I see you at the podium, ready for the debate, ready to face your far-from-adoring public. I see the furrowed brows, the rolled eyes, the crossed arms. It’s going to be a hard sell this, isn’t it? You even bought your novelty spinning glasses along and even those haven’t raised a smile yet. No excuses, Jeremy Corbyn. Directly in front of the cameras is about the only chance you’ll ever get to cut through the blue noise and you know it.

This election represents the most polarised choice the country has faced in a generation. By moving (or being kicked and dragged, depending on your definition of democracy) to the left under you, Labour have arguably cut adrift a large swathe of the centre ground. Johnson’s response to the sudden vacancy of that prime real estate has been to ignore it, choosing instead to give up all sense of pretence and tilt wholly to the right. Swinson’s pitched her little tent in it, sure, but hidden in her campfire is an attempt to burn away her own voting record and every time she opens her mouth she drives away anybody who might consider sitting around her barbecue.

On the blue side of the fence the old oxymoron of compassionate conservatism has evaporated, with every last trace of any moderate one-world Tory crossing the Bullingdon rubicon not long after Johnson came to power. That in itself should be a damning indictment of his government – given an opportunity to play-act at remaining somewhat moderate and still achieve clear blue water between themselves and Labour, they’ve chosen instead to gun towards the sort of deregulated capitalist nightmare that leaves everyday people crushed under the system.

Thankfully, vocal opposition to that ideological ruthlessness isn’t everything Labour have to work with. They’ve got the utter charmlessness and reptilian psychopathy of Raab and Patel exposing the lie at the heart of the machine. They’ve got the vile online spin tactics taken straight out of the Cummings playbook and the fact that on a few occasions at least, British journalists have straight-up refused to let them get away with it. They’ve got James Cleverly. They’ve got just about everybody working in the creaking NHS refusing to believe a word the Tories say, shouting loudly from the rooftops that they’re not to be trusted.

Last but by no means least they’ve got Boris Pfforfuck’ssake Johnson and his record of lying through his teeth and failing spectacularly at just about everything. They’re got the fact that he operates on nothing but soundbites, saying only what his chum Dominic or the buffering Commodore 1984 in his brain thinks the people want to hear. They’ve got the fact that even in the week when the word ‘nonce’ becomes a hashtag and pretty much everyone agrees that Prince Andrew is a scumbag he’ll still try to wrap himself in bunting and double down on a fawning display of monarchist forelock-tugging.

They’ve got the feeble excuse of the ‘Bermuda Triangle stuff’ and the unbelievable arrogance of his expectation that we’ll simply accept that outright lie when he could just release the report and clear himself if anything he said was true. They’ve got the fact that he’ll refuse to apologise for outright hate speech, pretending instead that he wrapped it all up in cartoonish buffoonery and his words are being cherry-picked to tarnish his good name.

If after all that you still think he and his cabal of inexperienced, hawkish and demonstrably corrupt loyalists have got what it takes to lead the country, I’ve got a garden bridge and a third runway I’d like to sell to the woman you’ve been fucking and bunging taxpayer’s money to on the side.

Then there’s you, Jeremy Corbyn.

It’s a truly bizarre state of affairs for an election to be fought on the terms of an electorate trying to figure out who they despise the least. There’s the diehard core of Corbyn supporters who are part and passionate parcel of the populist approach, utterly committed to the obvious falsehood of your infallibility. Their blind loyalty is a double-edged sword, the numbers helpful but nowhere near enough for an outright majority, the online condemnation of any dissenting voice fuel to the bonfire of suspicion of your totalitarian tendencies.

It’s all too telling, too, that the most egregious Tory propaganda has sought to make competent figures like Keir Starmer appear bumbling. It’s shamefully dishonest but it also reveals a complete lack of interest in hammering other members of the shadow cabinet who are already utterly compromised in terms of public perception. Who needs to forensically criticise Labour’s costings when all any Tory needs to do is point at Diane Abbott and giggle? It simply doesn’t matter how unjustified the abuse she receives tends to be. She’s the right’s cartoon avatar for Labour’s supposed economic illiteracy and as a result she shouldn’t be anywhere near the battlefield.

And there lies the rub – certainly within Momentum but also among some of the grassroots as a whole, ideological parity with and loyalty to Corbyn himself are more important than a public perception of competence. Utter commitment to the dogma takes precedence over maintaining a broad church of views. The argument that a general election isn’t just about the leaders becomes devoid of merit when it’s the leader’s vision for the future that has been pursued relentlessly, squeezing out those that would seek to soften its edges in order to attract more floating votes. That’s as true of Johnson as it is of Corbyn, admittedly, but it isn’t Johnson fighting the uphill battle against the polls.

For better or worse it’s become about you and him, Jeremy Corbyn. That means it’s now pretty much up to you to get in front of the public and convince them that you’re the sort of benevolent Brexit pragmatist and deal-maker that you claim to be. It’s pretty much up to you to convince them that your investment agenda is about stimulating economic growth rather than bankrupting the country. It’s pretty much up to you to convince your most vocal and alienated critics that they’ve got you wrong and you aren’t what they claim to be.

Then, on top of all of that, it is entirely your responsibility to do enough to welcome British Jews back into the movement and dispel the horrific air of distrust around you. The result of the EHRC investigation into Labour won’t come soon enough to either vindicate or crucify you so for now, it has to come from the top.

I see you, Jeremy Corbyn, waving in the street and shaking hands, knocking on doors, much more comfortable among the everyday people than the vast majority of your opponents could ever hope to be. I see you chatting to voters, making your case, listening to their concerns.

I see you fingers rap on the door and I see it open, a flash of blonde hair and a single green eye peering out at you from behind the security chain. I see the door shut and I see you roll out your shoulders and crick your neck at the clattering sound beyond it, preparing yourself for another pitch. I see the door open again, fully this time, that green eye now two glaring at you from beneath a cocked eyebrow.

I see you struggle to avert your eyes from Rachel Riley’s chest, Jeremy Corbyn, not because you’re a perv but because of the shirt she’s wearing.

This one’s going to be a hard sell, isn’t it? There’s only one from the top she’s after and it’s your head, and you can pretty much guarantee she’s going to be a right consonant vowel consonant consonant about it.

I see you, Jeremy Corbyn. I fucking see you.

I See You

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