The Gaffer

“Let’s talk football" - Eamonn Holmes accused of 'pathetic' interview with Jeremy Corbyn

It was the morning after the night before for the Labour leader. And it was a little odd to watch.

Sky News / YouTube

THE MORNING AFTER his first party conference speech as Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn went on Sky News and was asked about football and his choice of tie.

His interview with Sky News’s Eamonn Holmes was strange from the outset and got more and more odd as Holmes questioned Corbyn on his desire to lead his party by consensus.

Holmes said Corbyn had to take charge, like a football manager:

“Look, let’s talk football. Your man’s Arsene Wenger my man’s Alex Ferguson, even Louis Van Gaal now. Do you think they go into a dressing room and they say, listen boys, how are we going to line up tonight, what are we going to do tonight? No they don’t. Fergie always said he had to make it clear, there was one boss. That was it. That’s not your way of doing things though.”

But Corbyn disagreed, saying that his job is not about dictating to others:

“My way of doing things – because it’s politics, it’s community, it’s people, it’s government – is actually not if I may say so the same as managing a football team.”

Holmes persisted: “Oh it so is – if you want to be a winner, do you want to be a winner. Do you want to win?”

Corbyn broke down laughing: “Eamonn please! Of course I want to win, and of course Labour wants to win.”

Things the calmed down when homes asked Corbyn about the tie he wore during his “fantastic speech”.

There was quite a response to the interview with many claiming that Holmes was both unfair to Corbyn and was ‘dumbing down’ politics by talk about football.

The interview came a day after Corbyn insisted during his keynote speech that he was open to debate within the party, saying he was “not imposing leadership lines”.

“All of us have to share our ideas and contributions,” he told members.

It’s you who will have the final say in deciding polices for our party. Not me as leader, not the shadow cabinet, nor the Parliamentary Labour Party.

Labour Party / YouTube

But Corbyn hinted he would be prepared to wield his public mandate over the totemic issue of Britain’s nuclear deterrent system, to which he is opposed, setting the scene for a potential showdown.

“There’s one thing I want to make my own position on absolutely clear, and I believe I have a mandate from my election on it,” he said.

“I don’t believe £100 billion on a new generation of nuclear weapons taking up a quarter of our defence budget is the right way forward.”

Corbyn said he wanted “a kinder politics, a more caring society”, opposed to what he called “the outdated and throroughly failed approach” of austerity.

“We’re going to put these values back into the heart of politics in this country,” he said.

“Under my leadership, Labour will be challenging austerity. It will be unapologetic about reforming our economy to challenge inequality and protect workers better,” Corbyn told cheering delegates.

‘Wishful thinking’ 

While the leader remained serene, other rifts were on show during the party conference.

One of the battle lines could be the air campaign against the Islamic State group in Syria, which Prime Minister David Cameron’s government and many Labour MPs have said they want Britain to join.

Labour party annual conference 2015 Jeremy Corbyn arriving with supporters at the Brighton Centre in Brighton, Sussex. Gareth Fuller / PA Wire/Press Association Images Gareth Fuller / PA Wire/Press Association Images / PA Wire/Press Association Images

Caroline Flint, a minister under Blair, also contradicted shadow finance minister John McDonnell’s plan to use receipts from a tax-avoidance clampdown to fund new policies.

The European Union is another issue that potentially divides the party, with most Blairites ardent supporters, while Corbyn and other leftist harbour doubts.

“He’s surrounded by the Parliamentary Labour Party which is still dominated by people who did not support Jeremy,” eurosceptic MP Kelvin Hopkins told AFP.

Far-left factions, including the Labour Party Marxists, have called for a purge of Blairites, and said that the refusal of some members to serve in Corbyn’s cabinet was “an act of civil war”.

With reporting from - © AFP, 2015

Read: Jeremy Corbyn repeats call for a united Ireland

Read: British army general ‘threatens mutiny’ if Jeremy Corbyn becomes PM

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