Corbyn billed his party as a government-in-waiting in a confident address. But will it be enough to assuage his critics—and win over voters?by Stephanie Boland / September 27, 2017 / Leave a comment
At 75 minutes, it was a mammoth speech. Conspicuously left-wing and confident, the leader’s address to conference was greeted with multiple standing ovations. During the first few months of this year, some doubted whether the Labour Party would make it to Brighton in one piece. Today, Corbyn seemed triumphant, and the key thread of his speech was of Labour as a government in waiting.
As Isabel Hardman observed over at the Spectator, much of the power of this speech came from capitalising on Tory mistakes. While Corbyn may be singing from the same broad hymn sheet as last year—nationalisation, improved infrastructure, housing, ending austerity—his pitch has undoubtedly improved, although whether it merited a full 75 minutes is debatable.
His description of Grenfell as a “monument” to the “horrible [Conservative] regime” and argument that homes should be “for the many, not speculative investments for the few” will appeal to those increasingly disturbed by the rise of homelessness in Britain—and by the disdain for residents’ safety which allowed the Grenfell tragedy to occur. To quote the Daily Mirror’s Kevin Maguire, “Grenfell standing for a failed and broken political system is another Corbyn attack that resonates because it is true.” His proposal that councils ballot tenants before regenerating estates will also please his unashamedly left-wing base.