by Atul Hatwal
Jeremy Corbyn is busy with his reshuffle but the reality is that its a sideshow. The main event this week was in Birmingham with Theresa May’s first conference as Tory leader.
Party conferences share an important characteristic with Chancellors’ budgets – the better the immediate headlines, the worse the legacy.
Last year, George Osborne’s post-election budget was heralded as a masterstroke the day after it was delivered, only to unravel over tax credits.
Ed Miliband’s commitment to fix energy prices at Labour’s 2013 conference was viewed as a game-changing moment on the day. But in reality, it fed the public’s mistrust of Labour and markets contributing to disaster at the general election.
Gordon Brown’s 2007 conference debut as leader won instant plaudits (“Brown dressed to kill after emptying Cameron’s wardrobe” proclaimed the Guardian) that subsequently dissolved. Rather like his last budget as Chancellor earlier in 2007 when he abolished the 10p tax.
Or for those with longer memories, the glowing reports of Norman Lamont’s 1992 budget foreseeing the green shoots of recovery the best part of a decade before the public agreed.
The headlines this morning following Theresa May’s big speech were all that she would want. But she’s actually had a disaster.
Long after the conference bubbles have gone flat, two bitter flavours will linger on the palate: hard Brexit and the Tory obsession with foreigners.