Belfast Telegraph

Lindy McDowell: Why does Corbyn find it so hard to say sorry for Labour's anti-Semitism?

 

Jeremy Corbyn
Jeremy Corbyn

By Lindy McDowell

Frozen 2, the follow up to the movie that gave the world the excruciating Let It Go, is back in the cinemas. In other sequels this week - Jeremy Corbyn has been on television starring in Car Crash Interview 2 while Donald Trump has been projecting himself as Rocky Balboa 2.

In what was undoubtedly the weirdest image of the week, the US President tweeted a picture of his own head artfully superimposed on the oiled pecs and abs of fictional film hero Mr Balboa.

Are we to take it that Mr Trump genuinely self-identifies as Rocky?

Or was this a rare exercise in tongue-in-the-cheek self-effacement from the well-known White House narcissist?

Answer: probably a bit of both.

The day before, the president had spoken at a rally, addressing reports that he might be ill. He'd been pictured going into a hospital and - oddly for him - was not wearing a tie.

Why would I wear a tie he demanded, when the first thing a doctor says is take your shirt off.

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This got a good laugh so warming to his theme he claimed that what the doctor had actually said was: "Take your shirt off, sir, and show us that gorgeous chest. We've never seen a chest quite like it."

Hmmm.

Anyway, this appears to be what prompted the mock-up Rocky pic.

There's since been the inevitable online backlash with many posters making the point that, in the movie, Rocky hammers the Russian - whereas Trump is widely seen as kowtowing to Putin.

Then again maybe the doctored picture is Trump's way of having a pop back at Vladimir, a world leader who's not behind the door himself when it comes to gratuitous chest-baring. (Although in fairness the chest in question is his own).

Whatever Trump's intention in tweeting the image the worst that can be said about it is that it makes him look daft. Or even dafter than usual.

Jeremy Corbyn however, has been on much rockier ground this week with a car crash television interview that makes even Prince Andrew in last week's prequel look forthright and articulate.

Journalist Andrew Neil, famously known as Brillo Pad on account of his wiry hair, scoured the slick film of waffle from Jezza as the latter refused time and time again to apologise for Labour's shameful record of anti-Semitism.

What made this so much worse was that this cringeworthy performance came in a week during which, in one of the most extraordinary interventions in a British general election, the Chief Rabbi, Ephraim Mirvis expressed his fears and that of many of his fellow Jews about "a new poison sanctioned from the top" of the Labour Party.

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Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis

No prizes for noting precisely who that barb was aimed at.

"Be in no doubt," Rabbi Mirvis warned; "the very soul of our nation is at stake."

Strong words indeed. And all the more chilling in the light of a recent poll which showed that almost half - almost half - of all British Jews would seriously consider emigrating should Mr Corbyn move into Number 10.

So what does the man himself have to say about this poison at the top of his party?

About that widespread and genuine fear felt within the Jewish community?

Certainly not the word sorry.

He prattles on about being a man who has fought against racism all his life.

But like Trump's head on Sylvester Stallone's body this lofty claim and his failure to say sorry don't represent a plausible fusion.

Why wouldn't a man who says he opposes racism in every shape and form be willing to apologise for the virulent anti-Jewish hatred that continues to flow unchecked from the party he leads?

I think we all know the answer to that.

Debates elect to get Alexa going

I'm having trouble with my Alexa. I've noticed that during some television debates when the word "election" is mentioned she unexpectedly comes alive. It's down to the way some commentators pronounce the word. Michael Heseltine (right) who was on the other evening really got her going. Never mind the wee lady who told the TV reporter that she couldn't choose between "the red man and the buffoon" - even my technology is in turmoil.

Channel 4 fear a Bojo meltdown

I was really disappointed in the Channel 4 ice sculpture which they used as a stand-in for absent Tory boss Boris Johnson during their leaders' debate. It was a sphere featuring a map of the world and the Conservative logo beneath. I was hoping for an icy interpretation of Boris himself. Maybe they couldn't find enough water or were worried that BoJo in meltdown might flood the studio. Snowflakes!

What Katie did... spend, spend, spend

How could she? How could reality TV star, former glamour model, author and cosmetic surgery aficionado Katie Price have gone through a fortune once reputed to have been in the region of £40m?

I suppose the short answer to that is that you could do it if you put your mind to it...

This week Ms Price - Jordan as she was previously known - was made bankrupt.

She may not be everyone's cup of Botox but I've always had a lot of respect for her. She's been an outspoken and brave campaigner against bullying, highlighting the awful abuse her disabled son Harvey has been subjected to.

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Out of pocket: Katie Price has been declared bankrupt

She's also been battling on another front recently, against her own admitted drug and alcohol abuse. She's had a series of broken relationships. And at 41 she seems increasingly desperate to hold back the years with various ill-advised cosmetic procedures.

All round then, not an entirely glamorous life right now.

But those who would sneer should bear in mind that her great wealth wasn't handed to Katie Price on a plate. She worked hard for it. And as with so many other people who have been made bankrupt, there's no shame in that.

Hopefully there are brighter times ahead for her.

If money is a gauge that's certainly the case for Steve and Lenka Thompson who scooped £105m this week on the Euro Lottery.

Money doesn't buy happiness we all accept, but that doesn't stop us occasionally dreaming about being able to spend, spend, spend.

Getting through an entire £40m though? That's some spending.

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