Labour must learn how to be effective
THE IDEAS ARE THERE – BUT PARTY NEED MORE
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.