Labour conference is over for 2016 and it concluded with a barnstorming speech from Jeremy Corbyn. After rumours that he would only be speaking for half an hour, Corbyn addressed the audience for almost an hour, receiving a rapturous ovation in the conference hall, along with unified approval from Labour MPs. Andy Burnham called it a ‘strong speech’, whilst even Chuka Umunna had praise for Corbyn’s economic policies, calling them ‘well put’. The analysis from The Spectator’s Isabel Hardman was also positive, as she told the podcast:
“I thought it was a much better speech than the rambling one he gave last year. He had two clear aims. One was to say to his critics ‘I’m still here and I’m going to do things my way, so shut up’, and then to say to the membership ‘this is what you elected me to do’ … he could’ve given this speech at any stage in his time as an MP because it really referred to the concerns of those from his political faction over the years.”
James Forsyth, however, didn’t find himself quite so swept up by the Corbyn enthusiasm. On the podcast, he says that:
“I think there’s always a danger of the soft bigotry of low expectations when it comes to Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the opposition. If he does a half decent performance at PMQs we hail it as his best performance yet, and if he gives a speech that the delivery is alright on, we all say ‘oh, that was a magnificent speech’ and I think there’s a danger that we fall into that trap with this speech. To be honest with you, if you were not grading on a curve, it was probably up there with some of Ed Miliband’s off-year efforts. That’s about the level we’re pitching at.”
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