Jeremy Corbyn’s speech will have confirmed voters’ worst fears about Labour

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

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28 Responses to “Jeremy Corbyn’s speech will have confirmed voters’ worst fears about Labour”

  1. Mr Wright says:

    Well said. Thoroughly unimpressed.

  2. Daniel Sutton says:

    I’m not sure what you were looking for. His policies are at odds with Labour Party policy. Its ridiculous to suggest that after two weeks he can bully the party into accepting his policies. Surely a consentual, colleagic approach is something to by thankful for

  3. TB says:

    So….. you don’t think much of Corbyn, then?

  4. septicisle says:

    You had this written before he’d even started to speak, didn’t you?

  5. Rob says:

    What a ridiculous article. Did the author even bother to listen to the speech, or did he just write this beforehand and thought that somehow no one would notice? I’m not particularly enamored with Corbyn but articles like this make him seem reasonable and people like this author utterly demented.

  6. ad says:

    I don’t get this. How can he have said nothing AND horrified people?

    The fun will come when the next election comes, and Labour has to actually offer a policy on things. But for the moment, it can get away with meaningless bromides.

  7. Tafia says:

    Would this be the general public of which over 150,000 have joined the party since Corbyn’s coronation? Or the general public that in the opinion polls has halved the tories lead in the same time?

    One thing we can confidently say about Atul – if he says it it’s bollocks.

  8. James Martin says:

    I couldn’t stop laughing when you came out with this same guff on LBC tonight Atul. Why? Because you say that JC will stop us getting those who voted last time to vote for us next, and yet the phone in all afternoon on LBC before you came on had included quite a few life-long Tory voters who expressed shock at how much they had enjoyed and agreed with his speech without thinking they would, and that they would now vote Labour next time!

    But of course you are so in touch that you know better than me don’t you? So in touch that you predicted on here that JC would finish the leadership election in fourth place. So in touch that you think it entirely appropriate to embarrass yourself by rather than attacking the Tories (because you want to copy them of course) you are continuing to publicaly attack our leader who has only just been elected with 59.5% of the votes – remind us again how many your candidate got, just for a laugh, go on!

  9. paul barker says:

    This is all true but the fact remains that Corbyn won & since his victory thousands of his supporters have joined. The position of Labour centrists is weaker now than it was when Corbyn won. Are you going to just sit around, hoping for something to turn up or are you going to admit that Labour is not your Party anymore & look for a better one ?

  10. David Walker says:

    Why would he collapse? He’s had decades experience of public-speaking. He’s good at it. He’s supposed to lack charisma, but every hall he campaigned in went wild.

    As for a Labour offer, he cannot make one with the current set of Labour MPs. They will be gone, soon enough though.

    Atul, the only people who are aghast is you and your mates. Go to your room and dig out ‘The World Won’t Listen’, by The Smiths. Open a pack of Jammy Dodgers and stare at your shoes, while it’s on.

  11. stephen says:

    decent article, but the speech was only a few hours ago and your dissection lacking.
    are you falling into the same trap most people in the meeja fall into?
    it’s your opinion and issues you feel are the agenda when ordinary people want a politician to speak plainly, honestly and to their agenda.
    dont get me wrong, what yo guys at UNcut do is admirable, but wind your neck in a bit. you are in effect a journalist, and i’d love to know where you get 4 out of 5 voters are tory? given they were elected by just 21% of the electorate, just.

    have a nice life

  12. Mike says:

    Totally agree. Also he may come across a little as an academic but he never finished University. At least Michael Foot was a first class mind.
    I made Corbyn is just stuck in 1983 and doesn’t seem to have had an original political thought since then.

    Opposing austerity is all well and good but by 2019 we should as a country be running a surplus or a very small deficit. Austerity will be over and so 2015.

  13. …we need to win. Four out of five of these people are currently Tory voters.

