Now that really is a question!
His brother started it. But it struck a chord with me. So I feel duty bound to pick up the baton, run with it and I want you to help me over the finishing line.
Jeremy Corbyn’s brother is a weather man. In other words he forecasts the future. With a bit of science and maybe even his finger in the air. Who knows what these meteorological types get up to?
Naturally, as the Labour party leadership battle hots up, Piers Corbyn is questioned about his younger bro. What was he like growing up? Did he kick the cat – you know the sort of thing.
As it turns out while Piers was building weather stations in the Corbyn back yard Jeremy was into racing cars. He loved them apparently. And his big hero is still Sir Stirling Moss.
But Jeremy was never one for formality. Even at school. And Piers can’t remember the last time he saw his sibling wearing a tie.
So the obvious question was put. If JC becomes Labour leader will he get knotted when he’s under intense public scrutiny during Prime Minister’s Questions for example?
After a little thought and you could almost see the pressure front rising over the family familiar eyebrows, Piers declared….no.
So how would this go down? What would be the general reaction to this thumb nose to custom and practice?
What would you think?
Whether or not we like it our opinions of people are formed within milliseconds and usually subliminally. Familiarity, common perception, expectation, these are all factors and feelings that persuade us to think one way or another.
We’re used to seeing our front line male Parliamentarians in a shirt, jacket and tie. It’s just the way things are. It gives them the touch of formality and significance that we demand from a leading member of parliament.
Now those of us who can remember Bucks Fizz winning the Eurovision song contest will recall what happened to the then Labour leader Michael Foot.
And you can make your own mind up over this. But Mr Foot was ridiculed and taken down a peg or three because he appeared at the Cenotaph on Remembrance Sunday 1981 wearing what was described as a donkey jacket. Just how disrespectful was that was the cry?
Incidentally his middle name was Mackintosh. Michael Mackintosh Foot – irony or what?
Anyhow the caricature stayed with him and the image was created that he had no proper decorum or respect. Even one of his own MP’s declared at the time: “I was disgusted to see that the leader of Her Majesty’s Opposition looked more like an Irish navvy than a party leader.”
The reality of course was different. The coat was not a donkey jacket, which would have had leather shoulders for example, but a short blue-green overcoat bought at great expense by Mrs Foot.
And again, according to his official biography, the Queen Mother is even said to have complimented Mr Foot on his choice telling him that it was a “smart, sensible coat for a day like this.”
But whatever the reality the image was established. And Mr Foot’s historical standing now needs more than a firm walking stick.
That’s why Jeremy Corbyn’s simple decision about a tie will be significant.
What do I think? The answer is simple. He has to wear one.
His political opinions are one thing. But if he wants people to listen to what he has to say from the front bench of the House of Commons then he has to look the part. Or the main reaction will be about his dress code and his respect or otherwise for British tradition and duty.
We encourage all of our clients at Media-Vu to appear in public projecting the appropriate image of their business. It feeds confidence. And only then will you stand a chance of getting people to listen to what it is you have to say.