HENRY DEEDES watches Corbyn perform for the TUC’s brothers and sisters
Change is coming he declared, as he flashed his Albert Steptoe grin: HENRY DEEDES watches Jeremy Corbyn perform for the TUC’s brothers and sisters
Fraternal greetings, comrades, from sunny Brighton, where the Trades Union Congress is hosting its annual conference.
A chance to swap the Westminster sewer for the salty tang of the seaside.
Can it really be only a week since Parliament returned from recess? Feels like an age.
Jeremy Corbyn was yesterday’s main speaker, and prophetically informed delegates: ‘An election is coming.’
Strangely, this did not exactly provoke the eardrum-piercing war cries one might have expected from the gathered militia.
Jeremy Corbyn (pictured) was yesterday’s main speaker, and prophetically informed delegates: ‘An election is coming’
Perhaps it had something to do with the fact that, when offered on Monday the chance to vote for an election, Corbyn politely declined.
Either way, the brothers and sisters of the TUC were in a docile mood. There was no intensity to the place. Nor did it exactly bristle with fury.
The main hall was sparsely attended, many of the delegates’ speeches were limp and lifeless, while the commercial stands around the fringes almost had tumbleweeds.
Jezza himself looked jaded. Ambling to the lectern in his Malcolm X specs, there was a languidness to his gait that implied just being there was a giant fag.
He announced that a Labour government would create a Ministry for Employment Rights – something which could have been cooked up in the old Soviet Kremlin
His Science Professor beard could also do with a trim or, better yet, done away altogether.
He admitted that the previous night’s shenanigans, when the House of Commons was prorogued, meant he hadn’t got home until 2am.
‘Though I suspect you got back to your hotels a little later,’ he chuckled, flashing an Albert Steptoe grin.
The Labour leader proceeded to speak for a little over half an hour. It was a speech parched of conviction or passion.
With two autocues on the go, he was able to switch his gaze from side to side, but otherwise remained motionless throughout. His voice barely rose a decibel.
‘Change is coming,’ he declared, just as every aspiring leader has before him.
He promised a ‘fundamental transformation of our economy in favour of the many’; i.e. more rules, more regulations, more red tape.
Jezza himself looked jaded. Ambling to the lectern in his Malcolm X specs, there was a languidness to his gait that implied just being there was a giant fag
He announced that a Labour government would create a Ministry for Employment Rights – something which could have been cooked up in the old Soviet Kremlin.
There were some early jibes about the Prime Minister, whom he referred to as ‘Johnson’.
Is it me, or is it vaguely comical when Corbyn calls the PM by his surname? He sounds like a school squit wailing about one of the older boys in the year above.
Once he’d exited stage left, the conference returned to its lethargic programme of business. It was only 11am and the bars on Brighton Palace Pier were already beginning to seem quite enticing
Brexit, Corbyn seemed to imply, is a big conspiracy.
It was all part of Johnson’s plan to shift power and wealth to ‘his rich friends’. Nothing at all to do with honouring the referendum result, apparently.
It’s moments like these when Corbyn really does risk coming over quite dotty.
Later he warned delegates that the Establishment ‘will come after us with all they’ve got’ because ‘they know we’re not afraid to take them on’. What does that even mean?
I’ve lost count of the number of these drab Corbyn speeches I’ve now sat through, and goodness they’re depressing.
The general message is always the same: there’s no problem that can’t be solved by more government, more laws, more state intrusion.
To finish, there came a list of all the people Corbyn and his junta were going to nail. ‘We’re going after the tax avoiders… bad bosses… the dodgy landlords.’
Having already seen a copy of his script I assumed, skipping ahead, that this was going to be Corbyn’s rallying call, a moment of stirring rhetoric which would send the hall into a deafening crescendo.
But no. He just trotted out the words like he was reciting items from a grocery list.
There was a smattering of applause. A few people down at the front of the audience oafishly sung ‘O, Jer-em-y Corrrr-byn’. But it was a far from ecstatic reception.
Once he’d exited stage left, the conference returned to its lethargic programme of business. It was only 11am and the bars on Brighton Palace Pier were already beginning to seem quite enticing.
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