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The only moment when he paused and goggled was when he was asked about the Falklands.
“I er wanted there to be a [cough] ceasefire,” he said, slowing down to a speed perilously close to Diane Abbott’s not-sure-of-the-numbers pace.
The audience liked that, but they also clapped happily when she said she had decided to call the election after saying she wouldn’t because other parties were trying to frustrate the will of the British people over Brexit.
And then she ended on her strongest subject: who do you trust to negotiate the Brexit deal.
To the tune of “Seven Nation Army” by The White Stripes, hundreds of festivalgoers chanted: “Oh Je-rem-y Cor-byn.” This year’s festival saw performances from the world’s most famous musicians, but the act on everyone’s lips is a 68-year old, brown suit-wearing socialist.
Try as they might, the likes of Stormzy, Lorde and Radiohead simply couldn’t compete with Jeremy Corbyn.
But Paxman couldn’t decide if she was favouring the rich by letting them pass on their wealth to their children, or fleecing pensioners by making them pay for their social care.
His most effective line was to accuse her of being a “blowhard who collapses at the first sign of gunfire” over her National Insurance U-turn.
The Labour leader was even prepared to imply – although he didn’t quite say so – that he would be prepared to order a drone strike against a terrorist abroad who was planning a bombing campaign in Britain. His line on calling Hamas and Hezbollah his friends was rubbish – “I was using inclusive language in order to get a meeting under way” – but he has learned how to skirt around this one often enough now that he can do it without hesitation. Paxman’s clever-clever decision to try to attack Corbyn from the left, for failing to get all the things he really believes in into the Labour manifesto, was a failure.Now, after two turns of the Paxman rack, they were unfrozen again.Of course they would be uprated, Corbyn finally said.He had tripped up on this at the launch of the manifesto, saying they wouldn’t be frozen under a Labour government, when there was no money in John Mc Donnell’s costings document to unfreeze them.So a spokesperson had to “clarify” that they would stay frozen.
He even engaged with people who disagreed with him and urged them to change their minds. The audience liked it, and so the gaping holes in Corbyn’s policies didn’t seem to matter much.