Whatever happened to the middle ground?

So here we go again. Any other week, Jeremy Corbyn’s suspension from the party he led until recently or the US presidential election would have easily been the biggest talking point. Then Saturday happened.

I have a picture in my head of Boris, seconds before facing the media, being given a quick spit on the hanky wash by Carrie, telling him to breathe slowly while trying to flatten his hair down.

The announcement of a second lockdown in England wasn’t actually supposed to be made until Monday, but the news was leaked, much to the PM’s anger apparently (it’s called a scoop, Boris, come on, you were a journo of sorts once), and it all had to be brought forward.

With lockdowns being implemented across Europe this had become inevitable and reactions are already polarised, because that’s how things are now. Businesses face another cruel blow to their chances of survival while others demand to know why the decision wasn’t made earlier when all the signals were pointing to it.

Whatever he did, this was always going to be a no win situation because people have a habit of needing to be told to do things by their elected leaders so that they can avoid having to think for themselves (it’s like a scene from Life of Brian, isn’t it – “How shall we **** off, Lord?”) then ignore it anyway and still blame the government.

To all you folks out there who walked around supermarkets without wearing a mask and who simply had to go to the beach and soak up some rays, I hope you think it was worth it.

Now, where has all the toilet roll gone?

Oh, and first one to make it to Barnard Castle is exempt, ok?

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I don’t think anyone could have had any doubts that the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s (EHRC) report into anti Semitism in the Labour Party was going to be damning, or that former leader Jeremy Corbyn would maintain that the problem had been “dramatically overstated” by opponents for political gain.

This is the same Corbyn that led Labour to its worse election defeat in 80 years yet still thinks he somehow won the argument so he was hardly going to change his position on something he has shown time and again he has a complete blind spot about, even with the EHRC finding evidence of 23 instances of “inappropriate involvement” by Mr Corbyn’s office, including staff influencing decisions on suspensions or whether to investigate a claim.

With Corbyn’s refusal to retract his statement, general secretary David Evans really wasn’t left with much choice but to suspend him, even though he would have known only too well that it would probably tip the party into civil war.

Once again we see a polarisation of opinion, this time within the same party. Even with the evidence staring them in the face of “unlawful” harassment and discrimination,

After December’s disastrous result, Kier Starmer knows that he has to change public perception, but it’s worth remembering that he was sat on that Labour front bench while all of this was going on.

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By Wednesday of this coming week, we should know who’s going to be president of the United States from January 2021 – a man who is unlikely to survive the four-year term or the same divisive, self aggrandising bully boy who has been in the White House since 2017.

Not much of a choice for the post of most powerful man in the world, is it?

If the polls are to be believed, Joe Biden might well have this in the bag and the Trump era may be coming to an end. Regardless, Trump’s legacy will be that he has polarised American politics and there is no outlet for a middle ground.

But Hilary thought she was a shoe-in four years ago. With the elderly population of Florida and the key state of Pennsylvania holding the balance of power, polls in the US are about as reliable as our cabinet is of keeping a secret.

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Remember satire? Spitting Image obviously doesn’t.

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Edward Case

Columnist