"You may say that I am a dreamer/But I am not the only one" John Lennon: "Imagine"

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Thursday, 25 February 2016

Westminster 'uniform'



There was an unpleasant little exchange between David Cameron & Jeremy Corbyn in PMQs in the House of Commons yesterday, when the former lambasted the latter about his choice of apparel. [To see a video of this via the BBC please click here]

Jeremy Corbyn suggested what one is working for [he cited the NHS] is more important than what one is wearing. I happen to agree with him. In this respect Jeremy Corbyn is reminscent of Keir Hardie, first Labour MP, who was also jeered at for his apparel in Westminster:
On taking his seat on 3 August 1892 Hardie refused to wear the "parliamentary uniform" of black frock coat, black silk top hat and starched wing collar that other working class MPs wore. Instead, Hardie wore a plain tweed suit, a red tie and a deerstalker. Although the deerstalker hat was the correct and matching apparel for his suit, he was nevertheless lambasted in the press, and was accused of wearing a flat cap, headgear associated with the common working man – "cloth cap in Parliament". [Wikipedia]

I have been on demos which Corbyn has also attended and yes he wears 'ordinary' clothes. As one of the organisers of some of these demos and therefore responsible for inviting Mr Corbyn and other MPs to these occasions, I can confirm that he will often turn up to such demos to support unobstrusively and not self advertise. I have tremendous respect for him - whatever he is wearing!

Margaret Thatcher was legendary in her care for her clothes, make-up and hair. Not a problem. We do what we think important to ourselves. My only basis for judgement is that a person is clean and decent. Everything else is personal choice, surely?

Corbyn and I are of an age. I probably wear clothes which others think are inappropriate for my age and status, I don't really know. I have promised my podiatrist I will try to wear shoes more often - especially when gardening - after last year's poisoned foot. I hope I don't get judged by what I wear although my new neighours, when I move in the coming weeks, will probably have to get used to me appearing in my plaid pyjamas first thing in the morning but they are respectable and cover me up!

So, please, can we keep to important things in PMQs like what is going on in the economy and how to settle the junior doctors' strike? Looking at the picture of the two protagonists in the tiff yesterday, does it really matter who wears what? They both look OK to me!

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