Jeremy Corbyn, the throwback leader of the British Labour Party, is unhappy that people are having fun after work. Per ITV:
Jeremy Corbyn has called on companies to end after-work drinks, claiming that “early evening socialisation” benefits men while discriminating against mothers.
The Labour leader made his comments at an early evening event which launched a document detailing how Mr Corbyn’s flagship 10 pledges would advance gender equality for women, and tackle gendered violence and harassment.
Following the event, held at Unison’s offices, a drinks party was held.
Dry, ITV. Dry.
Corbyn’s reasoning is about what you’d expect it to be:
According to Mr Corbyn an after-work drinks culture “benefits men who don’t feel the need to be at home looking after their children and it discriminates against women who will want to, obviously, look after the children that they have got”.
Ah. Well, if Corbyn’s speaking up for the excluded, why stop with women? A little more of this talk and he can shore up the Muslim, Mormon, and recovering alcoholic vote, too.
Or . . . he could just bugger right off. Winston Churchill once told the House of Commons that “the inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings,” whereas “the inherent virtue of Socialism is the equal sharing of miseries.” This is a textbook example of that maxim. That the world isn’t fair really does not mean that we all have to stay inside drinking prune juice.
In the Independent, Grace Dent confesses that she agrees “with Jeremy Corbyn about the toxic after-work drinks culture,” but adds that she can’t fathom how his proposal would work in practice. “The Labour leader is suggesting a ban on sexist after-work drinking,” Dent writes.
But how on earth do we police that? Ask landlords to cease serving any gang of four or more men with slightly unloosened ties, seeking to fraternise in a manner which upholds the patriarchy? Should all after-work groups, by law, contain at least two women or at least one gender fluid person identifying as female? Should all men simply be instructed by law to go home at 5.30pm and spend time with their children?
Dent is asking this rhetorically. But this, remember, is Jeremy Corbyn we’re talking about here, and for Jeremy Corbyn it is always, always 1945. How long can it be before Corbyn slips the surly bonds of parody and announces that, in order to regulate the private drinking habits of off-the-clock private-sector workers, he intends to nationalize all of the pubs? Or, at the very least, that a Corbyn administration would issue beverage-limiting ration cards to all Britons?
In politics, understanding is imperative. In debate, it is critical. But there are limits to the comprehensive capacities of even the most open-minded among us, and Jeremy Corbyn pushes up against them with such regularity these days that it is difficult for one to know where to start when pushing back. How is one to have a serious conversation with a man who thinks that it is his business what people do after work? How does one compromise with a figure who spends his days meditating upon the cosmic unfairness of evening trips to the pub? And how delicate can one be in responding? The English are a calm people, all told; perhaps the least likely of all within the Anglosphere to pick up a pitchfork and run. But I will tell you this: Any politician who seeks to stand between the 9-5 class and its 6 o’clock pint of ale will soon find his head on a spike.