In the old days, Tom Watson used to attend Jeremy Corbyn’s Christmas drinks for hacks — and even offer a speech of his own. However, in a sign that relations between the Labour leader and his deputy may not be so tickety-boo, the pair held separate bashes this year.
As Watson thanked hacks for their work this year — praising the Times‘s trouser-gate headlines and heralding ever closer relations with the Mail on Sunday — he couldn’t resist taking a few swipes at his boss in the speech:
‘I do know that many of you were at Jeremy’s event last night and I hear that it was genuinely a sumptuous affair, so — as you can see — out of the loyalty to the twice-elected leader of the Labour party, we’ve made a point in ensuring tonight isn’t anywhere near as good.’
Those of you who were there last night will have heard Jeremy explain that there weren’t any seats to sit on because the event was sponsored by Virgin Trains but I’m delighted to say that Virgin have agreed to sponsor tonight’s event — if you do need a seat, there are plenty at the back of the room, if you just make the effort to look.
As you know, it’s been a year of turbulence for the political system but also great change in the newspaper industry. You may remember when broadsheets went tabloid and all those media correspondents said they’d go down market. Well I’ve never got that, and I was right, take the Times headline today about Tories gathering to back the Prime Minister over her £1,000 trousers — well I don’t subscribe to the view that our new PM is all mouth and very expensive trousers but at least when we fight in the Labour party, it’s about the proper stuff — we like a proper row.
Theresa May this year has distinguished herself by creating new acronyms. She brought into the english language the phrase JAMs. Now whatever you say about Jeremy — and usually you do say it — he does spend more time working on his jams than she ever did.’
Mr S suspects that it will be a case of separate bashes from now on.