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Notes on Jeremy Corbyn, Gardener

I have known Jeremy Corbyn for almost 4 decades. Yearly, each spring, he has tended to my rose garden before Summer sets in. Except this year.

Not Jeremy Corbyn personally, but someone of his type, build, genus. Actually it was a series of them. But I will try to keep it as simple as possible.

I have never had any fundamental problems with Jeremy’s gardening. While I work on my memoirs in my study I have often watched him through the window. I believe he has a right to work in my garden. I take note of any minor faults and politely inform him at a convenient time.

The problem is, while there is nothing wrong with any of the 6 or 7 Jeremys who have worked in my garden, as gardeners, I question whether they would be as well suited to every task. For instance writing memoirs.

I have sat here in my study, for 37 years, my typewriter in front of me, working on my memoirs. I have a clear view of my rose garden, when the roses are in season. My valet, Seamus, brings me my tea, at 9.15, 11.25, 1.05 and 3. My pastry chef, McDonnel, is known for his various choux à la crème.

Each has their place. But are any as fit to write my memoirs? I fear not. Jeremy, at his best, may be able to distinguish a rhododendron from an anecdote, but I fear that’s as far as he’d get. He’d be about as well suited to writing my memoirs as I would arranging the croquembouche.

Its not a question of superiority. It’s a question of being reasonable.

Sometimes, when taking a break from my memoirs, my factotum, Diane, brings me a copy of the Guardian. And there I see reason. I look out to see my roses still there and am comforted. At the Guardian they’re reasonable.

Jonathan Freedland is reasonable. Polly Toynbee is reasonable. Nick Cohen is reasonable. Owen Jones, thank God, is reasonable. (I look forward to reading their memoirs.)

What some people don’t seem to understand, and you would think gardeners of all people would get this, is that you have to be reasonable. Gardens are not reasonable. A garden has to be watched and kept in order. If you let your eye slip away from it for a minute, it creeps up on you. Before you know it plants are covering the window to your study, blocking the light while you’re trying to write your memoirs.

Chapter 1 was hard going, but now I’ve all but completed it, and chapter 2 I plan to begin any day now.

I can’t remember the last time I saw an éclair.

When Jeremy returns next year I won’t bear him any grudges.

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