UK's former Labour leader snapped playing Thatcher-slaying Doom mod

Thatcher's Techbase.
(Image credit: Jim Purvis)

Jeremy Corbyn, the former leader of the UK's Labour party and two-time candidate for Prime Minister, has been pictured enjoying a game of Thatcher's Techbase in Liverpool (thanks, Indy100). Thatcher's Techbase is a Doom II mod where the late Margaret Thatcher returns to the tenth circle of hell, i.e. the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and the player sets out to make sure that this time 'CyberThatcher' stays dead.

Doubtless the current Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer will be delighted to discover that Corbyn's been digitally blasting away at a dead Tory Prime Minister. There isn't even any ambiguity about it, one picture shows him staring at the screen with hands on the controls, and in the second it looks like he's… dabbing?

The Thatcher's Techbase cabinet made its debut at The World Transformed festival, and was built by Thatcher's Techbase creator Jim Purvis to support the tenants' rights organisation Living Rent. Alongside the pictures of Corbyn, Purvis noted that "he liked the game" with a smile emoji.

UK politics has been something of a clown show for the last decade and yet even so this is one of the wildest things to happen in some time. Jeremy Corbyn was Labour leader from 2015-2020, during which time the party was in opposition, and was loved by elements of the left for exactly the same reason that the right hated him.

Corbyn's a dyed-in-the-wool socialist leftie, the type of politician who attends picket lines (and radical festivals like this), and he has a knack for saying things that make more centrist voters baulk. A British Bernie Sanders with an allotment. Ultimately the Labour party under his leadership was an electoral failure, and this can be attributed partly to Corbyn's disastrous relationship with the media: he seems a nice enough guy but they monstered him, and he certainly gave them the material to do it with.

Jeremy Corbyn now sits as an independent MP, amidst an ongoing disagreement with the parliamentary Labour party, and so there's an element of this which is just him saying 'screw it, why not shoot Thatcher in a game'—it's not like he's worried about the next general election. It should also be said that this is, fundamentally, pretty funny: we're talking about an old socialist playing a Doom II mod starring CyberThatcher.

Nevertheless, if you're outside the UK, here's why this could well turn into a shitstorm. Margaret Thatcher is a figure reviled by elements of the UK, for reasons way too numerous to go into here, and conversely idolised by her own side as the Iron Lady of British politics. Jeremy Corbyn is meanwhile something of a boogeyman for right-leaning Brits, and a Captain Planet-esque idol for the socialist left.

There's a good portion of British society that already has a distaste for Jeremy Corbyn, which is why Labour now positions itself at a discreet distance from someone who was until very recently the party's leader. No doubt some in Labour HQ are now thanking their lucky stars, because this is a far-left hero digitally blasting a dead rightwing Prime Minister in a videogame called Doom, and you don't need me to tell you how some media will spin that. It'll be something to watch anyway: meanwhile, why not have a go on Thatcher's Techbase yourself.

Rich Stanton

Rich is a games journalist with 15 years' experience, beginning his career on Edge magazine before working for a wide range of outlets, including Ars Technica, Eurogamer, GamesRadar+, Gamespot, the Guardian, IGN, the New Statesman, Polygon, and Vice. He was the editor of Kotaku UK, the UK arm of Kotaku, for three years before joining PC Gamer. He is the author of a Brief History of Video Games, a full history of the medium, which the Midwest Book Review described as "[a] must-read for serious minded game historians and curious video game connoisseurs alike."