So, the media – predictably – are harping on about one moment in an interview where Jeremy Corbyn had to look up a number on childcare costs on his iPad while a Woman’s Hour interviewer badgered him.
Big deal – Labour’s manifesto is a huge and detailed document and nobody reasonable would expect someone to know every number by heart.
The interviewer, Emma Barnett, gave away her agenda by immediately making this an issue of trustworthiness:
Corbyn: Can I give you the exact figure in a moment, please?
EB: Is this not exactly the issue with people and the Labour Party.. – that we cannot trust you with our money?
The clear answer to that question is ‘no’ (or, more bluntly, ‘don’t be so stupid’).
Corbyn had a figure to look up – Labour’s manifesto is detailed and fully costed in every respect. If you go to see your bank or accountant, you don’t expect them to know your balance or tax liability off the top of their head. You do expect them to have a figure and to be able to look it up.
It’s interesting that Corbyn’s hesitation made half-hourly bulletins on BBC News, whereas Michael Fallon’s complete ignorance of any costings in the Tory manifesto passed almost without mention:
As did Philip Hammond’s £20 billion understatement of the cost of HS2:
But there’s a Tory blunder far worse than any of these that passed, just this month, almost entirely without mention by the Establishment media.
The day that Theresa May forgot where she was:
The residents of Clay Cross must have been thrilled.
Will Corbyn have been thrilled that he needed to look up Labour’s figure for childcare costs? No. But the key issues – which Ms Barnett conveniently ignored – are that Labour (unlike the Tories) have figures to look up – and that Labour is going to give parents thirty hours of free childcare.
That’s thirty hours. Free. To every parent with children who need childcare.
If you needed another demonstration of the media bias that even David Dimbleby acknowledged today, you won’t find a much clearer one.
Don’t forget the real point – whether you live in this particular town or anywhere else.