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The Disrupter Has Landed

17/09/2015 08:57 BST | Updated 16/09/2016 10:12 BST
David Holt London/Flickr

I came away from Jeremy Corbyn's first PMQs as Leader of the Opposition (!) with three things:

One: that this guy right now is a genuine Disrupter, a "black swan"; literally "out of left field". With a yellow tie (some say "mustard"; others, "champagne coloured") and a suit that looked like it belonged to somebody else, Corbyn, now one of the most famous 60-somethings on the planet, made his debut. He came with an excellent defence tactic: he didn't do the "follow-up", full of "got 'cha" possibilities for Cameron and sketch fodder for the hacks.

The second thing was that, for the first time ever, I actually felt sorry for David Cameron and George Osborne. They looked like City Boys just back from lunch, suddenly facing their old university prof.

And the third thing: the press was there, too. Very much offscreen.

Let's wait and see, shall we?" Corbyn murmured patiently more than once to BBC Political Editor Laura Kuenssberg every time she tried to score a scoop in an interview with him.

The Shadow Chancellor, John McDonnell, is alleged to have once said: "A guy rang me saying that he was a journalist from The Sun. I said: you can be one or the other. But you can't be both". Corbyn has literally run away from that paper and the press in general. Whether this is smart or not remains to be seen. But with newspaper circulation in decline, this might be another example of how Corbyn is becoming the embodiment of a disruption bubbling not far below the surface of some of the body politic.

Cameron answered each of the Leader of the Opposition's six allotted questions with a blast of post-election bombast. Yet in spite of the smokescreen, Corbyn revealed this: David Cameron - in politics anyway - is lucky. Damn lucky.

You can't make his kind of luck happen, you just have to be positioned to take advantage of it. You can't buy it, either. But you can hire a guy like the election guru Lynton Crosby to bottle it and bring all of his skills together to utilize it.

That's been winning so far, but at this first PMQs after the summer recess, Cam had to play his opponent's game. And it's starting to happen outside of the Chamber, too. "People's PMQs" may have seemed like a phone-in, but that's the Disruption of it: it's actually The People talking. "People's PMQs" could give a real boost to regional newspapers and radio stations as local questioners become mini-celebs for a day.

An intelligent man, David Cameron cannot help but notice that the Conservative Party's opéra bouffe of the last few months is well and truly over. There is indeed a new electorate out there, eager for a new direction. If this New Electorate can become campaigners and members of the Labour; get out and knock on doors and bring other people in, "be more than a FB "like" - Billy Bragg) then at GE2020 the Party can flip the script.

Just as America has become the country where the first "selfie" political candidate - Donald Trump - has emerged, we here in the UK are experiencing a new paradigm, too. I'll call it: "Real".

It has begun - as always - with the young.

A "zero hour contract" reality; seven professions in a working life; eternal debt; possible no home ownership, all of these factors are very real for a generation that will not only be long-lived, but the ultimate carers of an ageing population growing larger by the year.

After the winter snows melt, and the first flowers of spring push through the soil, Jeremy Corbyn may be gone. But the Disrupter has made his mark.

There is no turning back.