The Prophet of Doom

By Peter Madeley | Politics | Published:

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn fired a fearsome warning to Tory MPs across the Commons this week, but what exactly did he mean?

"You won't be cheering in September."

Those chilling words, delivered in a strangely high-pitched voice by Jeremy Corbyn, pierced through the Tory cheers after Labour had lost another vote to block a 'no deal' Brexit.

His remark, filled with menace and accompanied by a stony glare, could possibly have been taken as a portent of disaster, a final, dire warning from the House of Commons very own harbinger of doom.

If only, that is, anyone had the foggiest idea what he was on about.

Why won't they be cheering in September? What does Mr Corbyn know that they don't?

Because one thing we do know about the Labour leader is that he is certainly no prophet, despite what some of his acolytes may believe.

Indeed, with most of his policy ideas lifted from Stalin's Russia of the 1920s, it is safe to assume that Mr Corbyn is a man who feels far more at ease dwelling in the distant past than he is conveying forethought.

Perhaps he was suggesting that Britain is now certain to be heading for a 'no deal' Brexit, although as that can't happen until the end of the following month surely he would have been better off shouting, "You won't be cheering in October"?


Jeremy Corbyn

On top of that there are a fair few Tories who wouldn't mind a 'no deal' departure, ergo they would be likely to be cheering then anyway.

Could it be that Mr Corbyn has a plan up his sleeve – concocted with his comrade-in-arms John Bercow – to thwart Brexit once and for all when MPs return to the Commons in September?

Mr Bercow has effectively been the de facto Leader of the Opposition for the last year, doing everything he can to disrupt the government (to his credit, he's done a pretty decent job of it) while Mr Corbyn focuses on his day job of ensuring that his party remains unelectable.


Is Mr Bercow once again planning to bend the rules in order to force further delays to Brexit?

Alternatively, it is possible that the pair of them have devised a method of engineering a general election, something that Mr Corbyn is desperate for but hardly anyone else in the country wants.

Most of his MPs certainly don't, with the thought of fighting another election two years after many of them saw their majorities dip in the last one enough to fill that side of the House with dread.


Or was Mr Corbyn snarkily reminding Conservative MPs that its party conference time in September, which could well herald the start of the Boris Show that some of them are reluctant to tune in to?

The most likely reason for Mr Corbyn's outburst, however, is something we can all concur with in these trying times – pure frustration.

After all, it's not been a good few weeks for the oldest Trot in Islington.

Donald Trump snubbed his request for a meeting, his party bombed in the European elections, and now his contradictory approach to Brexit has helped to scupper a big chance to stop 'no deal'.

His satisfaction ratings are lower than Theresa May's, an alarming fact that really should serve as a prelude to a good deal of soul searching on Mr Corbyn's behalf, although it won't.

He did – against the odds – manage a tick in the 'win' column by picking up an MP in Peterborough, but the general feeling is that aside from the party's core membership, support is drifting away.

It could be that we don't find out the real meaning behind Mr Corbyn's warning until his memoirs are released in 2020.

But for now, September has taken the form of a dark cloud on the horizon.

At that point Mr Corbyn will have some explaining to do.

After all, it's not like him to be ambiguous.

Peter Madeley

By Peter Madeley

Political Editor for the Express & Star. Responsible for local and national political stories, opinion, comment and analysis.


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