Thursday, October 1, 2020
Home News I’ve been prolier than thou for 12,000 years, says Labour hopeful

I’ve been prolier than thou for 12,000 years, says Labour hopeful

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AFTER Labour leadership contender Rebecca Long Bailey was accused of exaggeration over her upbringing, the party has set up an independent panel to investigate applicants’ claims about how long they have been working-class activists.

Those who are deemed to have been economical with the truth will be disqualified from entering the contest for the top job.

However, despite the clampdown, some would-be candidates still seem to be embellishing their personal histories of proletarian struggle, as a leaked transcript of the confidential proceedings reveals . . .

‘Good morning, sir, I’m the panel chairperson. Thank you for appearing before us. You’ve already completed a written CV, so let’s have a look at it, shall we? Hmm. You say here that you started campaigning for the working classes, er, 12,000 years ago in the New Stone Age. Have I got that right?’

–  ‘You certainly have. I demanded affordable caves for all, along with a huge programme of public henge building.’

‘I see. And the first industrial dispute in which you were involved was, let’s have a look . . . the Exodus from Egypt in 1500BC.’

– ‘Correct. Negotiations with Pharaoh over working hours on the Great Pyramid were deadlocked – we’d basically been sold down the Nile. So our convener Moses had no alternative but to order an Israelite walkout.’

‘Yes, most interesting. Then you say you were engaged in collective action against your Roman employers in 73BC over alleged “slave” working conditions.’

–  ‘That’s right. I am Spartacus.’

‘Sorry, that’s not the name here on your CV . . .’

– ‘No, “I am Spartacus” . . . that’s what I told them after we were forced back to work. I gave a false name because I didn’t want to be blacklisted.’

‘Hmm. Now it says here that in AD61, you were again in dispute with the Romans alongside Boudicca, shop steward of the Iceni – the Incorporated Confederation of English Native Inhabitants.’

–  ‘Ah, yes, turbulent times. I was Boudicca’s driver, keeping her chariot in shape for flying picket duties. I had to be careful of those blades on the wheels, though – elf ’n’ safety, you know.’

‘Yes, quite. Now in 1066, according to your account, you were active with the Amalgamated Union of Saxon Peasants, which held a mass meeting in Hastings to demonstrate against the hostile takeover of England by William the Conqueror.’

–  ‘I certainly was. If you look on Panel 28 of the Bayeux Tapestry, you can see me waving a parchment on which I’ve written “Normans Go Home”.’

‘And when the Black Death reached England in 1348, you became involved in health campaigning.’

– ‘Yes. My demands included more out-of-hours apothecaries, leeches to be taken off prescription and plague pits to be made free at the point of use.’

‘During the Peasants’ Revolt of 1381 you say you beheaded the “reactionary” Archbishop of Canterbury, then rode into London with Wat Tyler.’

–  ‘Ah, good old Wat. Now there was a real man of the people. When it came to taking working-class action, I’ll tell you what, he knew what’s what, Wat.’

‘You claim that in 1834 you were transported to Australia with the Tolpuddle Martyrs.’

– ‘That’s right. As we settled into our huts in Botany Bay, I urged the Martyrs to maintain solidarity, saying, “Everybody needs good neighbours. With a little understanding, you can find the perfect blendThat’s when good neighbours become good friends.” But they chased me up a gum tree.’

‘I see. You further recount how in 1871 you were a leading member of the Paris Commune, when radical socialists took over the French capital in the name of the people.’

– ‘Oui.’

‘And you say that during the Russian Revolution in 1917, you took part in the storming of the Winter Palace in Petrograd, later becoming a close comrade of Lenin.’

–  ‘Ah, my good friend Lenin – dodgy beard, but nice bloke. He could be a bit bolshie at times, though.’

‘Hmm. And your CV goes on. General Strike 1926 . . . Cuban Revolution 1959 . . . Winter of Discontent 1979  . . . Miners’ Strike 1984, etc, etc. That’s quite an impressive list of activism.’

–  ‘Yes, well, I like to think I did my bit.’

‘And you’re sure everything you’ve told us is accurate? To put it mildly, you don’t look old enough to have been at most of the events you describe. ’

– ‘Ah, but being in the Labour Party puts years on you.’

‘I see. Well, thank you for your attendance. We’ll let you know if you qualify for the leadership election, Mr Corbyn. Next!’ 

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Weaver Sheridan
Weaver Sheridan is an amateur local historian and wannabe best-selling novelist.

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