'The glassy-eyed devotees of the Corbyn cult aren’t going to let mere facts get in the way of their worship'

Who won the last election? Have Jeremy Corbyn's supporters got a little carried away?
Who won the last election? Have Jeremy Corbyn's supporters got a little carried away?
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Jeremy Corbyn seemed to spend the first half of his speech to the Labour Party conference this week congratulating himself on a famous General Election victory.

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What’s that?, I hear you say. Labour didn’t win in June, the Conservatives did?

Well try telling that to the delegates in Brighton. The glassy-eyed devotees of the Corbyn cult aren’t going to let mere facts get in the way of their worship of the glorious leader.

As far as they are concerned Labour won three months ago and Corbyn is Prime Minister. This level of delusion is quite simply staggering.

Those of us with still some tenuous grasp on reality know that although Corbyn did better than most people expected, he still led Labour to its third thumping General Election defeat in a row.

My first impression of the speech was – boy, this is long! It went on for well over an hour, putting it firmly into Fidel Castro windbag territory.

Not that the delegates minded in the least. Corbyn could have droned on until the middle of next week and they would still be clapping until their hands bled.

As for content, once he had finished patting himself on the back for losing an election, it was all a bit unfocussed and scattergun. A bit on organ donation here, a section on robots there, some bromides about child sexual abuse and a disgraceful section where he tried to politicise the Grenfell Tower tragedy. There won’t be any fatal fires once Labour is in power, apparently.

The only thing you need to know about the speech is that if you add up the cost of renationalising half the economy and numerous other spending commitments it is going to cost us well north of £300bn extra if Labour ever gets in power.

And how will this be paid for? By higher taxes and even more borrowing to add to our already £2 trillion in debt, of course.

In other words, Labour intends to steal even more money from our grandchildren to fund unsustainable and selfish spending today.

I find the personality cult stuff deeply creepy. It is all a bit too Kim Jong-un for my tastes. Someone even brought along a portable shrine to Corbyn complete with fairly lights and a tinsel halo around his head. Weird doesn’t even begin to describe it.

Still I suppose it is all fairly harmless and the cultists certainly seem to enjoy themselves. It keeps them off the streets, I suppose.

But that can’t be said for the uglier and nastier side of Labour in evidence at the conference. Racism hangs around the far left like a bad smell and sure enough we had anti-Semitic ranting and Holocaust denial at one fringe meeting. The leadership’s failure to deal with the bigots in the party is nothing short of a disgrace.

And the vile, misogynistic bullying of female journalists reached such a pitch that the BBC was forced to employ a bodyguard to protect political editor Laura Kuenssberg.

But it can’t be denied that Corbyn has infused the party with a terrific new energy. It is baffling that an old beardy, spouting the sort of far left guff last heard in student politics 40 years ago, has gripped the imagination of many, particularly the young – but there is no denying he has.

And the prospect of Corbyn in Number 10 is now a reality – especially if the Conservatives continue with their self-destructive adolescent squabbling.

But one word of kindly advice to the Labour leadership – beware hubris.

You may think you are nailed on to win the next election comfortably, but we have been here before.

Some of us are old enough to remember the now infamous Sheffield rally held by the Labour Party a week before the 1992 election. So sure of victory were Labour that members of the front bench were introduced as “the Cabinet in waiting”.

The then leader, and “our next Prime Minister”, Neil Kinnock then whipped up an 11,000 strong audience into near hysteria by continually shouting: “We’re all right!”

He should have known that the British don’t like triumphalism.

A few days later John Major’s Conservatives secured a crushing election victory.

But at least Kinnock had the grace not to claim he had in fact won it.

Read Bill Carmichael in The Yorkshire Post every Friday

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