Belfast Telegraph

Lindy McDowell: Tracey Ullman's sketch on Labour leader seems to have touched a nerve... and got conspiracy theorists working overtime

By Lindy McDowell

Atv sketch by comedienne Tracey Ullman, where she appears as a startlingly lookalike Jeremy Corbyn, has enraged supporters of the Labour leader who, angered at her taking a pop at the party's rampant anti-Semitism, have developed one of the week's weirder conspiracy theories about who had to be behind this slagging off of their boy.

According to a totally erroneous tweet, fellow comedian David Baddiel had to have written it.

Why?

Because Baddiel is himself a Jew and has spoken out against Labour's now notorious anti-Semitic slant.

That this line of reasoning - Baddiel described it as "putting Jew and Jew together and making seven" - was in itself... well... a tad anti-Semitic didn't appear to register with the disgruntled Corbynite tweeter who made the assertion.

He further claimed that the sketch was "BBC propaganda masquerading as satire".

His rant was then retweeted by several others including - no big surprises here - George Galloway.

As Baddiel himself pointed out later: "The idea seems to be that if I have said something to call out anti-Semitism in the Labour party, then if there's something or someone else doing that, then I must be behind it in some way.

"At a deeper level," he added, "that speaks about myths of Jewish conspiracy, of Jewish control of the media, etc."

Sadly so many within Labour no longer even recognise anti-Semitic bigotry for what it is.

And no wonder the Corbynites have been upset and taken aback by Ullman's sneering at St Jezza. Until very recently this would have been quite unheard of. For a while there, the Great Corbo was on such a roll in terms of popularity, he was being held up as a sort of untouchable cross between Stormzy and the new Marxist messiah.

Remember Glastonbury where he strutted the stage like the Jeremy Jagger of British politics? Okay, he'd lost the election but he'd been handed the mic.

And his popularity rating had just gone platinum.

Around that time nobody seemed to have a bad - or even slightly questioning - word to say about Jeremy and his unstoppable Momentum. He was flavour of the month with millennials. The avocado on their toast.

The avocado thing is now on the wane. (Apparently the world has since gone pineapple.)

But it would, of course, be going way too far to suggest that Jeremy Corbyn is now political toast.

Interesting though, that he's no longer seen as satirically off limits unlike, for example, Michael Gove (Ullman again makes a surprisingly impressive spitting image Tory boy) and Trump who has long been manna from heaven for the comic community.

And telling too that in the Corbyn sketch which featured in Ullman's 'Tracey Breaks the News' show last Friday, other aspects of the Labour leader's back catalogue also got a bit of a burl.

It's unlikely, for example, that former Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams (remember him?) will have been terribly thrilled by his portrayal in the same skit.

Supposedly now spending his retirement doing the tourist sights of London ("I got some funny looks at Buckingham Palace, I can tell you") the sketch's 'Gerry' is glowing in his praise of Jezza's previous support.

Corbyn, comically, is seen as desperately trying to distance himself from the ex-Shinner chief.

He himself never supported the military campaign, he insists. No, replies Gerry, and I was never in the IRA...

Who is the real butt of the joke here, though?

Bad enough it must be for Jeremy Corbyn that his links with his old pal Gerry Adams (and the people Gerry was linked to) keep returning to haunt him.

But how embarrassing must it be for the real Gerry to be constantly portrayed as the terrible millstone a political leader wouldn't want to be seen with?

And how annoying that there isn't even a supportive tweeter coming up with some conspiracy theory - however bigoted and barking - about who's behind this stuff.

Pining for those grand presidents of old

The World's Gone to Pot moment of the week (and there were a few contenders) was surely Donald Trump (left) posing at the Oval Office desk like a schoolboy forced to re-sit GCSE Maths while his form teacher Miss Kim Kardashian oversees the examination. In other White House news, we learn that former President Bill Clinton has written a thriller, along with author James Patterson, based on his own time in office. What next? George W Bush on Strictly Come Dancing? Remember when we used to call American presidents "Leader of the Free World"? The Free World's Gone to Pot...

Kirstie's first-class flight is plane stupid

Kirstie Allsop has caused a bit of a controversy by revealing that while she flies club class, she makes her children travel in economy. So presumably if they want to do that thing that kids do of flapping the meal table up and down and digging their feet into the back of the passenger in front, there's no one to stop them.

You can understand the criticism. Plus what would she do if there was an emergency on the plane? That said, like many another parent, I do know there are times you wouldn't just want your kids a few rows back. You'd be happy with them on a different flight.

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