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The Big House... From the Inside

24/09/2015 11:24 BST | Updated 23/09/2016 10:12 BST

A Corbynite column this week - and no apologies. Jeremy Corbyn's election is an extremely significant event, for the Labour party of course, for the politics of the House of Commons and definitely also for the politics of Wales.

I will be discussing this in more detail over the next few weeks. But for now here are a few thoughts, more on the flim-flam of it all than the substance ....

The first big test for Jeremy Corbyn was Prime Minister's Question Time, and never has there been such a contrast between two leaders. Cameron looking sleek and smart; Corbyn in his usual art teacher mode.

My impression was that Corbyn got most from this (irrespective of the nature of the questions, and the answers). Cameron was once described as endless surface upon surface, with no substance beyond. Corbyn is all substance - decades worth of it.

It's no effort for Corbyn to stay true to himself. However the task for Cameron is harder. He's for ever adjusting his presentation to suit the audience or subject. But I can't see him popping into the House in a tweed jacket and differently coloured trousers. It's he, not Corbyn, who has the problem.

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To the surprise of some, the toing and froing between them was quite calm, civil even. But as Corbyn read out this question, as it were, one from Jack, the next from Jill and so on, the Conservative footsoldiers became increasingly fractious. One standing next to me muttered, 'radio phone-in'.

Will Corbyn be able to sustain this style for years? Considering that he has sat through countless long-winded left-wing committees for decades, it's unlikely that the odd half hour will be a problem for him.

And perhaps this won't be a problem for the Prime Minister either, having already announced that he will not be running for a third term (possibly retiring after the referendum on our membership of the European Union) and with Boris and Gideon (and others, who knows) vying to take his place.

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The small newspapers have been in their element since Saturday, delightedly printing old pictures of Jeremy Corbyn standing next to a gallery of (alleged) international baddies.

A picture from 2002 however was a personal shock to me. It showed a large yellow banner outside the Royal Courts of Justice in the Strand proclaiming 'Don't Bomb Iraq'. The occasion was an application for an order that the bombing would be unlawful.

Holding the banner in the centre was the comedian Mark Thomas. On his right was Jeremy Corbyn, in his usual jacket and jumper. And on his left was the Member of Parliament for Caernarfon.

So what therefore, you may ask, was the shock? Definitely not the fact that I was there. Plaid Cymru's Parliamentary Group was very prominent amongst those who opposed the war. Not that Corbyn was there. He was prominent in Stop the War. No, the shock was that 13 long years ago I had hair, and a very full head of hair at that.

'Who is that man?' I asked a young person of my acquaintance. He did not recognise his father. But in fairness he is only two years old.

This column appeared first in Welsh in Y Cymro 18/9/15

Translated by Gwenno Hywel

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