JEREMY CORBYN’S confidence was self-evident when he delivered his keynote speech on the concluding day of the Labour party conference. He did so in the knowledge that the left-wing’s takeover of the party is complete.
Yet, while he was preaching to the converted with his promises “to change Britain” and condemnation of “greed-is good capitalism” as he belatedly confronted his party’s anti-Semitism scandal and assured the Jewish community that he regards them as allies, Mr Corbyn has still to convince the electorate at large that his brand of socialism, one that also necessiates an unprecedented spending splurge, is in the nation’s best interests.
And while the next election is – technically – not due to be staged until 2022, the choice facing the country is clear after the Opposition leader’s denouncement of capitalism preceded Theresa May’s unashamedly pro-business speech to entrepreneurs in New York in which she said Britain will have the lowest rates of corporation tax in the G20 to boost competitiveness.
Both speeches were akin to pre-election addresses because Government’s fate is now at the mercy of forthcoming negotiations with the EU, and votes in Parliament, over Brexit. In this regard, Mr Corbyn did not appear to convince the country that he will be able make more headway than Mrs May. His party’s splits were clear to see as supporters of a second referendum clashed with diehard Brexiteers.
Now the onus is on the Prime Minister to show how she intends to bring together her party and her country. In doing so, Mrs May is fortunate that she is not facing a more formidable Opposition leader trusted on economic matters. Yet the reverse is also true – Mr Corbyn might have been ousted as Labour leader by now if more Tories backed the PM. And that, in essence, is the state of politics today.