Once again, Labour’s excellent Barry Gardiner nails it. The media are making a huge issue today out of the fact that Jeremy Corbyn had to look up a figure for the cost of free childcare during a Radio 4 interview this morning.
Corbyn later apologised for not knowing it off the top of his head during a discussion with BBC Five Live’s John Pienaar – the kind of humility you won’t see from a Tory politician, but a complex document like a fully-costed manifesto isn’t something you memorise.
Not that the Tories would know that, as their manifesto is fully uncosted.
But, though Gardiner is softly spoken, he’s also pithy and combative. Speaking to BBC Radio 4, he showed the ‘storm’ for the ‘bollocks in a teacup’ it really was:
Gardiner pointed out:
- that the Tories manifesto document contains an estimated cost of a child’s breakfast at less than seven pence
- that Chancellor Philip Hammond ‘forgot’ £20 billion from the cost of HS2
- that Labour has a cost, which is more than the Tories can say about most of their manifesto
- and that the interviewer was completely missing the point that Labour’s manifesto contains detailed and fully-costed plans to help parents of young children
No wonder the interviewer couldn’t escape fast enough – she was just the latest to get a working-over from Labour’s gently-spoken spokesman, whose no-nonsense interview performances have made him an internet sensation.
Gardiner didn’t mention that Theresa May forgot where she was this month. But she did.
You won’t find a clearer example of the biased narrative of the media – or of it being outed as it should be.
Well done Barry. Well done Jeremy Corbyn. And shame on anyone who makes out that not having a figure – or having a ridiculous one – is less of a deal than having one and needing to look it up to be sure you get it right.