Labour must learn how to be ef­fec­tive


Sunday Sun - - Comment&analysis -

Labour leader Jeremy Cor­byn de­liv­ers his speech in Liver­pool. But could he be prime min­is­ter be­fore the next an­nual party con­fer­ence? THERE was a time when Mr Cor­byn was lousy at giv­ing big speeches, but those days have gone. He de­liv­ered a good one at Labour’s con­fer­ence in Liver­pool last week.

In fact, Mr Cor­byn and his team have be­come good at pol­i­tics in gen­eral. They do all the things they used to de­spise, such as feed­ing sto­ries to the news me­dia and de­cid­ing on a key mes­sage for top party fig­ures to par­rot.

There are signs that Con­ser­va­tives are wor­ried, and so they should be.

Not only has Mr Cor­byn learnt how to tell his story, but he also has a good story to tell.

So­ci­ety, and par­tic­u­larly the econ­omy, doesn’t work the way it’s sup­posed to, ac­cord­ing to Mr Cor­byn.

A few peo­ple get very rich while the rest of us strug­gle. Pub­lic ser­vices are some­times lousy, but pri­vate firms make huge prof­its out of them. And you’re told you should as­pire to own your own home – but it doesn’t seem pos­si­ble.

Labour has rad­i­cal plans for deal­ing with these prob­lems, such as forc­ing busi­nesses to hand over a 10% stake to a fund con­trolled by em­ploy­ees. At the same time, Mr Cor­byn says Labour’s ideas are “the new com­mon sense”.

Some Con­ser­va­tive MPs think he has a point. Back­bench Tory Robert Hal­fon said his party must show it also has an­swers to the is­sues Labour raised, as it holds its an­nual con­fer­ence in Birm­ing­ham.

But no­body should be sur­prised if Con­ser­va­tives agree our cur­rent sys­tem is bro­ken. Theresa May said this as far back as 2016.

Launch­ing her bid for the Con­ser­va­tive lead­er­ship, she at­tacked “an ir­ra­tional, un­healthy and grow­ing gap be­tween what these com­pa­nies pay their work­ers and what they pay their bosses”.

She warned: “If you’re at a state school, you’re less likely to reach the top pro­fes­sions than if you’re ed­u­cated pri­vately”.

And she said: “If you’re young, you’ll find it harder than ever be­fore to own your own home.”

Much of it could have come straight from Jeremy Cor­byn’s mouth.

The dif­fer­ence, though, is that Mr Cor­byn sounds like he’s got a plan, what­ever you think of it, to deal with these in­jus­tices. Mrs May does not. Her di­vided party talks about Brexit and lit­tle else.

If they want to beat Mr Cor­byn, Tories need to look to Theresa May’s 2016 speech for in­spi­ra­tion – and take a few lessons from Labour about how to do pol­i­tics ef­fec­tively.

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