A PUSH to change the rules of politics for a kinder society has been made by Jeremy Corbyn in his first speech as Labour Party leader.
Attacking the Conservatives for pursuing austerity, which he claims is the ‘failed approach of the past’, he said he would be challenging inequality and protecting workers’ rights to provide an alternative for British voters.
Solidarity and not walking by when others are in trouble, fighting cyber bullying and misogynistic abuse online are the among the ways his ‘shared majority British values’ could be played out.
The economy should be based on public investment while interest rates are low, he said, but changing the political arena with ‘straight talking, honest politics’ with ‘real debate’ was his most forceful point in the one hour speech delivered at the party’s conference in Brighton.
He said: “I want to speak to everyone in Britain about the tasks Labour has now turned to. Opposing and fighting the Tory Government and the huge damage it is doing. Developing Labour’s alternative. Renewing our policies so we can reach out across the country and win.”
His message that people should not be held back by their start in life was a powerful attempt to reclaim the party as the home of social mobility. You don’t have to take what you’re given. You may be born poor but you don’t have to stay poor.
“You don’t have to be grateful to survive in a world made by others,” said Mr Corbyn, who was elected leader of the party earlier this month with a mandate larger than former Prime Minister Tony Blair.
Opening his speech by poking fun at right-wing media stories printed about him, it was a thinly veiled attempt to assert he won’t be playing games with the press just because of his Labour victory.
He criticised the “tawdry media attacks” on former leader Ed Miliband, before saying “you might have noticed in some of our newspapers they’ve taken a bit of an interest in me lately”.
Deputy leader Tom Watson has been appointed to overhaul Labour’s digital strategy to try to reach out to its new younger voters. Mr Watson, who has 198,000 followers on Twitter, is to steer their social media agenda, something the party lagged behind the Conservatives on in the 2015 General Election.
In another uncertain moment for the Press, Mr Corbyn said “social media that really is the point of communication of the future – it’s not just through broadsheet newspapers or tabloids”.
Pre-announced proposals on creating a publicly owned railway network once again were met with support from the audience, but new on the agenda is a plan to provide self-employed women with statutory maternity pay and he was clear about Labour’s plan to remove the free-school system.
Defying criticism that the party, and he personally, is a risk to security, Mr Corbyn said he could offer protection for families as well as in a national security policy.
Mr Corbyn said: “The Tories talk about economic and family security being at risk from the Labour Party. I say how dare these people talk about security. Where’s the security for people shuttled around from one private sector rented property to another?”
He also made public that he wants to end the Trident nuclear weapons programme by leading on international nuclear disarmament, but would not want to see any jobs lost through the process of its removal.