    Not only are the Labour right illiterate when it comes to reading the mood of their own party, and illiterate on economics too (they have swallowed Mrs Thatcher’s line on the government economics being akin to those of a grocers shop) -they’re arithmetically innumerate when it comes to calculating the swing needed to win in 2020.

    Less than 25% of the eligible electorate voted Tory. About 20% Labour. 65% either didn’t vote or voted for some other party. So even if we win no votes at all from the Tories there is plenty of opportunity to pick up enough of the 65% to tip the scales.

    Actually we will win some votes back from the Tories. I know life long Labour voters who voted Tory (“just this once!”) to get the chance of an EU referendum. We’ll definitely get those back.

  14. Arithmetic innumeracy seem to be infectious on this Blairite website! I can’t count now!
    It’s 55% who didn’t vote either Labour or Tory!

    But my point still stands!

  15. “Bitter and twisted” taken to the extreme. Atul doesn’t like losing.

  16. John says:

    There is so much wrong with this I’m not sure where to start. First, last May you say”… the Labour party was eviscerated at the general election…”. The word eviscerated means disembowel – to remove the contents of. Hardly a description of a party that increased the number of people voting for it and increased its share of the vote, despite the massive losses caused by the Blairite clones in Scotland.

    Second you say that this “…was a reheat of the demo stump speech that he’s given for the past five years…”. You’ve listened to all of his speeches for the last five years then? or did you write that part before you even heard the speech.

    Third you complain about the lack of policy. You obviously missed the part about the self employed then, amongst others.

    Fourth you say he lacked solutions to the issues he raised – I don’t see you coming up with them. Maybe that’s because as he said the solutions are not easy and are bit more nuanced than a sound bite in the middle of a conference speech.

    Fifth you complain there were no specific polices, but also the speech was not broad brush. I’m afraid you’ve let your prejudices cloud your judgement. This speech laid out in very broad terms what the Labour party stands for, why it seeks office (not to line the pockets of a few backers, but to improve the living standards of all). The speech went to the very core of what Labour is for, it is only by having that very firm base that we can build a party with policies (or in your terms ‘an offer’) that will appeal to the public.

    Sixth, this site is called ‘Labour Uncut’ giving the amount of self harm you seem intent on inflicting on the party I suggest you rename it ‘Labour Wrist Slashers’


  17. Ex Labour says:

    I agree with most of this article. Corbyn is not and will never be a leader for the country at large. Yes, the left have once again hijacked the party and they can gloat for the time being, but are still detached from reality.

    Ask yourself the question if the public rejected the soft left of Siliband, do you think they are really going to vote for a Marxist ? Labour has made the mistake of jumping on the first thing that comes along without doing any real soul searching on why the public comprehensively chose the Tories….and yes for the deluded ones on here it was a comprehensive and unexpected victory, so kidding yourself you did well at the GE is nonsense.

    Apart from Corbyn, watching the new shadow cabinet do interviews on TV is like watching a car crash. They have ranged from swearing to professing the existence of money trees where free cash is available. The level of understanding of the issues is almost none existent.

  18. John says:

    I love the fact that so many on here don’t understand that elections are won from the centre ground; that floating voters require costed solutions – i’m a lib dem. We will need to shift votes from Labour where we need to hold and gain local election seats (either to persuade labour voters to vote for our person or to defeat the tory – or tory voters to lend our vote on local issues). Our job has now got unexpectedly easier.

  19. David Walker says:

    Atul wants Corbyn to say ‘Vote Labour and win a microwave’, as it did last time.

    Disappointingly, for him, Corbyn is saying ‘Vote Labour and everybody eats’.

  20. paul barker says:

    It seems clear that Centrist/Moderate Labour has decided to wait & let The Left fail. There are 2 big problems with that approach, first that Labour are likely to do well in London next May & that is where the Media will be focused. That leaves Labour Uncut types waiting for May 2017 by which time we will be well into Mid-Term when the Opposition get a big, temporary Polling boost. Last time Labour peaked at a Polling lead of 11% over The Tories which became a 7% lead for The Tories when the Election arrived. How are you going to argue that Labour is failing when its ahead in the Polls ?
    The longer Labour moderates wait, the weaker their position will become.

