JAN MOIR: Corbyn and his Labour Party? A plague on the House of Liars

The truth, no matter how bad, is never as dangerous as a lie in the long run. If only politicians could grasp this truth, as spoken by Ben Bradlee, the editor whose Washington Post exposed Richard Nixon’s lies and ended his presidency in 1974.

In recent years, Jeffrey Archer, Jonathan Aitken and Chris Huhne are just three British politicians who can painfully attest to this fact, each having served time in jail for lying to the public — and to the police. One would hope that lessons had been learned and truths restored across the board. That an all-party understanding now prevails.

Which means that those who are elected to public office and nurture a high opinion of themselves still manage to grasp, in every last jellied lump of their conceited marrow, that they must not lie to the electorate.

Mr Corbyn, seated during PMQs, can be seen on camera muttering a response to Theresa May which looks like ‘stupid woman’. The Labour leader says he says ‘stupid people’ in reference to Tory MPs

Also that they are not above the law, despite their quasi-exalted position in society. In fact, they are held to higher standards of behaviour, integrity and accountability than ordinary citizens and they should be capable and worthy of rising to these challenges.

They must set examples, rather than seek exemptions. They should be a glorious wreath of laudables, not a basket of deplorables.

And you all know where I am going next. What was Jeremy Corbyn thinking, when he denied that he had called Theresa May a ‘stupid woman’ in the Commons?

Television viewers couldn’t hear it, but cameras caught the moment and millions saw his lips move as they unmistakeably formed the words. He knows it, she knows it, we all know it.

Yet instead of apologising for a regrettable moment of rudeness under pressure — he would have been pilloried, but just about forgiven — Corbyn chose the dark path of full disavowal.

He lied to the Commons Speaker. He lied to the House. He lied to us all, and that makes his transgression a thousand times worse.

He did not say ‘stupid woman’. Don’t you understand? He said ‘stupid people’, you stupid people.

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He never said it, just like he never supported the IRA, nor called Hamas ‘friends’, nor laid that wreath, nor joined that anti-Semitic Facebook group.

He seems to be caught in a burgeoning culture of lying, just like Donald Trump.

In America, Trump aides have been caught fibbing about business deals, payments to cover up a sex scandal, financial fraud and interactions with Russian officials.

Lies, lies and damned lies, all to protect the bomb-proof boss.

American political analysts have estimated that Trump told more than 2,000 untruths in the first year of his presidency alone, but still he sails on triumphant.

He sets a repulsively brazen example in politics, one which the venal and the morally weak can only admire and emulate — on both sides of the Atlantic.

Like Chris Huhne before her, Labour MP Fiona Onasanya claimed someone else was driving her car when it was caught speeding. She has now been convicted of perverting the course of justice and awaits sentencing.

It seems doubtful that she can remain an MP, but Onasanya takes us all for mugs and has even tried to give her crime a festive sheen.

Tory MPs beseiged the Speaker after the incident offering to show him visual evidence of what Mr Corbyn muttered

She said this week: ‘I am in good Biblical company along with Joseph, Moses, Daniel and his three Hebrew friends who were each found guilty by the courts . . . of course, this is equally true of Christ who was accused and convicted by the courts of his day.’

To put this into perspective, Ms Onasanya lied about speeding in her Nissan Micra while Jesus was saving mankind, not his own skin.

Meanwhile, we have Boris Johnson and his ongoing pyramids of piffle, plus both sides of the Brexit divide exaggerating their political claims then howling at each other’s wanton perfidy. No wonder so many voters are so cheesed off. Similarly, how so much faith has been lost in the political classes. If a leader such as Jeremy Corbyn feels confident to openly lie then shrug it off, where does that leave us all?

And if politicians don’t actually lie, they evade, obfuscate and mislead. They refuse to answer questions, frustrate journalists and pride themselves on their professional glibness as they make their oily way through the media maze.

They are not all like this, but enough of them are to cause concern. Stupid woman was a big lie and a big moment.

If politicians don’t have the guts to be honest, then democracy dies. We can deal with their truths, no matter how bad or dangerous.

It’s just the endless, endless lies that we cannot bear.

There are some really terrible ideas out there, but planning to stop the free BBC licence fee for the over-75s really takes the freshly dunked digestive biscuit.

Even those who resent paying the licence fee cannot resent our more elderly senior citizens getting theirs for nothing. When old age curtails so many activities, television is a lifeline. It is a window on the world for the housebound, a source of knowledge and fun — although obviously I’m not talking about BBC1’s The One Show here.

Please desist! The Beeb aren’t going to win any friends if they press ahead with this.

 Oh, Monica, you could have done so much better!

In a surprise Friends reunion this week, Monica met Richard in a New York restaurant. Well, just about.

In fact, actress Courteney Cox (left) and Tom Selleck just happened to bump into each other in a Manhattan bar, and hugged enthusiastically.

Predictably, their meeting has sparked speculation of a proper Friends reunion, with many longing for a different ending to their on-screen romance (above). Although the Friends sitcom ended in 2004, some fans are still grieving because Monica (Cox) married second-rate Chandler Bing (Matthew Perry) instead of glorious older man Richard (Selleck).

Courteney Cox (left) and Tom Selleck just happened to bump into each other in a Manhattan bar, and hugged enthusiastically

Let’s face it, Monica and Chandler were a complete mismatch.

