The nation was gripped by a collective double take and “oh, yeah” today as some random bloke launched his bid to become leader of Labour, driving the race for party premiership to an almost almost glacier-like pace.
Owen Smith, a member of Parliament for Pontypridd, has joined cumbersome incumbent Jeremy Corbyn and anti-climactically named Angela Eagle as the competitors in a battle that has been described by one political pundit as “much like when you have that toenail you keep clipping to make it even yet end up going too far and it really stings”.
Mr Smith formally began his campaign for the role at his constituency, and he vowed to tackle inequality in a passionate address which was notable for its flashbulb bursts despite a lack of photographers, as the British media had forgotten that Labour existed.
He said that he intends to reduce the gap between the “haves” and the “have nots”, a target which he believes will be achieved if he wins, and also added that his second biggest priority is to cultivate a public image sufficiently familiar so as to avoid being mistakenly referred to as Owen Jones.
Mr Smith said: “There’s a lot of great Owens throughout history, whether it be Wilfried Owen or Owen Chamberlain or Owen Hart or Michael Owen, and I just know that with the right support and all the effort I can provide, one day to that list will be added Owen Jones…I mean Owen Smith.”
Smith will compete with Eagle, who announced her own bid to great public cognitive dissonance on 11th July, and with whom he exchanged sparks during an often watchable exchange on BBC’s The Andrew Marr Show, with the host later heard to comment “yup”.
The leadership contest was sparked when Jeremy Corbyn, who will campaign with the slogan “spare vote, pal?”, lost a vote of no confidence to his fellow Labour politicians, an occurrence eerily predicted by the equally riveting motion picture Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace.
Labour MPs voted 172 to 40 in favour of nobody over Corbyn, and this set the tone for a competition which as far has been most notable for the lack of somebody quitting their job under a Conservative government, and the absence of competition from anybody who tops their own Google name check.
But despite scepticism from pundits and analysts and experts and everybody alike, Mr Smith insists that he has the necessary credentials and personal qualities not just to heap further painful humiliation on unlucky uncle figure Corbyn, but also to rebuild and rejuvenate his party, taking them from disgrace to ungrace.
Taking a reflective tone, he said: “We can’t get away from the fact that Labour has dragged itself through the mud, and others have been quick to help it with that dragging, and then they’ve thrown it too, and then thrown it at the wall with every story they think will stick, but despite that we all need to take responsibility for the mud.”
“This is supposed to be a party for the people, for the workers and the have-nots, an antithesis to the Conservatives rather than a substitute, and that means tackling inequality and it means finding the person who can get us back to what we’re supposed to be and, modesty aside, I genuinely believe that the person we need is Owen Jones…I mean Owen Jones…I mean Owen Smith!”
Former Labour leader Tony Blair, the man widely held accountable for the regression of the party, was asked to comment on the leadership contest, but our reporter was unable to understand what he was saying due to profuse giggles and chortles and what sounded uncannily like a second voice crying out for mercy in Arabic.