy Corbyn’s honest, compassionate and straight-talking politics has captured the public’s imagination, and has inspired hope in many that real change is possible”.
A kaleidoscope of Labour celebrities will be contributing vignettes to the performance, including Charlotte Church, singer and TV presenter, Brian Eno, musician, Ken Loac, film director, Ken Livingstone, former Mayor of London and John McDonnell, Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer. The writers Rupert Myers and Bobby Friedman say the script is loosely based on a motorbike journey through Eastern Germany that the Leader of the Opposition took with Diane Abbott (presently Shadow Secretary of State for International Development) in the 1970s. The plot hangs around Corbyn’s anti-austerity/ anti-nuclear stance and a confrontation with President Vladimir Putin, with novelty appearances from Boris Johnson, Tony Blair and Ed Milliband impersonators.
YouGov reported in mid-January that Jeremy Corbyn’s approval rating had fallen to 39% and Labour voters are more critical of his leadership than of Ed Miliband’s. Although this theatre of the absurd has no known official connection with the Labour party, the #JC4PM campaign is hoping to reclaim some of the lost support and to draw in a curious cross-party audience. The events are backed by the Union Unite and Momentum, the enthusiastic group supporting Corbyn; two shows are scheduled in London, others in Bristol and Newcastle-upon-Tyne. The Edinburgh date in March no doubt aims to lure the Scots away from the Scottish National Party back to Labour.