Handsome, un-neurotic Richard (pictured with her in the show, above) would have been her ideal man, rather than childish Chandler, literally the boy next door.

Like all of the Friends female characters, she could have done better. So much better!

Ambitious, smart, funny Rachel (Jennifer Aniston) deserved more than dorky, dithering paleontologist Ross (David Schwimmer), while goddess Phoebe (Lisa Kudrow) married some random guy called Mike who she met in the coffee shop.

In a recent interview, Jennifer Aniston said all the Friends women were coming around to the idea of a remake of the much-loved sitcom, but that the men weren’t so keen.

Good! It would be much better fun without them. A new generation Golden Girls for 2019? Fingers crossed.

 Jose’s hotel ‘hell’ is just heaven for me

Instead of buying a house near Manchester, Jose Mourinho spent more than half a million pounds on his Lowry hotel bill. He stayed there for over 900 days. Nine hundred!

This expensive impermanence, say his critics, proves that the football manager was never truly committed to Manchester United.

He kept his family in London, he never forged roots nor emotional attachments in the North.

All those months of room service, all those cold, lonely suppers served under tin cloches, all those club sandwiches, all those chocs on the pillow, all those strangers pouring your orange juice over a desolate breakfast table?

Some might say it all saps a man’s soul, but I say how ruddy marvellous. While nothing is ever as wonderful as your own bed, there is something about that kind of transient, fully serviced life that is still very attractive.

Imagine 900 days free of laundry, bed-making, dish-washing and tidying up. Nine hundred days of never running out of shampoo and not putting the cap back on the toothpaste, if you felt the hell like it.

No recycling, never having to wait in for a parcel and the never-ending thrill of walking out when the place is a mess and returning to serene order. Where’s the Sellotape? Have I got time to polish my shoes? There’s no more gin! Just wave the magic wand of room service and your wish is their command.

Some say such an existence must be soulless — as Robert Hardman points out on pages 32 and 33 — but surely it can be soul-enhancing, too?

For a start, it sets you free from drudgery to concentrate on more important things.

Such an impersonal, transitory life wouldn’t suit everyone, but it seemed to suit Jose. It might not have worked out in Manchester, but you can’t blame the hotel for that.

My new most hated word of the festive season? Giftable. As in a truly ‘giftable’ pair of socks or a very ‘giftable’ candle. That’s almost as bad as the dreaded ‘gift wrap’ — it’s wrapping paper, please. Or, indeed, the very process of ‘gifting’ itself. It is not gifting, it is giving someone a gift.

The gift of proper English words, if you don’t mind. Not ghastly, freshly minted marketing Americanisms. So take your candy canes and your giftable eggnog and begone, forsooth!

 It’s Harry Potter and the occasionally busy boss

After being accused of stealing, J. K. Rowling’s former personal assistant complained in court that her boss was aloof and scared her staff.

The Harry Potter author also did not want to be disturbed when she was writing — which was also somehow a black mark against her.

Giving evidence this week, Amanda Donaldson denied any wrongdoing and described Rowling as a ‘generous but not approachable’ employer.

After being accused of stealing, J. K. Rowling’s former personal assistant complained in court that her boss was aloof and scared her staff.

She said: ‘The job was quite tense so I wouldn’t say she was approachable because she would be writing and I was advised not to disturb her. The office staff would sometimes ask if she was in a good mood if she was coming in, in a terrified manner.’


Who knows how this case will end. But I do know that some youngsters have a very Disneyfied idea of what working is all about. They see a job as a lovely extension of their comfortable home life, instead of a place of work that is sometimes harsh and unwelcoming. Or expect bosses to be cheery philanthropists who want nothing more than their staff to have a wonderful time — and a bonus every day.

Instead, the real world is full of bumpy rides and deathly hallows. And the sooner they understand that, the better.

 Pesky Christmas guests? Spray ’em with Vamoose!

Lakeland is one of my favourite companies at any time of the year. During the festive season, however, it really comes into its own.

The Cumbria-based kitchenware firm is stockpiling products for its Emergency Christmas Kits, but what does its choice of essential items such as loo unblockers and red wine stain removers say about the state of the festive nation? Nothing good!

Read between the lines — and on the backs of the packets — and you can see that some of the products encapsulate the spirit of Christmas with an honest piquancy you just can’t find anywhere else.

The Dabitoff Carpet Stain Remover wipes, for example. These promise to remove stains such as wine, mustard, ketchup, chocolate, tea, coffee, blood and grass.

In other words, Dabitoff will take you through every step of Christmas lunch, from canapes to brawling on the lawn afterwards. Wine No More! is a trigger spray that removes red wine spills from table linens, carpets, clothing, soft furnishings and — shriek! — sheets.

The Vamoose! spray sounds like something you should squirt on less pleasing house-guests, while other products seem aimed at more specific family members.

Blitz That Blockage Bathroom One Shot Pack? Grandpa. The Drain Weasel? Recalcitrant teens who won’t come out of their rooms. The Forever Flush Block, which apparently sits in a ‘friendly’ way in the cistern for more than 2,000 flushes? Auntie Deirdre, after a sherry trifle infusion.

There’s also a Limescale Ball — but no, I haven’t been invited this year. Too busy cleaning up a Christmas pudding eruption with my Lakeland Mixed Fruit Squeegee’n’ Scraper. Merry Christmas everyone!

Whatever you do, don’t forget to soak it in cold water first.


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