The most hilariously sad quote of the day came from Jeremy Corbyn in his keynote speech, when he asserted that Labour represents “the new common sense of our times”. It was hard to find any common sense about Brexit, strike action, the economy, the coming Crash, feminism, immigration or, indeed….well, pretty much anything, really.
To make things worse, there were yet more signs of Corbyn the barley-in-the-wind politician shifting his ground to try and make himself electable: the Russians, he now insists, were ‘clearly’ responsible for the Novichok poisonings. His previous stance on this one was that there was no evidence at all linking the Putin-led State to the Skripal caper. He was right then; he is wrong now. But Corbyn’s nose has sniffed the mood of the times, and so he is happy to go with the same risible propaganda from the media he affects to loathe: happy as Larry, in fact, to be on the same side as Boris Johnson, Theresa May and Emmanuel Macron.
Having spoken out endlessly over the years in favour of withdrawing from the EU, today Jezzer reassured his ignorant audience that “a no deal Brexit would be a disaster”; this from a man who left school with two (bottom score) A levels, neither of them in economics. He has no more idea of what he means by “disaster” in this context than the family cat at 31 Lenin Close, whose owners’ names I cannot disclose due to EU privacy laws.
Digging up a hoary old cliché last used by David Steele in relation to the SDP, Corbyn confidently announced that Labour was “ready to govern”, an assertion hard to square with the speech by Laura Smith calling for a General Strike (which would be illegal under UK law) and the decision to reinstate Diane Abbott as Shadow Home Secretary (who once again got both her stats and even the number 999 wrong in her speech to Conference).
The one certainty missing from the Conference Hall speeches – but still mooching about the room like a herd of truculent Bull Elephants – was the imminent defection of up to 40 MPs from the Party in favour of a new Blair/Campbell confection that will make the election of a Corbyn-led Labour Party not just mathematically unlikely so much as preposterous.
With the Centrist vote, Farage’s new Party and Scotland’s SNP nipping away at the Left’s vote tally, this conference might just as well have been for the Green Party for all the likelihood of government it offers. Corbynite Labour is the Official Opposition in Britain because there is no viable alternative for English and Welsh voters – not because of the popularity or clarity of its policies. These are – in terms of both direction, voter awareness and membership approval – shambolically all over the place. Even on the SPA embezzlement scandal involving 3.65 million 1950s born women, the best Jeremy Corbyn had to offer was a triple lock on future State Pension values. Fine if you’ve got a pension….but the 2020/Waspi women don’t.
Labour today is a headless ragbag of politically violent grassroots, sloppy Shadow Ministers, faux radical chicists, minority narcisssists and purge-happy local Party organisations. The proposition that it is ready to govern on a wave of mainstream popularity is patently idiotic and – under a voting system Corbyn himself refuses to dump – psephologically impossible.
The media tell me that delegates went home happy. My God, but they are easily pleased.