If Corbyn can't recognise Ant & Dec, is he really fit to lead this country?

Corbin is seen looking thoughtful. He's got good reason to be pensive.

Corbin is seen looking thoughtful. He's got good reason to be pensive.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

So the internet (well, the British bit of the internet anyway) is up in arms because a beardy politician in his 60s can't recognise a couple of celebrity entertainers.

Is our collective concern and fury justified? Absolutely. In fact, one might suggest this debacle calls into question the politician's fitness for high office.

First of all, you've got to factor in the prominence of the two unrecognised entertainers in question. Ant & Dec have single, or rather double, or perhaps maybe quadruple-handedly redefined British light entertainment over the last 25 years. Their hit record, Let's Get Ready to Rumble, is still played in hair salons and gymnasiums around the country. They proved it was possible for two blokes without great voices or chiselled abs to make a success of it in the music industry, through the sheer force of their talent and their will. Without this example, maybe Britpop would never have happened.

Since that brief but epoch-shaping foray into the music business, they've turned their hand to presenting, and proved just as masterful. First with Pop Idol and latterly with Britain's Got Talent, they've underpinned the meteoric rise of modern Britain's favourite pastime: watching middle-aged people perform karaoke on national television. If a star is born, Ant & Dec are the first to provide congratulations; if someone makes an absolute fool of themselves, the tinker twosome are the first to offer a shoulder to cry on. Without their support and encouragement, we might never had heard of Paul Potts or Michelle McManus. We might never have seen Pudsey: the Movie. We might never have heard the word 'Diversity'. Truly, we'd be a poorer nation for it.

Now consider the politician who was unable to name these two entertainers. Jeremy Corbyn is the leader of the Labour Party, the party of the working man (and a few middle-class idealists from north London). His party should be in touch with the people. It should have its finger on the pulse of the bloke in the street. And noone speaks to the bloke in the street more than Ant & Dec in this day and age. Can you imagine Harold Wilson being asked to name John Lennon and Paul McCartney, and failing to do so? How about Tony Blair being shown a picture of the Gallagher brothers and saying 'nah, sorry guv, I don't know them from Adam." You're right, it wouldn't happen. And it shouldn't happen now.

Forget Corbyn's stance on Hamas and Hezbollah, his  views on rail privatisation, his previous endorsement of the Russian government and his support for dubious hard-left parties in countries such as Venezuela. When he was asked to name Ant & Dec, he faced the biggest test of his political career. And he flunked it.

You've got to ask where he goes from here.