Conference Report from our delegate – Keith Taffs
The Leader’s speech was the first that Jeremy Corbyn had given since his election by a resounding victory in the Leadership election just a few weeks before delivery. The new Leaders mandate was provided by 60% of the party voting for him outright, which gave him a platform for his radical views vis a vis the status quo of the Country.
His delivery was confident, witty, well read and passionate. His message was refreshing, intellectual and with a warm hearted message of kindness to others. The Leader and his Shadow Chancellor had demonstrated their direct warmth and action earlier when a disabled delegate finished a speech and was unable to move her wheelchair as it had become stuck on the platform. Jeremy and John wasted no time in freeing the lady, which demonstrated to the delegates that the new Leader is not afraid to help people directly and is not constrained by the credibility gap that a great many Leaders suffer from by their ambition standing in the way. His vision is of a kinder more inclusive Politics. A style and substance that is from the bottom up rather than top down. He wants to show a straight talking, honest Politics.
The speech was both inspirational and aspirational for the Labour activists and also for the wider population. Jeremy made it clear that his is a message that transcends the usual confrontational style of Politics and he wishes to present a wholly positive vision based on morality through simply people helping one another both individually and through the wider Society. He mapped out some of his proposed programme which was to bolster the NHS and roll back the recent reforms to ensure that the creeping Privatisation of the Government is halted and reversed, that the education system should be under Local Authority control rather than largely managed by the Secretary of State for Education via Academies and Free Schools.
Jeremy was elected on a ticket to reject the Austerity programme of the Government and challenge the economic position we are told we must follow by the Government. Internationally he wants to uphold the values of the international community and not to flout them, but instead to gain a consensus of opinion. He placed the environment clearly as something he is very concerned about, and also human rights. He made it clear that his experience as a long-serving backbench MP will ensure that he does not shirk from naming and shaming regimes around the world where human rights abuses take place. He took on the Tories directly over their comments regarding security and made it clear that the Tories are a threat to the security of many of the people of our Country. He took the Tories on over the economy and said that their record of cuts has forced down wages and hurt many of the poorest in Society and therefore their economic policies are a failure. He stood up for workers and especially mentioned those in Redcar Steel Works who have lost their jobs because the Government will not support them. He talked about peoples debts and how the Government are doing nothing to alleviate this problem by making cuts to public services and tax credits.
He told us he would support public infrastructure via a National Investment Bank, end the housing crisis by building 100,000 new Council houses and housing association homes a year, he spoke about the responsibility of Society to the refugee crises, He stated that he personally did not agree with Trident renewal but that the party should conduct a review of the policy. He stated that he never agreed with the Iraq War and on Syria he wants us to take an internationally agreed stance.
Finally, our new Leader stated he welcomes debate and recognises that we will not all agree on everything but as long as we act in a democratic way, we can find a conclusion for all. He stood up for the institutions of this Country like the NHS and the BBC and highlighted the self-employed who he believes should be natural supporters of Labour, he pledged to ensure that employment rights are extended to them. He also pledged to support place mental health reform at the heart of a future Labour Government. He said we will stand up for children, the elderly and against prejudice, The Tories make people work longer for lower wages. He said Labour’s message is : the British people never have to take what they are given.