The live UK Budget broadcast had a most surprising twist for this writer, but first let us consider the presentations in the order they took place. I leave the fine detail to the link herein but rather, my observations were as follows.
Chancellor Philip Hammond followed the Prime Minister when her Question Time was over and the Budget Proceedings were supervised by the Deputy Speaker, most ably, as per historic tradition for the Budget.
At first, I was quite impressed with the Chancellor’s professionalism. Although I am not a financier and many things therefore were beyond my complete understanding as to the various ramifications, though one still could, however, realise that Mr Hammond had drawn up a most clever and comprehensive distribution – so much so, I began to wonder where the money would be coming from, especially as it had been inferred by most commentators that he would have to keep something in reserve during Brexit and thereafter.
Mr Hammond had, I thought, been most generous regarding distributions to devolved nations. That said, one Welsh representative being interviewed later in the afternoon was most aggravated that it wasn’t enough – I wish someone had told him ‘well that’s what devolution is all about, standing on one’s own two feet’!
Of all the Budgets in my lifetime, I think this was very cleverly put together but that in itself does not make it right.
There were some light-hearted comments at the expense of Mr Corbyn, both during PM Questions and replies and odd remarks during the Budget outline by the Chancellor.
When the camera showed his solemn face, and those of the Labour front bench, one realised that this man had been verbally abused many times, previously, and today. It was sad.
Later, Mrs May was laughing gazing at the ceiling for a while then looked down at Mr Corbyn. She had been responding to his questions but was now seated. Some of her responses were mocking and it was because Mr Corbyn repeatedly challenged her about the Surrey Council issue which she denied with her lips but not with her eyes. Mr Corbyn irritated her by asking the same question and she gave her answer for the fourth time.
She is not the only one to have despatch box technique.
For one brief moment, there was a flash in her expression which almost revealed a moment of empathy as Mr Corbyn took the barrage of jibes and laughter. I really do not know how Mr Corbyn takes it, to be honest, but he took it like a man.
When he stood to speak it was not easy to hear his words at times because of various audible jibes, so the Deputy Speaker told the Government Benches that everyone had listened to the Chancellor, and he wanted to hear the Leader of the Opposition, and adding the point that he would be heard.
The Deputy Speaker looked down on the benches near himself and said that perhaps The Whip would like to go and have a cup of tea instead!
In any other environment such goading and ridicule every time Mr Corbyn speaks to represent his party, which is his elected legal and Parliamentary right to do, would constitute abuse and incur legal arrest.
What happened next was amazing.
After such a barracking by the Government’s nasty remarks (there is a thin line between acceptable political teasing and something distasteful), I expected Mr Corbyn to be a crushed person as he had already looked like a sad oppressed man.
I was delighted to see a “Leader” when Mr Corbyn started to list the areas that would not be helped by the Budget.
People such as myself – and he referred to the WASPI campaign – women whose pensions were affected because they were born in te 1950s; Women Against State Pension Injustice.
(Note: I have written about this previously and included a published letter that I had sent to Parliament as I, like thousands of others (perhaps hundreds of thousands), also lost Carer’s Pensions due to goal-post moving by the Government).
Mr Corbyn referred to existing local schools that needed help, not new ones, and what about financial help for teachers, police, firemen. The list continued. He referred to those who had Alzheimers and other conditions and their special needs.
It was not only the content of his remarks, but the conviction and confidence he portrayed.
Now, I thought, if Mr Corbyn can be like that all the time, then he truly would be a compelling Leader reminiscent of the days of Old Labour in Clause Four years. When that was abolished the Party lost so many supporters and voters.
I even went so far as to think that if he could get his political act together, he may well be a serious political contender post Brexit, apart from the Trident issue (which issue he may have to abdicate to the will of Parliament Executive as people would not vote for him otherwise).
Then I had another thought.
The Prime Minister may be the right person to get us through Brexit but like Winston Churchill after WWII, the people didn’t want him in peace time – but they knew they needed him to get through the war.
If Mr Corbyn and his Party could perfect and replicate the impact of today, then they have a good chance ‘if and when’ destiny opens the door, then they could surprise themselves and get into power.
Mr Corbyn’s stance today was remarkable and I admire him for it. All it needs now is for either The Speaker or Deputy Speaker to advise the Government they are not doing themselves any favours by taunting Mr Corbyn in such a cruel playground way.
He actually reminded me as to why I could never vote Conservative as at the end of the day they may have the head, but not the heart!
My eyes were opened today for the first time and now I believe Mr Corbyn is perhaps a true Leader after all. He certainly has the guts for it, but more importantly, the heart for the needs of the people of our Great Country.
In my book, that beats Conservative-clever any day.
Photo (c) Hazel Speed – used by kind permision to Tuck Magazine