FX: SPOOKY MUSIC (THEREMIN etc). THEN A ROLLING CLAP OF THUNDER AND AN EVIL GHOULISH LAUGH.
CORBYN: Who’s that?
DEVIL: (Oily, sinister, unctuous): Hello Jeremy, surely you must remember me? Even with the rapturous reception your speech received at the Labour Party Conference, you can’t have forgotten our little deal all those years ago?
CORBYN: Oh, hello, Mr Mephistopheles. Or is it Mx Mephistopheles? I wouldn’t want to assume your gender. What can I do for you?
DEVIL: Well, I thought that would be rather obvious Jeremy, what with the ecstatic fervour that your millions of true believers received your rehashed plate of old Marxism, wouldn’t you?
JEREMY: What do you mean?
DEVIL: Well, do you really think you’re on the verge of political power because of your wise and insightful policies?
JEREMY: Indeed, I do. The centre ground has certainly moved leftward.
DEVIL: Oh come off it. When you signed our little contract 30 years ago, you struggled to get more than a handful of vegan communitarians to come and listen to you, let alone have millions seemingly applauding your every word.
JEREMY: It’s just an understandable reaction to decades of Tory misrule and capitalist exploitation.
DEVIL: Okay then, how do you explain everyone seeing you as some kind of affable old uncle, the genial Father Christmas-face of a kinder, gentler politics when you have associated with known terrorists for decades and your Shadow Chancellor, on his first speech in Parliament, referred to the handbook of a totalitarian regime that killed 45 million people? Either one of those things would be a career-killer for most politicians. How do you explain that, if not me looking after your back?
JEREMY: Simply the understandable rejection of traditional, right-wing politics that has been supporting the bankers and the toffs and the 1% for decades.
DEVIL: Okay. Well, how do you explain still being beloved by students even though you promised to pay their tuition fees then immediately said you wouldn’t, once you’d gotten their votes? That ruined Nick Clegg yet you still go from strength to strength. Still think that has nothing to do with our little deal?
JEREMY: Certainly not. The young are fresher in perspective and less brainwashed by the far-right Guardian and BBC than the old.
DEVIL: Alright then. How do you explain the millions of staunch Remainers – hundreds of thousands of them of the kind who are still moaning about it incessantly on Twitter to this very day – resolutely and determinedly voting for you despite you saying that you were pro-Brexit and despite having that pro-Brexit stance printed in black and white in the Labour manifesto? In fact, that one took a Hell of a lot of work to sort out, I can tell you.
JEREMY: The voters merely realised that a radical program of progressive re-nationalisation couldn’t be undertaken whilst within the EU and so chose to modify their views.
DEVIL: Oh come off it! It was our little bargain and you know it! Besides, it doesn’t matter what you say, I’ve come to collect. I’ve come for your soul, Jeremy.
JEREMY: In that case, you can have Diane Abbott’s soul, instead.
DEVIL: Now, now, Jeremy. She seems to be under the impression that she has twelvety souls to give away and you know what it’s like. I don’t have the heart to tell her otherwise.
JEREMY: Well, why don’t you take John McDonnell’s soul?
DEVIL: Now, don’t be silly, Jeremy. You know he doesn’t have a soul.
JEREMY: Well, what about Seamus Milne’s?
DEVIL: Jeremy, we have a deal. You can’t just go around paying your debt with other people’s souls.
JEREMY: Why not? That’s socialism.
DEVIL: No, I have come for your soul, Jeremy.
JEREMY: Okay. Wait a minute.
FX: THE SOUND OF A PEN ON PAPER, SCRIBBLING
JEREMY: There you go.
DEVIL: What’s this? It’s…… (pause). Jeremy, this is a picture of a stick man with the words “Jeremy’s Soul” written above it. (Pause) And you’ve misspelled “soul”.
JEREMY: Well, I do only have an E at A level, you know. Besides, don’t oppress me with your meritocratic judgmentalism.
DEVIL: Jeremy, what does this drawing even mean?
JEREMY: You maintain that I owe you a debt so that is Quantitative Soul-Easing. I have printed my soul and so have printed my way out of debt.
DEVIL: You can’t do this. You can’t just create a soul out of nothing.
JEREMY: John Maynard Keynes would disagree.
DEVIL (angrily): Look! That’s it! We had an agreement – your soul for unlikely, if not impossible success. You can’t get away from this Jeremy; I have come for your soul and to take you to Hell.
JEREMY: Hell, you say?
DEVIL: Yes, Jeremy.
JEREMY: Oh well. I always said I wanted to go to Venezuela…..
FX: FOOTSTEPS RECEDING INTO THE DISTANCE. THEIR VOICES FADE INTO THE DISTANCE, TOO.
JEREMY: A Socialist paradise, I understand.
DEVIL: Jeremy, it’s Hell.
JEREMY: Well, clearly they just haven’t tried the right type of socialism….
FX: A ROLLING CLAP OF THUNDER.
© Mr A 2017
Ed. Originally written for the BBC’s Newsjack but Mr A thought it would have a better chance of publication here. Reference for the above sketch The Guardian view on Corbyn’s speech: his best yet.