At Labour’s annual conference in Liverpool, Jeremy Corbyn wowed the crowd. After his astounding re-election, his demeanour was confident, as he talked about the winning power to deliver change and win the next general election, he is predicting, will take place in 2017. This second victory against even his own MPs has consolidated his authority and trashed his detractors; he has the most powerful opposition mandate in 20 years.
He has successfully revamped Labour to resound with ordinary families and attracted 150,000 new young members. Corbyn says more people have joined Labour in the past 20 months than in the past 20 years. Labour now boasts a total of 0.5 million members and is the largest party nationally; Corbyn said this is “a huge democratic resource”.
The disaffected Labour MPs will have to choose whether to support Corbyn on the front bench or break away into a rebel, more moderate, Labour party, along the lines of when Roy Jenkins and David Owen broke away to form the Social Democratic Party (SDP) in 1981; or most unlikely they could carry on claiming that Corbyn is losing his grip and credibility and risk the consequences.
Corbyn pledged support for trade unions that he claimed the Tories have weakened, he warned about respect between party members and members having respect for the Jewish community. He congratulated Sadiq Khan for being the first Muslim mayor of a western city and Bristol mayor Marvin Rees the first black mayor of any European city. He referred to the alternative politics arising out of rampant inequality, plugging his brand of “social justice and progressive change from the bottom up…the old model of politics is broken,” he said. He mocked Theresa May and said her government had a harsh right wing edge; he alluded to her being Prime Minister by default and that he was elected by a 1/3 of a million people. Corbyn said a Labour government would re-nationalise British railways and bring the research and development budget up to 3% of GDP.
Corbyn pledged support for trade unions that he claimed the Tories have weakened, he warned about respect between party members and members having respect for the Jewish community.
The greatest applause came when Corbyn justified apologising for the Iraq war, proclaiming his foreign policy is based on peace, justice and human rights. He stands with the Yemeni community against Saudi Arabia, and if given the chance would suspend arms sales to Saudi Arabia.
Corbyn said Labour is introducing socialism for the 21st century. He set out proposals for a National Investment Bank with £500 billion of investment to bring UK’s broadband, railways, housing and energy infrastructure up to scratch. It is possible if British infrastructure goes further to pot, as it has in America, more British middle income families may be tempted towards a change at the next election.
It is said that this speech was compiled by Seumas Milne, formerly of the Guardian and presently Labour’s executive director of strategy and communications, and Andrew Fisher, senior policy adviser to Jeremy Corbyn.
The conference ended with a fist pumping singsong of the Red Flag, the anthem of Socialist politics.