Jeremy Corbyn is not having a very good day. Running over a BBC cameraman's leg is not usually the sort of voter friendly PR which helps political campaigns, although I doubt very much the BBC will cover it much. It's all rush, rush, rush to get to the next photo op in front of a group of mannequins holding placards as veteran Rob Gray discovered yesterday in York. Mr Gray shouted a question to Corbyn who was on stage outside. Mr Gray wanted to know what Corbyns position was on the pursuit and possible prosecution of Northern Ireland veterans. Mr Corbyn said he would come down and speak to Mr Gray. Instead he hurried off in the opposite direction while Mr Gray's path was blocked by a minder.
This kind of antiseptic and choreographed campaigning is endemic in British politics. It wasn't always so. There was a time when politicians were expected to prove themselves in front of their voters, when unrehearsed heckling and questioning was part of the game and politicians were expected to show a little more grit. The last time we saw such an exercise was Labour's Jim Murphy in 2014 when he did his 'No,' 100 towns in 100 days tour throughout Scotland. Before then? Well, you perhaps have to go back quite a while. I accept that politicians then did not have to face 24 hour news or any small verbal indescretion instantly being pinged around the world but the current state of affairs lacks balance. This piece from Newsnight from a couple of years ago adequately sums up where we are and where we have come from,