Jeremy Corbyn’s team have unveiled plans for his ‘relaunch’, designed to give the Labour leader a wider appeal by making him appear more populist, by announcing his participation in the next series of Britain’s Got Talent. The move has taken many political commentators by surprise, following much press speculation that this makeover might entail Corbyn attempting to embrace President-elect Trump’s approach, including the use of social media to swiftly reply to criticism rather than mounting detailed rebuttals. “It’s simply a case of them misunderstanding what we wanted to take from the Trump campaign,” explained Mary Kringe, one of Corbyn’s top media advisers, at a press conference. “What we saw as key to Trump’s success were his appearances on reality TV – it was The Apprentice which really took him into American voters’ living rooms, projecting the image of a strong, decisive, business leader, trather than just another wishy washy politician. On the back of that, he could sell the most outrageous policies imaginable – people just didn’t care how ludicrous they were, they just cared about the image! We decided that’s exactly what Jeremy needs right now!” Many commentators remain nonplussed by the strategy, particularly the fact that, unlike Trump, Corbyn will be a participant rather than a presenter of a reality TV show.
“When the announcement was made, we obviously initially thought that Corbyn was going to be a Judge on Britain’s Got Talent, enhancing his public profile with his sympathetic, humanitarian approach to judging the contestants. Perhaps even taking the opportunity to present his appraisals of their acts from a Marxist perspective,” claimed Henry Cramp, deputy political correspondent for the Daily Norks. “But instead, it quickly transpired, he’d actually be performing some kind of act, running the risk of being ridiculed by a smarmy capitalist egotist like Simon Cowell, week after week. I’m not sure how that would boost Corbyn’s public image.” The nature of Corbyn’s proposed act has also raised eyebrows amongst political commentators. “Apparently, he and John McDonnell are going to perform a musical double act – not doing a song and dance rendition of ‘Me and My Shadow’ as one might expect – playing musical instruments fashioned from fruit and vegetables,” says Cramp. “Whilst the presence of McDonnell is no surprise – there’s no way he’s going to let Corbyn wander too far from his influence – playing cucumber flutes and aubergine trombones does seem more than a little bizarre. You’d surely be expecting them to belt out some protest songs – in easy listening arrangements – or left wing ballads.”
Kringe has defended both the choice of reality TV vehicle and Corbyn’s proposed act. “I’ll admit that we originally wanted to get Jeremy onto the X Factor, but it was too long a wait until the next series – plus the ratings on the last series weren’t too good and we need him to be associated with a winning brand,” she told the press. “Not only that, but we were worried that he and John might be classified as a ‘boy band’, which would obviously go against their principles as such terminology perpetuates the patriarchal nature of society.” The adviser admitted that other reality shows had been considered before Britain’s Got Talent was settled upon. “We gave careful consideration to having Jeremy go into the jungle on I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here,” she claimed. “We thought that he could demonstrate his commitment to sustainability in a practical manner, by refusing the ‘Bush Tucker Trial’ and instead provide the group with food by setting up a modest vegetable patch and cultivating local fruits. But the producers thought that would remove the competitive element that viewers tune in for. Moreover, we felt that being associated with a bunch of has beens and Z-list celebrities might hurt Jeremy’s standing.” Likewise, The Voice was also rejected, with Corbyn’s team fearing that judges like Tom Jones might feel threatened by the Labour leader’s masculinity, resulting in an early exit.
“We feel that the act we’ve selected for Jeremy to perform on Britain’s Got Talent is entirely appropriate,” Kringe opined. “We wanted something that isn’t overtly political, showed his lighter side yet subtly promoted some of his core values, like vegetarianism. He’s very passionate about the idea that fruit and vegetables are not just the future of nutrition, but also manufacturing and entertainment. Believe me, the musical numbers we have planned for him and John to perform, whilst entertaining, will also speak of the struggle of the proletariat against the capitalist oppressors in a subtle way.” The key to the strategy’s success, Kringe believes, lies in Corbyn reaching the latter heats, when he will be subjected to a public vote. “If he can win his way through these, it will prove, once and for all, that he is a vote-winner, gaining the support of many viewers who are not his natural supporters,” she says. “Ideally, if he wins the contest, then his Blairite critics in the party will be silenced for good.”
Many commentators remain unconvinced by the strategy, believing that it has less to do with trying to replicate Trump’s success with The Apprentice than trying to copy former Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls’ recent success on Strictly Come Dancing. “There’s no doubt that making a dick of himself on Strictly transformed the way the public saw Ed Balls,” points out Cramp. “He’s gone from being a failed politician who couldn’t even hold his seat at the last election, let alone articulate a coherent economic strategy for the Labour Party, to being a national treasure.” Indeed, Cramp believes that the current Labour leadership feels threatened by Balls’ success. “I’ve had it on good authority that Corbyn’s people have some private polling which shows that if Ed Balls was leader of the Labour Party, they’d win a landslide election victory. Regardless of what their policies were. If they had any at all,” he claims. “There’s a real fear that Balls is plotting a coup – all he needs to do is get selected to represent Labour in a by-election, (and which local constituency party wouldn’t want to have a bone fide TV star as their candidate), and he’d undoubtedly be back in parliament in an instant! Corbyn’s people are afraid that, rather than make a formal leadership challenge, Balls will simply challenge Corbyn to a dance off – it would all be over their man in an instant! I mean, Balls’ Charleston says more about the class struggle than any of Corbyn’s melon melodies ever could!” Ed Balls has refused to comment on these claims, saying only that he has no immediate plans to return to politics.