I've always felt Corbyn is maligned by the mainstream media, so I went to this - to hear him speak in a non-confrontational setting. What I learned is that he is flat, uninspiring, repetitive, dreary, inarticulate and vague. Bitterly disappointing and enraging.
In response to almost every question, the needle fell into the same groove about inequality. No vision or broad view of complex issues. He claimed to be anti-Brexit, but I got the feeling he would have said the opposite if the event had been in Sunderland.
His longest and most engaged answer was to an audience question about 70s leftists in Chile. I hoped to find a Corbyn who would contradict the parodies of him. I left with all my worst fears confirmed. This is a country without an opposition.
A university student asked him for a list of books that would inspire her politically. He rambled on (again) about inequality and failed to name a single book.
I honestly don't know why so much effort and ingenuity has gone into smearing him, when the best way to make the guy look bad is just to hand him a microphone.
The pro-Corbyn response to this thread seems to be, "Yes, but charisma doesn't matter."
A book festival dialogue with a sympathetic left wing economist isn't about charisma. It's about ideas. This is why his failure in this setting is so depressing.