Show Hide image

Nigel Farage turns his back on the EU anthem at the opening of the European Parliament

The Ukip leader led a protest against the European Parliament by standing the wrong way round during Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy”.

Nigel Farage doesn’t like the EU. I think we’ve established that by now, haven’t we?

But just in case we weren’t completely sure, Farage and some of his MEPs “turned their backs” on the orchestra as they played the EU’s unofficial anthem – Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy” – in the European Parliament chamber at the official opening of the new session in Strasbourg. Watch:

As heroic protests go, it’s not exactly Gandhi and the salt march, is it? As the camera pans round the room, it just looks like some people got confused and stood the wrong way round.

Sorry, Nigel – your message of resistance to the EU in all its forms rather lost its bite when you became a member of its parliament and accepted an MEP’s £79,000 salary + expenses.

I'm a mole, innit.

Getty
Show Hide image

If Seumas Milne leaves Jeremy Corbyn, he'll do it on his own terms

The Corbynista comms chief has been keeping a diary. 

It’s been a departure long rumoured: Seumas Milne to leave post as Jeremy Corbyn’s director of communications and strategy to return to the Guardian.

With his loan deal set to expire on 20 October, speculation is mounting that he will quit the leader’s office. 

Although Milne is a key part of the set-up – at times of crisis, Corbyn likes to surround himself with long-time associates, of whom Milne is one – he has enemies within the inner circle as well. As I wrote at the start of the coup, there is a feeling among Corbyn’s allies in the trade unions and Momentum that the leader’s offfice “fucked the first year and had to be rescued”, with Milne taking much of the blame. 

Senior figures in Momentum are keen for him to be replaced, while the TSSA, whose general secretary, Manuel Cortes, is one of Corbyn’s most reliable allies, is said to be keen for their man Sam Tarry to take post in the leader’s office on a semi-permanent basis. (Tarry won the respect of many generally hostile journalists when he served as campaign chief on the Corbyn re-election bid.) There have already been personnel changes at the behest of Corbyn-allied trade unions, with a designated speechwriter being brought in.

But Milne has seen off the attempt to remove him, with one source saying his critics had been “outplayed, again” and that any new hires will be designed to bolster, rather than replace Milne as comms chief. 

Milne, however, has found the last year a trial. I am reliably informed that he has been keeping a diary and is keen for the full story of the year to come out. With his place secure, he could leave “with his head held high”, rather than being forced out by his enemies and made a scapegoat for failures elsewhere, as friends fear he has been. The contents of the diary would also allow him to return in triumph to The Guardian rather than slinking back. 

So whether he decides to remain in the Corbyn camp or walk away, the Milne effect on Team Corbyn is set to endure.

 

Stephen Bush is special correspondent at the New Statesman. He usually writes about politics.