katie gibbs

Inside Jeremy Corbyn's camp at Glastonbury

Scene One

Worthy Farm, April 4. Michael Eavis and his daughter Emily are in the kitchen, Emily dangling her third child on her knee.

Emily: So we’ve got Radiohead, Foo Fighters, Katy Perry, Barry Gibb and Ed Sheeran as part of a perfect spread for ordinary, young, working-class music fans who can afford £238 for a ticket plus the cost of transport, organic falafel, reiki sessions, spare toilet rolls and the glamping tent they’ll just abandon…

Michael: (stroking strange beard) Great, great, but I feel there’s something missing… it’s the 47th Glastonbury, we’re not doing it in 2018, and relocating in 2019. We should do something totally nuts and unexpected!

Enter Billy Bragg.

Bragg: Great news! I’ve asked Jeremy Corbyn to appear on the Pyramid stage on behalf of CND!

Michael: A beardy, has-been Seventies throwback at Glastonbury? As well as Barry Gibb? I like it! But a politician at Glastonbury…?

Emily: Actually, Dad, Ed Balls, Yvette Cooper and Tom Watson are all coming too: their people have asked if they can be in the muddiest field, as far away from the showers as possible, in case they get papped.

Bragg:(sadly) They probably want a break from the forthcoming months of Labour infighting and schisms, possibly leading to the implosion of the party I love. After all, there’s not going to be a general election or anything…

Scene Two

Worthy Farm, April 18. The Eavises and Billy Bragg are watching Theresa May announce the snap election.

All: Holy sh*t!!!

Scene Three

The small hours of June 9. A split screen shows Jeremy Corbyn, Tom Watson, and Yvette Cooper and Ed Balls as the election results come in.

All: Holy sh*t!!!

Scene Four

Saturday, June 23. Katy Perry sings “I kissed a girl…” and holds out her microphone to the audience, who respond “Oooh, Je-re-my Cor-byn”. Meanwhile, Corbyn and John McDonnell are in the wings of the Pyramid stage discussing Corbyn’s set-list.

Corbyn: A strong statement about Trident?

McDonnell: NO!

Corbyn: A point-by-point rebuttal of accusations that Labour is anti-Semitic?

McDonnell: NO!

Corbyn: A detailed and careful explanation of my personal position on Brexit?

McDonnell: Jesus Christ, NO!!!

Corbyn: Well, apart from the jam recipe, that just leaves me with poetic quotations adapted to fit my political agenda. How about “I wandered lonely as a radical socialist candidate in a centrist party…”

McDonnell: Too personal…

Corbyn: “May is the cruellest month…?”

McDonnell: Too obscure…

Corbyn: Shelley’s “Ye are many, they are few”?

McDonnell: Bingo! You’re on! (pushes Corbyn onto stage).

Corbyn: (stumbling onstage) Hello Glastonbury! Are you ready to make some noise!?! And are you ready to work with me to build a fairer society than the one that the neo-liberal elites have erected to favour the richest one per cent and renationalise the railways and the utility companies and by the way change policy in the Middle East and while we are talking about Northern Ireland…

(Continues for 15 minutes to shouts of “Yes!” “Maybe!” “Whatever!” “God, Pandora, I’m toootally out of it!” “Smash the cistern!” “Smash the Portaloos!” “When’s Stormzy on?” “Yah, I’m totally going to canvass for Labour when I get back from my gap yah in Bali before uni” etc…)

Scene Five

John McDonnell watches from the wings and monitors TV coverage.

McDonnell: Outrageous! The Tory mainstream BBC is only reporting that Comrade Jez drew a bigger crowd than Radiohead, rather than reporting this as the biggest political gathering since Tiananmen Square.

Scene Six

Nigel Farage is watching Corbyn’s appearance in his bachelor flat.

Farage: Outrageous! How dare the commie Remainiac BBC devote so much airtime to the Stalinist rantings of the leader of the second-largest party in the Commons, when an unelected demagogue like me has only been on Question Time 37 times in the past year!!

Scene Seven

Ken Livingstone and his wife are watching Corbyn’s appearance in their Kilburn living room.

Livingstone: You know who else had this kind of charisma at large rallies… Hitl…

Mrs Livingstone: DON’T SAY IT!!

Livingstone: … actually, it was Lenin.

Scene Eight

The Cabinet Room at 10 Downing Street, aka “the bunker”: Corbyn’s speech is playing on a muted television. Theresa May is pacing angrily up and down. Philip Hammond, Andrea Leadsom, David Davis and Boris Johnson are all looking at the ceiling.

May: What is this “Gladstone-bury” festival? Why was I not informed about it? Who are Michael and Emily Eavis? The Axis of Eavis? Why was I sent on The One Show to talk about boy jobs and girl jobs by my stupid and now totally discredited advisers Nick Timothy and Fiona Hill instead of (reads from card) “dubbing some sick beats with Frank Ocean at Lovebox”, which my new advisers tell me is a totally groovy thing to say which will help me connect with those people who look a bit like my constituents only 40 years younger and a good deal scruffier? (Turns and glares at Leadsom). Andrea! As leader of the House of Commons, it is your patriotic duty to tell the organisers of the Creamfields festival that it is their patriotic duty to give Iain Duncan Smith equal time on the decks to Deadmau5 and Chase and Status. We want a strong and stable playlist. STRONG AND STABLE…. SSSTRNG AND SSSTXGLB… (Smoke issues from May’s ears: Leadsom gulps and leaves).

Scene Nine

Saturday evening. Radio 2’s Jo Whiley is interviewing festivalgoers Hermione and Joshua after Corbyn’s appearance.

Joshua: He’s, like, got the common touch, and totally understands young people and our concerns about, like, tuition fees?

Hermione: Plus, his name fits the White Stripes song? Like, “Oh Je-re-my Cor-Byn”? None of the Tory names, like, fit? Apart from “Oh, An-dre-a Lead-som”… I’m just, like, saying…

Joshua: And, like, JC is a totally “woke” vegetarian and this is the most vegan-friendly festival, like, ever…

Hermione: Um, babe, you do know this is, like, a dairy farm…?

Scene Ten

Sunday, 10am. Tom Watson takes to the Acoustic stage in front of a frankly bleary crowd.

Watson: Hello comrades! And also people who voted Tory and Ukip and fancy a walk on the socially inclusive side (waggles glasses à la Eric Morecambe). They say that, as deputy leader of the Labour Party, you only get noticed at Glastonbury twice. First, when you get a phone call about a leadership coup in 2016 and have to rush back to London. And second, when there is a massive popular groundswell in favour of a Leftist leader who has rejuvenated the party but who you hope will eventually make way for younger, more moderate voices. As John Lennon put it (sings): “You say you want a revolution, well, you know, we all want to change the world…”

Scene Eleven

Sunday, 10pm. Ed Balls and Yvette Cooper have been in the queue for the showers for 36 hours.

Ed: Sorry, love, we’ve missed everything…. Chairman Jez, Laura Marling, Jools Holland, Charli XCX… it’s been a washout

Yvette: I wouldn’t say that, love! I’ve been debating with ordinary, honest, hard-working young people who can all afford £238 for a ticket, whether Major Lazer is better than Rag ’n’ Bone Man, and whether Barry Gibb represents a dynamic new trend in music. Perfect practice for the next election. Glastonbury’s one-year hiatus and subsequent relocation will give us the chance to return, in 2019 or 2020, in triumph.

Ed: Gangnam Style!

Ed and Yvette do the “Gangnam style” horse-riding mime, much to the bemusement of the rest of the queue for the showers…

@nickcurtis