The plot thickens: what does Corbyn’s allotment say about his politics?

4 Jun

Photographs of Jeremy Corbyn’s allotment, which helps him achieve his calm “Monsieur Zen” demeanour, have been publicised for the first time. But what do Jez’s veggies tell us about his politics? As a Westminster journalist and a fellow allotmenteer, I endeavoured to carry out my own leek inquiry.

Corbyn’s allotment, in East Finchley, north London, has a gentle slope and open aspect, perfect for vegetable and fruit growing. It looks like an idyllic place to get away from election din. For someone criticised for being scruffy, the Labour leader keeps his paths surprisingly well strimmed. But does that road lead to Downing Street?

Jeremy Corbyn's allotment



Photograph: SWNS.com

The Labour leader looks as if he is growing potatoes and leeks and has an established bed of irises. But what is under that blue tarpaulin? Is it his collection of decorative manhole covers? Copies of the first draft of his manifesto? I suspect this is a compost heap. He should leave it exposed to the air, or he will end up with a hot mess on the scale of Theresa May’s election campaign.

Jeremy Corbyn's allotment



Photograph: SWNS.com

So now we know Corbyn’s plot number: 33. Does this signify Labour’s vote share on 8 June? The flowering shrub on the right looks like a weigela – but it might be what Amber Rudd would call an Arbor divitiarum generandis, or magic money tree.

Jeremy Corbyn's allotment



Photograph: SWNS.com

As an experienced allotmenteer, Corbyn knows that keeping one or two neat, well-weeded beds of crops ticking over during busy times is a good strategy. He’s growing what looks like a large amount of sweetcorn which, if he becomes prime minister, he could share out among EU leaders to sweeten Brexit talks. On the right, is a blackberry bush coming into bud, which the Labour leader uses to make his famous apple and blackberry jam.

Jeremy Corbyn's allotment



Photograph: SWNS.com

Given the pressures of fighting an election campaign in the middle of the growing season, it’s understandable that Corbyn has let some weeds take over. I can see an artichoke in the middle of the picture – these perennial veg need little attention, making them perfect for busy people. I’m worried about his redcurrant bush, in the foreground, which he hasn’t netted properly against birds and squirrels. There’s nothing worse than discovering what you thought would be a bountiful red crop vanishing in the middle of a June night.

Jane Merrick’s allotment blog is at heroutdoors.uk

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