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1 June 2016

Six things we learned from Vice’s documentary on Jeremy Corbyn

Seumas Milne should steer clear of casinos, signed apples are on their way, and Team Corbyn needs a spycatcher.

By Stephen Bush

Jeremy Corbyn and his inner team are the subject of a new Vice News documentary, released online today. Here are six highlights:

Jeremy Corbyn signs apples

If you’ve ever been to a party’s fundraiser, you’ll know that signed bottles, pictures and other bits of tat are a key part of how political parties – Labour and the Liberal Democrats in particular – keep the lights on. (During the election, one Labour campaign organiser quipped to me that they were a “Keynesian employee” as, in addition to organising canvass sessions and the rest, they were also responsible for running the local party’s fundraising.) 

During the documentary, Corbyn quipped that he would be signing the apples that come out of his allotment. Unclear if this is a joke or a brilliant fundraising idea. 

Seumas Milne has a terrible poker face

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During one moment, Corbyn and his staff argue over whether or not they should include more detail about George Osborne’s disastrous Budget and Iain Duncan Smith’s resignation in a speech. Corbyn thinks they shouldn’t. Strategy director Seumas Milne disagrees. Visibly.

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There’s a mole in Team Corbyn

At one point, Milne confides that Corbyn’s lines from PMQs sometimes leak beforehand. There’s a mole inside the leader’s office. 

Corbyn’s events dude has a better strategic sense of how to get rid of him than his critics in the PLP

At one point, Corbyn’s events supremo, Gavin Sibthorpe, muses on how Corbyn’s opponents would be best off getting rid of him.

“The best way to get Jeremy out is to let him fail in his own time,” Sibthorpe said, before adding that he didn’t think he would fail.

An insight that has remained outside the grasp of Corbyn’s more vocal critics in the PLP. 

The BBC doesn’t have a friend at the top of the Labour party

“There is not one story on any election, anywhere in the UK that the BBC will not spin into a problem for me,” remarks Corbyn near the close of the programme. The Corporation needs all the friends it can get right now – but it looks unlikely to get much support from the Opposition any time soon. 

Knives out at the Guardian?

“No, he’s not a good guy,” says Corbyn of the Guardian‘s Jonathan Freedland while on the phone to Milne, who works for Labour on a loan deal from the Guardian. We’ll never know for sure whether Milne was describing Freedland as “a good guy” to Corbyn’s chagrin, or attacking him.