  21. The Daily Politics had to come off air a quarter of an hour early, with BBC Two showing a filler and BBC Two HD a blank screen, because the audience had reacted so angrily to its biased coverage. Lance Price was the only guest. We look forward to Lord Ashcroft as the only guest when The Daily Politics covers David Cameron’s speech next week.

    Not that any real lesson had been learned. Come Newsnight, and on came Allegra Stratton, who is the Political Editor of that programme because her husband is the Political Editor of The Spectator and she dines with the Camerons at home. James Landale, an old schoolmate of the Prime Minister’s, is similarly blessed. Stratton banged on about “Corbynistas”, while dismissing the speech as “not a programme for government”. Apparently, as a BBC staffer, it is her place to say that.

    In the midst of all of this, the polls have loved the speech, and the no-dog-in-the-fight foreign coverage has been uniformly favourable.

  22. Ex labour says:

    @ David Lindsay

    You have a short memory. Stratton and her cohorts on Newsnight and the Beeb in general are the metro-elite lefties transferred in from the Guardian. They are by no means Tories. and what you are seeing is the moderate left talking about the loony left. How you can attach some Tory angle to this I cannot fathom.

    The problem is that the Corbynites have had to put forth their views and be questioned by the media. What is amply demonstrated is the incoherent drivel and sheer lack of understanding and intelligence amongst the shadow cabinet.

    The BBC right throughout the GE did nothing except pump out “good news” stories for Labour and Siliband. The propaganda on their website for most of the time was shamefully biased in labours favour and was the subject of complaint and probably broke the BBC charter everyday.

    Did I hear you calling the BBC then …..ummm….no I don’t think so.

  23. Mike says:

    David – the polls didn`t love the speech. There were no specifics other than generalities and wanting the UK to take more refugees (a sure fire electoral winner!).
    The conference was overshadowed by the plagiarism issue and the division over Trident and the assertion by Corbyn that he would never use nuclear weapons. So if the West is invaded by Russia he will do nothing.

  24. Bill says:

    The speech was not confident, focussed, nuanced or astute. It was poorly delivered, lacked eloquence and was at times stumbling and awkward. It lurched from topic to topic, name checked favourite authors in a particularly flaccid way, told couple of OKish jokes which needed better timing, repeated boilerplate nostrums of a need for a “kindler and gentler” politics (try telling that to online supporters). The uneccessry attacks on the commentariat betray the thin skin and tetchiness of someone who is used to preaching to the converted.

    Above all though it lacked any higher purpose. On its own terms this speech out to have set out a stall for a new form of 21st century socialism. the speech effectively attacked the evils of the market, it lacked any positive outward facing case for ending inequality through collective action. Mario Cuomo’s quote about “campaigning in poetry, governing in prose” has been reversed.

  25. Mike Homfray says:

    Why not join the Tories, Atul?
    You sympathise with their vews and we don’t want you in our socialist party

  26. Mike Stallard says:

    I am afraid I am very frightened of Jeremy myself.
    He reminds me of Hugo Chavez: the man with all the answers who reduced his country to penury. Or Mr Mugabe who thought that the Bank was a money tree and who introduced all his mates into the economy and top jobs when they were completely incompetent – and exclusive.
    As an ordinary voter, (Conservative – just at the moment – but open to offers from Ukip and Labour if you get it right), I do not see any policy on the all important EU, on reforming our education, on the global warming scandal (It was that which caused the shut down of Redcar when the electricity prices rose) of even on Trident and defence: it is all so contradictory.

  27. John P Reid says:

    Mike Himfray, why don’t you join SWP

  28. Jen The Blue says:

    Brilliant article. It almost had me feeling sorry for my Labour Party enemies …..almost!

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