by Atul Hatwal
Expectations are now so low for Jeremy Corbyn that anything short of a full nervous breakdown at the microphone is regarded as a success.
He delivered his speech. He didn’t collapse. He didn’t promise to nationalise the top 100 companies and troops did not ring the auditorium as a prelude to the revolution.
Given the unbelievably low expectations going into this speech, it was a case of job done. Certainly within the bubble of Labour conference.
But step outside of the bubble for a moment. Step into the shoes of the general public. Look at this speech from their viewpoint. Think about what they saw.
A decent man. A passionate man. A man who should be kept as far from any position of power as is humanly possible.
Jeremy Corbyn is an uber-Miliband.
An agitated academic who rehearses his protest points with vigour but fails to describe any alternative.
Corbyn’s jumble of unhappy reflection on past foreign policy and declarations of long held positions will have seemed utterly esoteric to the practical issues facing most people in Britain today.
Problems such as Syria and Iraq were listed, but solutions? Not so much.
When he did venture into domestic policy, it was a reheat of the demo stump speech that he’s given for the past five years, in itself reheated from the 1980s.
But simply saying “we oppose austerity” does not count as a policy. Nor does endlessly repeating “our Labour party says no.” Stating everyone can have a decent home is great, but without a clear view of the funding, it’s a lie.
Round and round the speech swirled, returning to themes and subjects, never with any sense of what Labour would actually do.
Jeremy Corbyn spent more time attacking the media than mapping out how Labour would improve peoples’ lives.
This was actually the real shock in the speech: the sheer lack of a Labour offer.
No-one expects a fully formed Labour manifesto, but at least the broad brush strokes of the party’s approach are required.
If Jeremy Corbyn doesn’t provide this, no-one else will.
And next week, the Tories will gleefully fill in the many blanks that he left.
In May this year, the Labour party was eviscerated at the general election.
We lost because our leader didn’t convince as a prime minister and the party couldn’t be trusted with the public finances.
Today the public will have seen an unworldly academic, giving a lecture to his committed supporters that utterly failed to acknowledge, let alone address, the reasons voters rejected Labour in May.
He will have confirmed their worst suspicions and entrenched every negative stereotype about the Labour party.
Each moment he is on viewers screens, Labour will lose votes in the constituencies we need to win. Four out of five of these people are currently Tory voters. Those that saw this speech will have been aghast.
Atul Hatwal is editor of Labour Uncut