Bill Bailey on Labour ‘shambles’: How Strictly star forewarned Corbyn was wrong man

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This weekend, the comedian, 55, will battle it out for a place in the Strictly Come Dancing finals, alongside his partner Oti Mabuse. Bailey has surprised fans of the BBC talent contest with his slick moves on the dancefloor. But away from reality TV, the star opened up about political beliefs and gave staunch warnings about the future of the Labour Party. 

Despite being a lifelong Labour supporter, Bailey admitted it was “very depressing” to see divisions form within the party. 

He expressed concern over promises from different leaders about their hopes “to unify” Labour ranks and the nation.

Bailey described the party as “a shambles” and felt that not even comedy brought relief to the situation.

He said: “You can’t satirise something where you have two candidates who are both the unity candidates.

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“‘I’m going to unify!’ ‘No, I’m going to unify!’ – politically, we’re in a state of freefall.”

The comedian’s concerns came to light before Sir Keir Starmer took over as leader of the opposition in April, when Mr Corbyn was at the helm.

Bailey admitted that “initially” he liked the hardline policies of Mr Corbyn before his opinion changed.

He said: “I liked a lot of what he says – he was a man of principles. I thought it was turning a new page in Labour and a way of uniting people. 

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“But the ­reality is, in a modern political party, you have to be nimble, astute [and] able to react to things.”

Bailey concluded that he didn’t think Mr Corbyn was “that sort of politician”, in a 2016 iNews article.

The comedian, who situated himself on the political left, grew tired of the former leader – despite voicing support for him taking over the party in 2015. 

His frustration grew from the disparity between local and party politics – the latter of which he didn’t enjoy because of the theatrics involved.

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Bailey described national politics as “some sort of parlour game, another realm, another sphere”.

During his twenties, the star flirted with politics when he performed in a play for the Workers Revolutionary Party but never joined the group. 

Bailey said: “I was never a very big fan of party politics.”

He believed that the majority of the public were focused on local issues rather than the fanfare of national politics.

Bailey said: “Britain is generally quite a moderate, tolerant, conservative with a small ‘c’ kind of country. 

“People just want the roads fixed and the bins collected. All this other stuff seems to be a monumental waste of everyone’s time.”

In 2018, Bailey told The Times that Labour had found themselves in “some sort of boring, needless, self-destructive vortex”.

He continued: “And the Conservative Party, always the party of prudence, is riven on Europe – as they have been for decades. 

“You wouldn’t trust them to run a sandwich stall.” 

Bill Bailey will appear in the Strictly Come Dancing semi-finals, which airs this at 7pm on Saturday and 7.30pm on Sunday, on BBC One.

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