In his speech today at Labour conference, Jeremy Corbyn confidently set out his vision for government. The Leader of the Opposition promised that a change was coming – and said that this change would benefit the many. On Brexit, however, he disappointed some pro-EU MPs by refusing to soften the party’s position and explicitly back a Leave/Remain second referendum. A glimpse of why that was can be found in the party’s latest broadcast.
Following on from that speech, Labour has released ‘Our Town’. The short video is centred on the message that a Corbyn government would ‘restore pride in British towns and bring our high streets and communities back to life’. In it, the party promises to kickstart the economy in ‘all the regions’. The focus, however, is those towns that have been left behind as the cities have flourished: ‘years of austerity have ripped the heart our of this place’. Scenes for the film were shot in a range of locations including Mansfield – which the Tories won from Labour in the snap election.
It’s a slick video that promises higher wages, stable contracts for workers and homes for the many. What it proves is that Team Corbyn see the path to electoral success as one that relies heavily upon winning over Leave voters. The areas this video appears to be targeted at are not metropolitan areas that voted to Remain but places – like Mansfield – that voted to Leave. There is a protectionist theme in the film – with the narrator complaining that the government has stood ‘idly by while jobs have gone overseas’.
This poses a problem for the Tories as their demographic has changed so much since 2015 that the party is now reliant on voters in Leave areas going blue. It follows that this video serves as another reminder why the Conservatives must set out a clear agenda next week at their conference and remind voters what they are for,