Hugo Rifkind

Corbynglish as a second language: a political dictionary of terms

21 January 2016

3:00 PM

21 January 2016

3:00 PM

Corbynterpretation [n]: The inevitable process of debate, after Jeremy Corbyn is interviewed, over what he actually meant. Does the Labour leader believe the killing of Osama bin Laden was a tragedy, or not believe this? Would he like Britain to negotiate with Daesh or would he be opposed to that happening? Would he, or would he not, abandon the Falkland Islands? As in, ‘Well, that’s a matter of Corbynterpretation’ or, ‘No, no, those remarks have been totally misCorbynterpreted.’

In order to Corbynterpret [v] one must first consider 1. Whether the Labour leader brought up the disputed view himself (invariably not) 2. Whether the Labour leader clearly said ‘yes’ after somebody asked him whether he held this view (invariably not) and 3. Whether the Labour leader clearly said ‘no’ after somebody asked him if he held this view (invariably not). Thereafter, you’ll just have to wing it. These are debates which can be neither won nor lost.

Corbynsinuation [n]: What Corbynsurgents (see below) believe that the biased right-wing corporate media (which includes the BBC, the Guardian and the Morning Star) are doing when they engage in the above. As in, ‘In suggesting that Jeremy might have here been expressing precisely the sort of view he’s expressed a million times before, Andrew Marr was guilty of blatant Corbyn-sinuation.’

Corbynference [n]: What this biased right-wing media believes it is drawing in the above situations. Note: not to be confused with the similar-sounding Corbynterference [n], which is actually the quite different process of answering all foreign policy critiques by mentioning Saudi Arabia or China or possibly the Iraq war.

Corbyncoherence [n]: Why all this happens with Jeremy Corbyn, and not really with any other politician alive. Thanks to his ability to speak with peerless Corbyncoherence, the Labour leader can simultaneously enable his critics to think he has said something utterly astonishing, and his defenders to firmly believe he has not. Opinion is divided as to whether this is a deliberate strategy, or something he does Corbynvoluntarily [adj].

Corbyncredulity [n]: The sensation felt by moderate members of the Labour party when witnessing one of the above interviews. Diminishes over time.

Corbyncognito [n]: What a Labour MP does when he or she opts, for careerist reasons, to neither support nor oppose Jeremy Corbyn. As in, ‘I keep telling Chuka he should go Corbyncognito before it’s too late’ or ‘No, Tom Watson won’t say anything; he’s been Corbyncognito for ages.’

Corbynvisible [adj]: An extreme form of going Corbyncognito. As in, ‘Andy Burnham is now Corbynvisible.’

Corbynterrogation [n]: Conversation you have with Jeremy Corbyn during a reshuffle. Lasts ages and doesn’t really get anywhere.

Corbynquisition [n]: Shadowy Labour organisation on a mission to root out secret Tories, if possible by hurling them in ponds and seeing if they drown. Otherwise known as Momentum.

Corbynsurgents [n]: Militant supporters of the current Labour leadership. See also Corbynterns (young) and the Corbyntelligentsia (normally the Hampstead branch).

Corbynvasion [n]: The process by which the above are taking over the Labour party. See also Corbynfestation [n], although some reckon that’s pejorative.

Corbyntifada [n]: The expected forthcoming bloodthirsty purge of all centre-left Labour candidates who haven’t gone -Corbyncognito enough. As in, ‘Stella Creasy’s back will be against the wall, come the Corbyntifada.’

Corbynsecure [adj]: How you feel as a Labour MP when you simply don’t know if this is going to happen to you.

Corbynsomnia [n]: What you suffer from when lying awake all night feeling Corbyn-secure about what the Corbynsurgents will do to you in the Corbyntifada.

Corbynertia [n]: Dogged resolve. As in, ‘But his views haven’t changed since 1983! You almost have to admire his Corbynertia.’

Corbynfamy [n]: Like infamy but less severe, solely because of proximity to Jeremy Corbyn. For example, in any other scenario, John McDonnell’s history of support for the IRA, including jokes about kneecapping, might be expected to ‘live on in infamy’. As it is, though, they only have to ‘live on in Corbynfamy’. This isn’t nearly so bad.

Corbynternationalism [n]: A vague sense that Russia and Iran are probably on the right track, or at least more so than we are.

Corbyncidence [n]: What happens when the Labour leader thinks what he always thinks, but by a sheer quirk of fate finds his view shared on the opposite side of the political spectrum. As in, ‘Of course, him and Simon Jenkins agree on Trident, but that’s a complete Corbyncidence.’

Corbyneffable [adj]: Mysterious. As in, ‘Ours is not to understand his Corbyn-effable ways.’

Corbynsanity [n]: What the Labour party is currently suffering from an outbreak of.

Sheer Corbyndifference [n]: The instinctive approach of the Great British public to all of the above.

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