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How A Jeremy Corbyn Parody Account Took Over Political Twitter

"It was just so blank and earnest and humorous."

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It's all part of the emergence of Jeremy Corbyn as one of the two leading candidates in the Labour leadership race. As people spend the quiet summer news period coming to terms with the unexpected prominence of an unvarnished politician who squirms when told women find him attractive and recommends where to buy vests from London market stalls, there's a desire to know a little bit more about a man who could easily be leading the official opposition in just six weeks' time.

Into this void stepped an account started by London copywriter Jason Sinclair and @MrKenShabby last week in response to Corbyn choosing John Lennon's "Imagine" as his favourite song.

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“I saw the piece where the leadership candidates were talking to Iain Dale about what song they would use for their campaign," Sinclair told BuzzFeed News. "Corbyn just leant forward and said, ‘I would use "Imagine" because it’s a wonderful piece of music and a wonderful piece of poetry.’

"It was just so blank and earnest and humorous, I thought, 'That’s just ridiculous.'"

"I posted that Jeremy Corbyn has never said a joke since 1964 and started riffing Corbyn jokes and started the account."

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Sinclair sees Corbyn as a pleasingly earnest reminder of a different age who would probably be baffled by the account.

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“He's such a throwback, even including how he dresses with his cap," he said. "He’s there to have fun made out of and you wouldn’t expect him to be aware that he’s been made fun of. He probably wouldn’t know and wouldn’t care."

Sinclair, who described himself as a Labour supporter, said the account works because it touches on serious issues.

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"If you look at the jokes, while they take the piss out of his demeanour and seriousness, most of the punchlines are about his issues," he said. "They’re satires on what’s happening in the country and ways in which Corbyn might actually have a point."

Some people have been attracted to Corbyn's policies by the punchlines in the jokes, Sinclair said.

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"Though there are others who think it’s written by a Daily Mail intern in an attempt to discredit our great Jeremy," he added.

But the reaction to the account has also given him an insight into the nascent "Corbynite" movement of online activists pushing the leadership candidates onwards.

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"Even among the Corbynites it seems very factional," said Sinclair, who says he'll probably vote for Yvette Cooper in the leadership election. "It's a bit People’s Front of Judea, a little window into how the future under Jeremy might be and how [his support] might splinter."

But more than anything, he just wants to know if the left-wing MP has heard of the account. Or can tell a joke.

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"I’ve had nothing from Team Corbyn," said Sinclair.

Jim Waterson is a politics editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

Contact Jim Waterson at jim.waterson@buzzfeed.com.

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