Isabel Hardman Isabel Hardman

Jeremy Corbyn could have given this speech 20 years ago

Jeremy Corbyn’s speech to Labour conference was rather good. It was clear, it was reasonably neatly-delivered, and it covered all the bases that the Labour leader needed to cover in order to solidify his position following his re-election. Of course, to a certain extent, it wouldn’t have mattered if he’d given the worst speech in the history of Labour conference speeches, given he has performed terribly in Parliament over the past year yet has been returned with a bigger mandate than before. But this was a much better speech than his rambling ‘strong message here’ address to conference last year. This year, Corbyn wanted to set out two messages: I’m still here, so my critics need to shut up, and I think I can win an election in my own left-wing way.

Naturally, there were pointed references to the turmoil of the leadership contest – praise for those who joined the Shadow Cabinet following the swathe of resignations, a plea to the part not to ‘make a habit’ of holding elections for leader, and a call for MPs to accept the result and move on:

‘Our job is now to win over the unconvinced to our vision. Only that way can we secure the Labour government we need. And let’s be frank, no one will be convinced of a vision, promoted by a divided party. We all agree on that. So I ask each and every one of you, accept the decision of the members end the trench warfare and work together to take on the Tories. Anything else is a luxury that the millions of people who depend on Labour cannot afford.’

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