Corbyn spoke as if an election is months away

By Jon Craig, chief political correspondent, in Liverpool
The musical finale to Labour's conference began with You'll Never Walk Alone and ended with Children Of The Revolution.
Although it was made famous by Liverpool's Gerry and the Pacemakers in 1963, You'll Never Walk Alone was actually written by Rodgers and Hammerstein for the musical Carousel in 1945.That was the year Labour's Clement Attlee swept to power in the general election after the Second World War and embarked on programme of nationalisation and creating the welfare state.Jeremy Corbyn's end-of-conference speech here in Liverpool was full of plans for Attlee-style nationalisation and social reform.And earlier in the week, 86-year-old Dennis Skinner, one of few MPs who was around in 1945, told delegates: "Wouldn't it be wonderful to get somebody to mirror what happened in 1945?"

[img]" alt="Sign up to leaders' debate campaign" class="sdc-article-strapline__image">
Sign up to leaders' debate campaign
Sky News is calling for an Independent Leaders' Debate Commission to oversee and organise election debates

Children Of The Revolution, a 1972 hit for T. Rex - no jokes about the Labour leader being an old dinosaur, please! - is an apt description of many of the delegates attending this conference: young, left-wing and clamouring for a socialist revolution under Mr Corbyn.And to listen to Mr Corbyn - and his closest ally John McDonnell earlier this week - you'd think Labour's red revolution was just round the corner and a general election was imminent.Their speeches sounded like those of an opposition leader and shadow chancellor when it's known that an election is only months away.
'No deal' would be national disaster - Corbyn
Mr Corbyn received no fewer than 10 standing ovations during and at the end of his speech.But the biggest was when he said Labour would press for a general election and called on Theresa May and the Tories to make way for Labour.Yet in fringe meetings during the week, most Labour backbenchers who spoke injected a dose of realism and were highly sceptical about the likelihood of an early election, predicting - rightly, surely - that the Tories are not going to risk giving up power by going to the polls.The other really big standing ovation Mr Corbyn won was when he said Labour would "recognise a Palestinian state as soon as we take office".Again, as there was during the foreign affairs debate 24 hours earlier, there was waving of Palestinian flags by delegates in the hall.

Shadow business secretary: 'We've ruled nothing out'
Mr Corbyn had a good passage in his speech on antisemitism, admitting this summer's row had "caused immense hurt and anxiety in the Jewish community and great dismay in the Labour Party".But critics will say his reassuring words to the Jewish community - "We are your ally" - should have been said months ago.Having said that, this was probably Mr Corbyn's best speech as Labour leader - less rambling than some and delivered in a conversational tone with contrasts in pitch and delivery that suggested he'd had some coaching.His Brexit passage was deftly executed too, especially his offer to "reach out to the prime minister" and back the Tories if they get a good deal; but to vote against an agreement with the EU if they don't.And one of the smartest lines in Mr Corbyn's hour-long speech was when he attacked Tory eurosceptics like Jacob Rees-Mogg, who was loudly booed by Labour delegates in true pantomime villain style."The Tory Brexiteers unite the politics of the 1950s with the economics of the 19th century, daydreaming about a Britannia that both rules the waves and waives the rules," he said. Nice line.Brexit has been a muddle and a struggle for Mr Corbyn and the Labour leadership this week.
Corbyn spoke as if an election is months away

Watch Jeremy Corbyn's Labour conference speech in full
First a group of party fixers spent six hours, meeting long into the night to agree on the wording of the motion to be debated and voted on by the conference.
See also:
Leave a comment
  • Latest
  • Read
  • Commented
Calendar Content
«    Август 2020    »