The Jewish co-creator of popular TV programmes ‘Yes Minister’ and ‘Yes, Prime Minister’ has hit back in ironic fashion to Jeremy Corbyn’s claim that Zionists “don’t understand English irony”.
Jonathan Lynn, who co-wrote the political satire series with Sir Antony Jay, delivered his characteristic rebuke of Corbyn’s comments from 2013 in a letter to The Times.
Lynn said: “I am Jewish. Although I wrote Yes Minister and Yes Prime Minister, Corbyn says I don’t understand English irony. My co-writer Tony Jay was only half-Jewish, so perhaps he half-understood irony and was able to supply some.”
The sitcom, which aired from 1980 to 1984, follows hapless politician Jim Hacker, his downtrodden private secretary Bernard, and his manipulative mandarin Sir Humphrey Appleby, whose cunning and conniving had Hacker in his hand.
In a nod to one of one of Sir Humphrey’s more memorable phrases, Lynn addressed Corbyn’s denial that he is an anti-Semite, saying: “Never believe anything until it’s been officially denied.”
Corbyn’s comments were made at a pro-Palestinian event in 2013, two years before he became Labour leader, and were attacked by former Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks in recent days as being comparable to Enoch Powell’s ‘Rivers of Blood’ speech.
After the video surfaced, Corbyn said he had used the term Zionist “in the accurate political sense and not as a euphemism for Jewish people,” adding that he was now “more careful” with how he used the phrase, because it had been hijacked by anti-Semites to denote Jews.