The War Of Corbyn’s Coat

The War Of Corbyn’s Coat

Grow Talk by Sofy Robertson


Jeremy Corbyn made the headlines once again this Sunday. It was not what he said, or even really what he did. It was what he wore.

Corbyn attended London’s Cenotaph on Remembrance Sunday to pay his respects and was criticised in the media for his choice of coat. His choice of attire was described as “scruffy and disrespectful” by the Daily Mail. Rather than wearing black coats like the other officials, Corbyn chose a raincoat, arguably a more sensible choice with regard to the Great British weather, but one that gave his critics another opportunity to publicly ridicule him.

Unsurprisingly, social media came alive with those defending and condemning the Labour politician. The Independent reported on the backlash, comparing Corbyn’s coat with Trump’s failure to attend a remembrance ceremony in France due to bad weather. The article called the criticisms directed at Corbyn “unfair” as he, unlike Trump, attended the Remembrance event to which he was invited and showed “due solemnity”.

The pettiness of the coat debate has not failed to escape many members of the British public, including renowned author and poet, Michael Rosen. A long-term Corbyn defender, Rosen has supported Corbyn during his initial leadership bid in 2015 and through the internal Labour coup in 2016.

In Corbyn’s defence, Rosen has produced a poem simply titled The War of Corbyn’s Coat. The poem highlights the fallacy of the media’s focus:

“at the sight of a million dead,

they quibble over Corbyn’s coat.”

Rosen’s tone turns more serious as he delves into the issues behind the ‘coat war’, writing:

“It’s not his coat they hate.

That’s not really their cause

What gets up all their noses?

He opposes all their wars.”

The final ironic stanza, entitled Maths, compares Corbyn with Trump, again highlighting the ridiculous nature of focusing on fashion over actions:

“1 wrong Corbyn coat = bad man;

Therefore 1 good coat = good man.

Trump wears a good coat.

Therefore 

Trump = good man. 

Tomorrow’s lesson:  

SS Officers’ lovely leathers.”

 

Rather than taking to social media and engaging in the ensuing ‘coat war’, Rosen has demonstrated a creative form of dissent with his commentary widening the focus and questioning the politics beneath the coats.

Michael Rosen’s full poem can be found below and can also be viewed on his website .

 

The War of Corbyn’s Coat

 

If Corbyn’s coat is wrong,

the others’ coats must be right.

The dead cannot see coats.

Day cannot see night.

Hurrah for the warriors of the press!

We know what rocks their boat:

at the sight of a million dead,

they quibble over Corbyn’s coat.

Let us praise famous coats,

worn to mourn the dead of war;

worn by those who lead us

as their bombs slay even more.

It’s not his coat they hate.

That’s not really their cause

What gets up all their noses?

He opposes all their wars.

Let us imagine the day –

or it could perhaps be night.

The politicians start a war

and no one turns up to fight.

Maths:

1 wrong Corbyn coat = bad man;

Therefore 1 good coat = good man.

Trump wears a good coat.

Therefore

Trump = good man.

Tomorrow’s lesson:

SS Officers’ lovely leathers.

 

Photo by Katya Austin on Unsplash

 

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